1. Bicycle helmet law proponents are just one big 'clusterfuck' of oil lobbyists doing what will get them 'paid &/or laid'. Alarmingly they have had a debilitating impact on the culture of cycling.
2. By continuing to proclaim cycling as dangerous, bicycle helmet law proponents shape the desires of a marginalised cycling culture so that the 'testosterone-dominated' sport dictates the parameters of participation. Women and children are deemed unnecessary to consider whilst the nation is systematically impoverished in terms of health and the environment.
3. Undoubtedly bicycle helmet law proponents tap into the 'mindless materialism' of western capitalism in a predictably myopic and superficial way.
4. Moreover, bicycle helmet law proponents appear to be 'sub-conscious-anti-feminine-counter-revolutionaries' juxtaposed against growing gender equality.
5. Inter alia, bicycle helmet law proponents are actually terrified of taking the road and sharing it with motorists.
(Oh dear! & diddums!)
6. But back to me...why should the cowardice of bicycle helmet proponents prevent me from taking the road in the responsible grown-up 'utility-cycling-manner' that I've been taking it for the past 46 years?
Action: Predictably disappointing dialogue with predictably disappointing chap
Road Engineer: "That sign is not for women to play with!"
Me: (silent thought bubble to self - 'what a joker! - HE CANNOT BE SERIOUS?!') "Listen, mate, I'm actually trying to park my bicycle & clearly some loser has sabotaged the 'one-&-only' bike hoop in Market Street."
Road Engineer: "You're not allowed to play with it!"
Me: "Are you connected to this sign because if you are perhaps you could assist me by moving it to a more appropriate location?"
Road Engineer: "Yes I am - I'm a taxpayer"
Me: "Well I'm a taxpayer too so by your logic I also have some ownership over it!"
Road Engineer: "You're not allowed to touch it!"
Me: I'm not sure either of us are benefiting from this conversation - I'm not participating anymore - I'm parking my bicycle!"
...Jeez, mate, chill out!......maybe even try life on a bike!
- there's a nice little place on Jones Bay Wharf - Cafe Morso - could be good for starters!
Whizzing past Central Railway Station last Friday, it suddenly occurred to me that the road was particularly bumpy.
Coming to a stop at traffic lights near Eddy Avenue, I asked 'baby daughter' travelling in my slipstream (ha! ha!) if I had a flat tyre - back came the reply I had been dreading ever since I purchased this bike!!!! - 'you're on your rims!!!'
Jeez! what to do with massively punctured tyre, skirt guard, chain guard and no puncture repair kit?
1. Well first up, got tyre pumped up at friendly Wentworth Avenue motor-bike shop - brilliant for 5 seconds!!
2. Next, continued walking up Wentworth Avenue to have quick little chat with concierge in Marriot Hotel, College Street - 'help! I need the closest bicycle shop!'
3. Armed with details, headed down Park Street to find 104 Clarence Street and Clarence St Cyclery - welcomed by a posse of Clarence St Cyclery Knights clutching shining 'bicycle-repair-kit' weaponery
4. Kicked back and relaxed for 20 mins whilst soaking up good karma of Clarence-St-Cyclery-Maintenance-Basement!
5. Left this beautiful bicycle shop with my beautiful bicycle, restored to former glory, and ready for Friday night action...
(Photos: Querida David, Provence, France) Underlying a viable city is a broader philosophy - in fact a loosely unifying municipal glue that connects people working and living within it. Quite clearly, pursuing development of a utility cycling culture can only add to quality 'urban fabric'.
But we don't need to wait for our dream 'Bicycle Paradise' and hoped-for benefits to sample quality 'urban fabric' - after all given that the road is already for sharing, the cities are ours for the taking NOW...
With any luck, her visionary planning will position us so we can neatly 'side-step' the sort of congestion issues that are currently causing some grief in Bejing:
"Thousands of drivers on the Beijing-Tibet Expressway just outside the Chinese capital have been snared by roadworks since 14 August - and the disruption is expected to last well into September. The tail-backs stretch for a mind-boggling 100km and 400 police officers have been assigned to the area to quell rising tensions, with roadside vendors said to be charging exorbitant prices for tea and noodles. Meanwhile, drivers resigned to their fate are reported to be passing the time with games of chess or cards. Some have requested concerts be performed on roadside verges." (The Guardian Weekly, 03.09.10)
After recent 'Mad Monday' end-of-year free-for-all, 'Word-on-the-Street' has it that one Scone reveller cycled to the festivities 'sans' helmet.
Our 'Boys-in-Blue', ever ready & waiting, had a quick little chat to him about his hatless state to which he explained that he was dressed as he was for the customary 'Mad Monday' dress-up stakes because he was going as 'Sue Abbott'!!
...the Cops were highly amused, but booked him anyway!!!
My quest for civil liberties has revealed some very special 'comrades-in-arms', and it has been surreal meeting fellow 'cyber-cycleteers' such as film-maker, Mike Rubbo and expert specialist anaesthetist, Dr Paul Martin (above).
So now I am barely able to contain my excitement about meeting more comrades, and most conveniently for me, an opportunity is looming on the horizon which will potentially provide that chance!
Leading on from the submissions submitted to the StaySafe Committee's Inquiry into Vulnerable Road Users, the Honourable Mr Geoff Corrigan MP, Chair, has extended an invitation to me & anors to attend a public hearing of the Committee to give evidence based on our submissions - as luck would have it some of the proposed invitees are 'cyber-cycleteers'!
Accordingly, and with profuse apologies to Irvin Berlin, I've been busy planning the logistics of my journey...
"The Parliament has asked me up to tea-ee... But how am I to get there, oh sir-ee, oh sir-ee?...
I could walk up Macquarie Street, but I haven't got the time, I could drive up Macquarie Street, but there's always such a line, I could ride on the tramlines, but they ripped them up, oh yeah! So I'll bike up Macquarie Street, yes I'll bike up Macquarie Street, Oh! I'll bike up Macquarie Street till I'm there!"
(Photos: Sydney Morning Herald, Thursday, September 16, 2010) The platform for the helmet debate continues to be provided by mainstream media. At last the reporting of academic research in today's "Head case" article has been widened beyond the ancient, worn out Thompson & Rivara study.
Notwithstanding why does the first and last word on the efficacy of bicycle helmets have to be left to a doctor when clearly this is outside his area of expertise? Neurosurgeons deal with brains and brain injuries, not bicycle helmet mechanics.
"It's counter-intuitive to me; why would it make things worse?" That doesn't make any sense to me"
...can hardly be considered authoritative - it's so subjective, so 'flat-earthy'!
In fact such a statement appears to rely on gut feelings!
Is that really how we want our legislators to make our laws - on medico/political gut feelings?
History is littered with resulting flawed policies & procedures. Consider how long it took to convince doctors that the safest sleeping position for babies was on their backs - this despite the data being available for decades.
So why oh why, Mr SMH Editor, did you allow non-expert opinion to conclude your almost balanced article?
Recently received an inspiring update from Jamie K with regard to his 'failing-to-wear-helmet' matter, and his fabulous result in court.
Early on in the year, Jamie represented himself (Go, Jamie!) in the Melbourne Magistrate's Court. At the completion of Jamie's hearing, the Magistrate stated that the case was trivial, & from the start should have been dealt with police discretion.
She then proceeded to dismiss all charges!! (awesome moment for all 'freedom-from-mandatory-helmet-law' campaigners!!)
...in fact in Jamie's own considered words:
"Fan-bloody-tastic!" & "Phew!"
But wait there's more...
...following on from this court case, Jamie contacted VicRoads as the relevant authority under the legislation and therefore the appropriate body to deal with his cycling dilemma.
He duly submitted an application for a 'helmet-exemption', citing medical grounds that were 100% supported by his GP - in fact the 'medical content' within the grounds for consideration was well over 4 pages long!
Notwithstanding his excellent submission, the response from VicRoads was utterly predictable and more or less to the effect;
"NO!- No way! - Not granted! - On your bike, mate (& wear a helmet!)"
But needless to mention, the resilient Jamie remains undeterred, and moreover, intends to challenge the decision of VicRoads along with their worn-out, over-used 'motherhood claim' that helmets save lives and serious injuries.
Good luck to our fearless campaigner from down south!!!
"...the majority of politicians, on the evidence available to us, are interested not in truth but in power and in the maintenance of that power. To maintain that power it is essential that people remain in ignorance, that they live in ignorance of the truth, even the truth of their own lives.
What surrounds us therefore is a vast tapestry of lies, upon which we feed."
Civil liberties are civil liberties no matter how you look at them!
Hence the commercial practices of helmet promoters should never have been allowed to supersede the rule of law in Australia.
It is not the conflicting evidence of helmets and their properties that is the challenge but our blinkered willingness to ignore the underlying issues surrounding academic & expert evidence, underpinned by a fatuous willingness to acquiesce with dodgy commercial strategies. When these very same promotional tactics were suggested for motorists, they were buried immediately.
Years were spent familiarising us with the notion of safety in bicycle helmets WELL BEFORE legislation was introduced.
Yet how ethically correct was that?
If bicycle helmets were the instant 'protective salvo' so rigorously claimed, why weren't laws enacted the minute this fact was discovered?
Oh! Australia is such a contradictory and confusing place!
We're wedded to our helmet laws, yet we dispense with them when it comes to advertising as the Rocks.com photo above reveals! No sign of a helmet to sell the Rocks & Spring - only the harbour, a bicycle and a pretty woman. Clearly a 'stack hat' wouldn't cut it!!
...scratch the surface and Australian helmet believers actually reveal themselves to be not only scarily fanatical, but happy to run with the lack of evidence to prove their 'helmets-save-lives' mantra.
But I want to know how come they (helmet believers) won't let me use their 'lack of evidence tactic' to prove my position - surely it's flexible enough to go both ways?
In fact it would be interesting to discover what they actually have read that makes them such experts?
Could it be the much touted 'Government / RTA / DV Experts (private crash investigation company)' sponsored UNSW 2009 "Pedal & Motor Cycle Helmet Perfromance Study", whose very framework, in its call for participation, appears to support government mandatory helmet policy?
Notwithstanding these questions and whatever the conclusions &/or expert opinion, some 'hearts and minds' are beyond 'winning over'!!! - as evidenced in the following 'email excerpt'!!!:
"...how dare you go on national TV and encourage people not to wear helmets. Children watch television and listen to people like you. If one child comes off their bike and suffer from head injury I hope you hear about it and realize the "good" you've done. Just because you don't like wearing a helmet? Maybe you should stop wearing seat belts next. Also lets get rid of safety guards on power tools. Wake up and think about cyclists that aren't you."
Oh boy! - maybe it would be easier just to relocate to the Netherlands now rather than later?!
After all, are we ever going to achieve the cultural capital necessary for a diverse and inclusive cycling culture?
(1) For the purposes of rule 256, the requirement to wear an approved bicycle helmet does not apply to a person over 17 years of age if he or she is riding or being carried on a bicycle:
(a) on a public place;
(b) on a bicycle path or shared path; or
(c) in an area declared by the Minister, by notice in the Gazette, to be a bicycle helmet exemption area.
(2) In this regulation, a bicycle path does not include a bicycle lane that is not separated from the part of the road used by motor vehicles by a physical structure or barrier in addition to or in substitution for the lane line.
(3) In this regulation and rule 256, an approved bicycle helmet is a helmet that:
(a) complies with Australian Standard AS/NZS 2063:1996 - Pedal Cycle Helmets; or
(b) is approved by the Registrar.
"What a difference a state makes!" - arguably a small glimmer of light in the tunnel!
Yet the intricate legislative provisions (like when is a 'public place' a 'public place'?) must be problematic to 'police', inevitably leading to further unnecessary and largely unenforced law.
Why do our politicians thrive on this stuff?
When it's our turn here in NSW, let's go the 'full monty'!!!!!