Ken Hooper from Pronto Motorcycle Couriers.
Ken Hooper from Pronto Motorcycle Couriers. Warren Lynam

Loading zone quirk has courier on his toes

KEN Hooper has to decipher more rule interpretations than a rugby league fan, as he navigates his way around southeast Queensland on vital missions.

The motorcycle courier specialises in last-minute, emergency document transport and regularly rides hundreds of kilometres a day, between Gympie and the Gold Coast.

He says the interpretation varies between southeast Queensland council regions as to whether he can park his motorbike in loading zones while on the job.

Mr Hooper started his Woombye-based business just over a year ago.

He rides a Honda 650 road bike and his wife drives the car, a backup vehicle in case of bulky or simultaneous deliveries.

A motorcycle licence holder of about 35 years, Mr Hooper has worked in the transport industry for many years and holds a HR licence.

Mr Hooper said he parked at the front or rear of the zone and hard to the gutter, to give other drivers maximum room to pull in or out.

"I'm very aware of the needs of larger vehicles," he said.

At present, he was having to walk up to three blocks or more back to the delivery point, after finding a rare motorcycle parking space in Brisbane.

"The response from different councils is quite interesting," Mr Hooper said.


Ken Hooper from Pronto Motorcycle Couriers.
Ken Hooper from Pronto Motorcycle Couriers. Warren Lynam

A response from Sunshine Coast Council advised Mr Hooper his vehicles were able to use loading zones, "provided they observe the time limitations where applicable".

Three other regional councils, including Somerset, Redland City and Moreton Bay, all advised Mr Hooper was able to use loading zones, under Section 179 of the Transport Operations (Road Use Management- Road Rules) Regulation 2009.

The 1995 edition of the road rules defined a commercial vehicle, in relation to stopping in a loading zone, as any motor vehicle, excluding a car or motorbike, equipped for the carriage of goods.

A horse-drawn vehicle fitted to carry goods was able to stop in a loading zone, while a motorbike couldn't under the 1995 edition.

The updated 2009 edition left out any reference to horse-drawn vehicles and referred only to a motor vehicle displaying commercial vehicle identification.

Mr Hooper said he'd been told by the Noosa Shire Council he was unable to use their loading zones, while Brisbane City Council's loading zone rules don't refer to motorcycles being allowed.

Annual renewal fees for commercial vehicles with Brisbane City Council are $891.15.

He said Gympie Regional Council had also given him the all clear, but he was concerned he was flirting with a significant fine if he couldn't get clarity in Brisbane.

Glass House MP and former Shadow Transport Minister Andrew Powell said it was something that could be addressed quickly to provide clarity across southeast Queensland for commercial road users.

"Compared to horse-drawn carriages the benefits (of motorcycle couriers) are extraordinary," he said with a laugh.

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