... bicycle helmet laws are bad for my health - & yours too!
Hi Sue,I've just been reading your blogs and some of the many articles regarding your appeal against your conviction for being 'sans helmet.' There also seems to be a vast quantity of scientific and academic journals that I have skim read. As your probably aware, they effectively argue that although cycling may slightly reduce your risk of serious head injury if involved in a head on collision with a motorist, the risk is far outweighed by the detrimental effect that non cycling has upon the health of the individual and the environment. I really liked the point you raised regarding the freedom to not be part of scientific study! I've just been convicted in Melbourne for the second time in two months and have decided to also appeal. A quick internet search and I discover your story. Has it reached a final resolution yet?I, like you, have cycled all my life all over the world and have never been involved in an accident, mainly due to the fact that I have been looking and concentrating whilst the motorists have not. I wear a helmet when cycling in busy cities as I don't trust motorists, however in this particular incident I was cycling home from work, 8mins through a park, 2mins on a cycle path, so I make the calculated decision that there's no need to wear a helmet. I was honked at and shouted at by Police and forced to pull over where I was shouted at further and told how ignorant I was as they are the ones who will have to scrap my head off the floor and contact my loved ones when I die! I was shocked and speechless. I believe they will be issuing me with a ticket which I shall appeal and also include a complaint regarding the behavior of the officer which I believe posed a greater risk to my health, directly and indirectly, than my lack of helmet.I was curious as to how your appeal has gone or is still going and also if you had any advice to someone who is about to embark on a similar quest for freedom of cycling.Kindest regardsIan firstname.lastname@example.org
Hi Ian,Great to hear from you! Sounds like you were treated in a very ignorant and ill-informed way by the police.Re my matter and my appeal to the District Court of NSW, my conviction was quashed and both the judge and the DPP solicitor advised me to seek an exemption from the RTA. At the time they both intimated that it would not be an expedient experience, and time has proved them right. The RTA has 'fluffed' around in circumstances similar to a Dickensian novel (just watched episode 1 of "Little Dorrit"), and the latest move from the RTA has been to toss me back to the 'Minister for Roads Department.'Meanwhile that particular department won't proceed with my application until they receive all my documents from me and not the RTA!!!! Given that they were copied into all my correspondence in the first place, and so therefore have already received all my documents, I am 'gobsmacked'!!So here I am, almost 4 months on since I made my first application to the RTA, and nothing has happened. I plan to send everything to them again tomorrow, and then from here on in, will call Parliament House daily (brilliant 'calling daily' idea from Mark, ibikelondon!! - thanks, Mark!) to check on progress.Re advice to you and anyone else about to embark on a similar quest, be prepared for the long haul! If you like, I can email you a copy of my application to the RTA, and also the submissions I made in the District Court.It truly is a tiresome journeyl, and at times I have experienced the sneaky suspicion that it might be more fun to bash my head against a brick wall, but I think it'll be worth it the end, and anyway, I am compelled to continue because of grounds of civil liberties that have been wantonly disregarded!!Good luck and keep in touch.
c) Sept 2010 Letter to NSW Minister for Roads
d) Submission to Parliamentary Inquiry into Vulnerable Road Users 2010