(Photos: Paul Martin)
Cycling news out of Melbourne for the past few days has been so exciting, and has simultaneously enlivened the debate on helmet laws!!
With the much anticipated arrival of Mikael Colville-Andersen (bicycle advocate & blogger) as a feature event for utility cyclists , our very own Mike Rubbo organised a fearless 'bicycle protest' on the bikes themselves from Melbourne's bike share program.
At last, here was the 'public drama' the helmet debate has been crying out for!
There were 'heaps of television cameras & journalists', and of course 'heaps of bicycle-cops' backed up by 'heaps of car-cops'! In fact 'witness-reports' state that the 'bicycle-ones', clad in classic Australian bicycle regalia, were 'lying in wait a full hour' before bicycle protesters commenced the '10am' pedal-off!!
...but for a better more detailed account, let's now cross to 'our man on the ground', Dr Paul Martin, who filed this report yesterday:
"I did not require Her Majesty's accommodation this evening. Phew!
A lot of great support at the bicycle forum at Federation Square in the afternoon. The feeling in the forum after Mikael spoke was electric. 99% of the audience thought that the mandatory law should go. The panel of 'experts' all were talking nonsense...
$$ Australians value life...(therefore helmets are important);
$$ Have to take all stakeholders into consideration with road funding.
The next person that says the word stakeholder I think I'll thump! I hate that word. She meant 'car drivers'....
Mikael was being very careful what he said - his hosts were breathing down his neck and the Danish embassy was there keeping an eye on what he was saying I think. He still did point out that:
1) the law is counterproductive and not a good idea, and
2) fining cyclists is only going to discourage them.
Veronika and I handed out hundreds of your postcards and I put them on every bike hire bike we could find. When we came back out of the talk most of the postcards in the bike hire bikes had been removed (but were not lying around) and none of the bikes budged... We also put a big pile of the postcards on the table inside the venue for the speeches - they were gone in about 10 minutes!"
We're really happening!!!!
The helmet debate is well & truly on the map!!
Well done Mike Rubbo & all the protesters - you little rippers!!!!!!