Sleeping rough in Oamaru not so fine

With his motorcycle broken down, cold, wet and unable to find accommodation, Ian Rennie, of...
With his motorcycle broken down, cold, wet and unable to find accommodation, Ian Rennie, of Brisbane, slept rough in Oamaru's main street and woke to a $200 freedom camping ticket. PHOTO: HAMISH MACLEAN
An Australian motorcycle enthusiast was dumbfounded yesterday after waking up next to his broken-down bike in Oamaru's main street with a $200 freedom camping ticket.

Ian Rennie (68), of Brisbane, said he had no intention of paying the fine.

``I'm not upset about it. I think it's a joke,'' he said.

He flew into Christchurch last Tuesday, bought a 1969 Yamaha 250 Street Scrambler Model DS6C online, and rode it down to Invercargill for the Burt Munro Challenge at the weekend.

But, on his return trip to Christchurch, the bike broke down in Palmerston. He pulled into Oamaru after dark, cold, wet, and unable to find accommodation, with a bike that once again would not start.

It was about 11pm, he was wet and ``knackered'' and could not lug his 30kg backpack down the street so he started ``sitting there'' on the footpath.

At 2am he was cold so he moved next to his bike and curled up in his sleeping bag in the middle of the street to stay warm.

He woke about 5.50am with ``two bits of paper'' laying on the street beside him. The infringement notice had been issued at 5.20am.

``They booked me for $200 - didn't even wake me,'' he said.

Late yesterday, Waitaki District Council environmental services manager Jason Evered said the council had decided ``on this occasion'' to withdraw the infringement notice.

``Council staff met this morning with the motorcyclist and sympathised with the situation he had found himself in. The motorcyclist told council about the series of unfortunate events that led up to him having no other option than to rest his eyes whilst waiting for shops or a garage to open up.''

Mr Rennie could not be reached last night to share in the news.

In 1968, Mr Rennie received a speeding ticket on Oreti Beach, a key location for the film The World's Fastest Indian, which tells the story of Mr Munro - he never paid it.

Despite not receiving top-notch hospitality from the council first thing yesterday morning, Mr Rennie raved about local businesses which helped feed him and get his bike back on the road.



My sympathies are with Mr Rennie. "Speeding on Oreti beach? Oh come on!
Ticket issued at 5AM in Oamaru when he was sleeping? You're serious?

Great advertisement for the TV ads and advice "Never drive tired!" isn't it! Now it seems they are saying "drive tired and don't stop or we will fine you!"...
Whatever happened to the days when we cared more for the people and not just for perverse rules made by councils? Bylaws made by Councils ARE NOT LAWS!!! The fines are plain and simple FRAUD by the Council.