Getting booked speeding is always like being kicked in the groin by an elephant and stabbed in the wallet at the same time, but imagine the searing, infuriating pain of being pinged for going under the limit.
This was our joy the other day after deputy editor Chesto and I went for a drive in the beautiful, batty, brilliant-bended Royal National Park, south of Sydney. I was driving the new 911, which we’d managed to steal off Porsche for a day so Chesto could sneak a review into the March issue, and I’d parked our BMW 118i long-termer at the bottom of the hill. We’d brought it along so we could shoot it with the Porsche and do a fairly long-bow comparison for our Garage section, based on them both being rear-wheel driven.
I was driving enthusiastically around a corner when the dreaded blue and white colours flashed towards me, a moustache-mouthed police officer making a donut-shape of shock with his lips as he realised he’d seen me, but not for long enough to get a three-second lock on his radar and book my ass off.
Feeling sickened, short of breath and yet relieved I turned around to drive back down, slowly, only to see the furious police officer had pulled someone over, and yet could still find time to point me to the side of the road as well. After giving me a verbal spray about how lucky I was and how he sooooo neeeeaaarly got me, he jabbed a finger over his shoulder and snapped: “So, have you got this bloke’s wallet, he wasn’t so lucky.”
It was only at this point that I realised the bloke he’d pulled over was Chesto, in the relatively asthmatic 1 Series.
He’d been pulled for, allegedly, doing 84km/h. Now, the road we were on was entirely surrounded by bushland, nowhere near a built up area. It is a country road, and I’m sure that, in my living memory, it used to be a 100km/h zone, although the RTA tells us it was only ever an 80-limited area, until 2007 when, for reasons that they’ve thus far flatly refused to tell us, it was dropped to 60km/h.
This is, in fact, the limit for much of the National Park, which is patently absurd, and clearly lower than it was five years ago. The only reason we can see is to enable the local constable plods to effectively shoot fish in a barrel. Surely 95 per cent of the cars they drive past with radars at the ready would be speeding.
But back to poor bloody Chesto, who’s been booked for doing 4km/h over the previous, sensible limit for this stretch of road, or, in a more sensible universe, for doing 16km/h under what the limit would surely be anywhere else in Australia on a road like this.
What a load of bollocks. Which is a lot milder than what Chesto said afterwards.
This isn’t a unique stretch of road, of course, all the way from Sydney down the coast 100 zones have dropped to 80, 70 and even 60. And we all just suck it up and slow down, unquestioningly, and no one has to explain to us why.
I can feel a campaign coming on. I’m angry.
Doesn’t it drive you mad?
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