my refusal to wear a bicycle helmet

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

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!


Monday, March 24, 2014

Open Blogpost: Matter of Incorrect Traffic Record

(Photos: Georgie Abbott, Boca del Rio near Veracruz, Mexico)


Mr Greg Smith, MP
Attorney General & Minister for Justice
Level 31 Governor Macquarie Tower
1 Farrer Place
SYDNEY NSW 200

Dear Mr Smith,

I am writing to you because I am most disturbed about the ‘administrative’ way my recent bicycle helmet cases were handled, and because given your position as Attorney General of NSW and the Minister for Justice, you seem to be the most appropriate person for me to turn to.

Notwithstanding that I was representing myself in the Local Court last September 2013, I was somewhat bizarrely taken by the Police Prosecutor to see the Duty Solicitor, who asked me about matters pertaining to somebody else’s apprehended violence orders which had been incorrectly attached to the police brief against me.

I am sure you can imagine my absolute horror at being asked about such a serious matter that had nothing to do with me, and then having to deny that it was actually anything to do with me all the while wondering if I was being believed or not.

Not a good start, I can assure you.

The next potentially prejudicial issue that raised its ugly head whilst I was in the Local Court was the matter of my Traffic Record Report which was incorrect.

Inexplicably it noted that I had been booked (in September 2009) for riding a ‘motorbike’ ... yes, a 'motorbike' ... alone and without a helmet and that the matter had then gone to the District Court in March 2010 where it was noted on my Traffic Record Report that I had been given a section 10 for the aforementioned crime of riding a motor bike alone without a helmet.

I would like you to know that I have never been the driver or rider of a 'motor-bike' with or without a helmet, 'alone' or in company. I have never learnt to drive or ride one, nor have I ever possessed a motor-bike licence nor for that matter a motor-bike itself. The recording of such an offence on my Traffic Record Report was an egregious error and completely untrue.

As I am sure you can appreciate, details like these are important as they have a bearing on people’s reputations particularly at the sentencing stage of defended hearings. Furthermore as I know I do not need to tell you, riding a motor-bike without a helmet is a matter that will be recorded on one’s traffic record whereas riding a bicycle without a helmet is a matter that will not.

My question to you is the same one I asked the District Court earlier this month; was my Traffic Record Report deliberately altered to make it appear substantially 'naughtier' than it was so that my earlier court matters that ought not to have appeared on my Traffic Record Report would get an airing one way or another on it after all?

I am gravely concerned about the prejudice these errors potentially contributed to my matters both in the Local Court (September 2013) and the District Court (March 2014) where my Traffic Record Report was looked at by both the magistrate and judge in their respective courts.

Which government-funded body got it so wrong? Was this administrative ‘stuff-up’ a police error or a Roads & Maritime Services (RMS) one?

From a personal interest perspective I am very keen to learn which government department will (a) remove the traffic record listing of the traffic matter that never happened and (b) remove the court cases that ought not to appear given that the traffic matter they are listed for did not happen and that the bicycle helmet matter they are actually representative of would never have been listed on a Traffic Record Report?

I certainly am looking forward to hearing from you soon and having my Traffic Record Report restored to its former state before it was polluted with incorrect data, so thank you in anticipation.

Yours sincerely,

Sue Abbott
(Freedom Cyclist)

(also published on Scone Blog, and sent via email to office@smith.minister.nsw.gov.au)