my refusal to wear a bicycle helmet

my refusal to wear a bicycle helmet
...is informed

Friday, April 25, 2014

Dulce et decorum est ... NOT

(My very young parents who had so little time together)


This is a cross-post from one hideous commemoration day to another with a couple of other little tweeks here & there
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I hate Anzac Day as much as I hate Remembrance Day ... the underlying message behind both days is not lost on me:

[continuous grooming by our establishments to ready us for war]

After all there is money in war, and power in war, and profiteers do well ... we don't, but who cares?

Our governments certainly don't care, and in order to keep us from subscribing to our rightful disillusionment, they generously offer us cake and circuses on an annual basis ... sigh

So here I am back in Australia, turning off the radio, turning off the television, trying to escape nauseous commememoration ceremonies ... yet in spite of my best efforts to steer clear of it all I can't help remembering anyway the waste and lost opportunities suffered by my family, just for starters, over the last century whether in wars or military action of some other description ...

I am remembering my poor dear dead father caught up in an incorrectly packed parachute useless on ejection from his jaguar into the Atlantic (1981); and I am remembering my grandfather shot on the Kyber Pass (1940); and I am remembering my great-grandfather struck down by Spannish flu somewhere in Europe (1918); and I am remembering an uncle shot down in flames during the Emergency (1957)...

...and I also remember every day that as a result of the terrible impact military action and the military have had on her life, my poor dear mother has retreated into forgetfullness - 'remembering' (hands off, Lilly, forgetfulness needn't always be about Alzheimers - sometimes it's just a tragic coping mechanism) was too much for her.

The hero worship of the military and 'all-things-our-wars' is obscene and far removed from the gritty brutal truth of real war and the gritty brutal truth of real military preparation - we are wrong to allow this constant militaristation to continue.

When will it stop?

When we will stop listening to the misleading political deception (routinely drummed out on days like today, April 25) that our country needs us to lay down our lives for theirs or somebody's murky geopolitical plan ...

... bullshit it does ...

Would that Wilfred Owen's words written on October 8, 1917 had actually dated because they had been actually heeded ... but they have not, and almost a hundred years on they are as tragic and as devastating as they were when they were written about the shocking human carnage ...

The sadness, the tragedy, the accuracy ...

Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.

Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
Of tired, outstripped Five-Nines that dropped behind.

Gas! Gas! Quick, boys! – An ecstasy of fumbling,
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time;
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling,
And flound'ring like a man in fire or lime ...

Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light,
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.
In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.

If in some smothering dreams you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin;

If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues ...

My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie; Dulce et Decorum est
Pro patria mori.

(Wilfred Owen was killed in action November 4, 1918


There's nothing glorious about war or the military, and commemoration days for the 1918 Armistice or the 1915 Gallipolli campaign are pointless because the one thing that never happens is 'remembrance' ... if it did we woulnd't still be fighting and killing and maiming and dying.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Ok Curly why no helmet?

(The locks that everyone bar me wants to contain)


A police car had to wait for me in my Newtown street last week because its very dimensions (the street's that is) dictate vehicles can only travel through it one by one.

I had to cycle over the stop line and through the junction before the policeman could make his move, and when I did finally draw up alongside him, he immediately motioned to me to pull over ...

... here's how our conversation went:

"Why do you think I've pulled you over?"

"Ummmm - ahhhhh - errrr."

"Come on, why do you think?"

"Ummm ... I rolled over the stop line?"

"Well no, but yes you did so thank you for pointing that out! Why else?

"Ummm ... "

"Come on ... something to do with your hair."

"Ahhh ... I'm not wearing a helmet!"

"Yes ... well done ... and why not."

From which point I proceeded to tell him a little bit about me and my campaign for helmet law revocation, and how I believed that helmet law had been more trouble than it was ever worth over the past 20 years.

Seemingly intrigued, he mentioned that he often noticed me cycling around Newtown and that he'd been meaning to stop me re my lack of helmet but to date he had been too busy (well hello, no surprises there - this is Newtown!).

But now he had, and magnificent as my hair was, the policeman told me that it needed to be helmeted otherwise he'd probably end up booking me sometime soon ...

... hmmmm, I haven't been to Newtown Court before ... and coffee breaks could be especially good with Black Star Pastry right opposite!

Friday, April 4, 2014

The Bicycle Helmet Monster

(Re-run of image by comedian/artist buddy of BN1's)


So BN4 was cycling home from Camperdown a couple of days ago, when a couple of lads on a terrace verandah yelled out:

"Helmet! Helmet!"

To which BN4 screamed looking around:

"WHERE? WHERE?"

Chortle chortle ... they thought she was a hoot and joined in the hilarity calling out:

"Good one!"

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

"Fucked it faster than rabbits"

(Image: Georgie Abbott, YouTube, A Song for Tony)


Ok ... so I'm bursting with pride - BN4 and the stuggle she has with her last name!!!!!

(also published on Scone Blog)

Monday, March 31, 2014

Bike helmet laws: comfortable veneer for flawed safety strategy

(Love it when global peeps send me global bike pics)


In Australia, helmet promotion was received into law essentially on the advice of helmet capitalists - actually let me correct that ... on the 'propaganda' of helmet capitalists.

Their usual modus operandi kicked in and cycling got a right royal beating in order to highlight all the imagined bad bits so that we the Australian public could be gradually groomed in order to be sold out by our government to Big Corpa (Standards Australia, SAI Global and all helmet promoters).

When will it correct itself here Down Under?

Who knows but I'm not holding my breath because basically Australian politicians have invested so much on this bicycle helmet law stance, I just know they would prefer to continue believing in their flawed strategy rather than admit they were wrong.

SIGH

Benefits of Oz helmet law overstated - clearly

(Obviously not Australia ... actually Oxford, UK)


Exactly how successful bicycle helmet laws have been in Australia has been a matter for dispute socially, scientifically, environmentally and politically for the entire duration of their enactment.

And questions continue to be asked by many as we observe Australian politicians hold on to their failed bicycle safely strategy by way of their legislative pursuit of conscientious objectors through the criminal law system.

If we're going to restore cycling to its former place in the transport equation (ie the place that it had prior to the early 1990s) we're going to have to look to these same politicians to make the necessary revocations.

But do they have the necessary mettle?

Hmmmmmmn

Clearly bicycle helmets are not fit for the purpose that helmet promoters claim they are fit for and we can pretty much conclude that the poltical and legal mechanisms necessary to hold helmet promoters and rent-seeking academics accountable are no longer fit for purpose either.

But instead of recognising this and permitting bicycles to flourish again, politicians try to fix our traffic woes with the most unwieldly of measures the latest being their crazy clearways project.

(Image: screenshot Roads & Maritime Sydney Clearways)


But perhaps this clearways project idea will end up being a good thing because if cars can never be parked and are to be permanently in a state of traffic flux, why would anybody bother taking one out for a drive?

Maybe just maybe through their mad political modus operandi the impossibility of owning and driving a car in a useful capacity might dawn on Australians and might just be the solution for getting us out of our cars ...

And maybe just maybe if we said 'goodbye' to helmet law and its attendant political purpose and pressure we might just free up the hidden bicycle lover in all of us and we might just see Australians reaching for that dusty old machine that's been tucked away somewhere in a garage or shed ever since January 1991 when our ridiculous politicians bowed to corporate lobbying and enacted one of the daftess regulations ever.

TO THE BARRICADES, EVERYONE - and let's revoke mandatory bicycle helmet laws

Friday, March 28, 2014

TO THE BARRICADES

(Casually parked in Oxford, UK)


The true coordinates of cycling in Australia need to be changed.

Currently they're male, they're sporty, they're supposed to be dangerous (oh my!) and they're pathetic.

It is not enough to pretend that they are set accurately for our typically Down Under conditions, or to be told to wait patiently on the sidelines without mentioning the helmettythingamajigthing so that bike lanes and other infrastructure can be finished ... I mean started ... I mean agreed upon ... without the helmettythingamajigthing distraction.

I'm sorry but I will mention helmets and I won't wait on the kerbs whilst 'god-knows-whatever-is-necessary-to-make-it-fairycycleland' is being constructed.

Bicycle helmet law is a law of 'see-no-evil-monkeys' and to date no-one who actually has the where-with-all to make a difference to our cycling reality has been prepared to face up to the fact that enacting the wretched regulation in the first place was a monumental and misinformed stuff-up.

Yet notwithstanding alarmist helmet promoters' spin having been cushioned by an unquestioning public and their parliaments, the tides are turning at last, and helmet promoters are starting to suffer from a siege-like mentality as the wisdom of helmet rationale is finally peeled back to reveal the complete market failure of helmet law.

And not a moment too soon!