After witnessing a 'Steven Bradbury' campaign out-perform the Australian Labour Party, lucky old NSW has Mr O'Farrell as our eager new leader; & he's already announced his transport minister - I sincerely hope she's a better correspondent than some of the former ministers involved with NSW transport and roads - I'm still owed a letter, and clearly that's not going to happen now!
No matter, I'll get onto Gladys first thing Monday morning.
Also fingers crossed silly old Barry didn't mean any of that negative 'locking-horns-with-Clover' stuff, broadcast last weekend! - that could make things somewhat strained when I assume my customary advisory role to the Department of Premier & Cabinet!
...and there's something else that's just occurred to me - he'll be the one now that gets the chance to meet us all on the 20th May (PUNK COMMUTE DAY!!)
Congrats, Bazza! - really looking forward to meeting you then &, remember, we're counting on you not to take New South Wales backwards anymore than it already is!!!
...& also, just as a matter of interest, does anyone know whether the Boston Consulting Group connected to the Keneally Hubbie (‘Staring Down Defeat’ – 19/20 March 2011) is one & the same as the Boston Consulting Group connected to the Keneally Government (‘Secret Cuts to Schools’ – 19/20 March 2011)?
La-la la la la, La-la la la la, It’s a small world after all!
* 'Velo cops', Missenden Road, cycling towards and then past me from opposite direction as I waited at traffic lights to turn right into Carillon Avenue - obviously not the 'chasing' ones!!
* 'Patrol-Car police' opposite me & waiting to turn left into Glebe Point Road as I was waiting to turn right - all somewhat confusing with 'who' ought to go first (them, obviously!), and before I knew it I'd ended up at 'driving cop's' window & was suggesting "you go first" - sounded like a plan, & off we all went with me following them up Glebe Point Road!
* 'City Rangers' (Aussie equivaltent to UK Traffic Wardens) issuing tickets in Mary Ann Street whilst I was simultaneously issuing post cards - startled them both by giving them one saying "this time, we have something for you!"
But, the best bit of the day was...
...bumping into Clover Moore, our estimable Lord Mayor of Sydney & Independent Member for Sydney, doing a spot of 'street-walking' just like me...
I went into 'fan' mode:
♥ gushed how much I admired her,
♥ shook her hand enthusiastically,
♥ blurted out how I'd met her before but didn't expect her to remember me,
♥ declared dramatically to her & the whole of Bulwarra Street that I was campaigning for law reform, & that bicycle helmets ought to be a matter for choice
♥ gratefully received her pamphlet,
♥ forgot to give her mine!!!!?
...& Clover Moore's response; utterly charming, and genuinely friendly, and graciously serene...
I'm more smitten than ever - if I lived in her electorate (sigh!) I would VOTE 1 CLOVER MOORE FOR SYDNEY in 9 days time.
(Photo: just up the road from Newtown Police Station)
The 'non-existent whiff' of cycling danger that for so long was expressly cultivated to peddle the consumption of polystyrene hats has essentially dissipated in Sydney - most notably in the Inner West, my patch!!!
Ahhhhh! - so reaffirming to behold!!!
When Charlie Pickering of The 7PM Project fame declared to the Aussie public last August that he falls off his bicycle all the time, he let a little chink of light onto why Australian cycling was re badged into an extreme & dangerous sport all those years ago...
Basically, Aussie lads of the 90s were desperately-seeking-approval in a 'throwback-caveman-sort-of-a-way', and thus it was that it was necessary to dust off 'bravery', 'courage' & 'derring-do', and go wrestle a 'woolly mammoth' or something similar.
Only our Aussie lads of the 90s were a trifle too cosy for such 'extreme' pre-historic deeds, so they brainstormed and manufactured a 'modern-day woolly mammoth' - untamed & savage bicycles!
But there was a hitch:
♥ no-one had ever found this 'modern-day woolly mammoth' even vaguely alarming before
♥ it was universal
♥ it was cheap & easy
...and worse still...
♥ grannies and grandpas could still be found routinely pedalling everywhere, often with shopping and/or grand kids in tow!
...what to do?
$$$ How to delete this 'woolly mammoth' from the realms of the mundane and ordinary
$$$ How to re badge to dangerous and extreme?
$$$ How to manufacture a national & political consensus?...
...yawn! ho! hum! well we all know what happened next...
...but suffice to say, those of us who do continue to 'conscientiously object', are a constant reminder to our modern-day gladiators (such as The 7PM Project's anchorman) that their 'modern-day woolly mammoth' has Emperor's New Clothes status...
...and they're none-too-happy when they get that reminder - especially from a middle-aged mum!!!
During our little spot of 'Postcard Bombing' on the Sydney Uni Campus last week, I was appalled to see how few cycle racks there actually are in situ. Unfathomably, the University prides itself about its cycle parking - I am at a complete loss to see why.
From what I observed, the racks were minimal, old fashioned and clearly picked up in a 'Jumble Sale'. Notwithstanding those negatives, my overarching criticism is the Campus Security's trigger-happy approach towards cyclists who park their bicycles outside of the designated areas. Padlocks are mutilated and bicycles impounded at ridiculous & liberty-abusing expense to their hapless owners.
No way can such an approach encourage bicycle usage - sigh
What a sorry state of affairs for such a large, 'self-important' academic institution that revels in giving itself a big 'Matters Tertiary' rap.
When you consider how many students attend the university (48,000), Sydney's current congestion levels and institutional contribution to 'aforementioned' congestion, it's clear that possibilities abound for university policy to be creative and useful; to be a civic trend-setter as it were.
Shame on you, Sydney Uni, for your lack of imagination and your restrictive campus codes...
...your grade for cycling infrastructure and support - FAIL!!
Universities & bicycles have gone 'hand & hand' (figuratively speaking) for decades, and still ought to be naturally aligned.
Look at the maps above - they blatantly support my charge...only that many bicycle racks for 48,000 students!!!!! - 100s & 100s are needed!!!
Sydney University, show us your mettle...and put it to their pedals!!!!!
What funtimes! I feel positively emboldened as I wait to see exactly when I am scheduled to appear in court to defend the crime of riding a bicycle without an approved bicycle helmet...
OK, so my argument is pretty much going to have to be the 'same old, same old' again as I prepare myself for my imminent curial appearance and that's basically because the defence of necessity is really my only legal avenue in any Australian Court of Law.
Anyhoo, no worries, I'll just dust off those necessary elements for 'necessity'...now let me see, do I have the 'necessary' ingredients??:
1. Necessary belief 2. Proportionate response 3. Imminency underpinned by the notion of this particular act as an 'alternative course of action'
...I think so - CHECK to all 3!
...but really, really, really excitingly & also, interestingly, the defence of necessity is being raised around the globe for various crimes committed primarily to protect the environment, and some are finding the courts sympathetic to the climate change cause.
I have cause to be very hopeful, methinks...yes indeedy!!!
"To descend into hell is easy, But to return...what work, what a labour it is!"
...and haven't we found that out the hard way here in Australia.
It was madness to permit the side-lining of 'scientific method & evidence-based' policy that had always been a pre-requisite in 'liberty-reducing' laws. It was sheer folly to actively nuture a culture of 'helmet-belief', a belief that was false and unfounded; a belief that has since been discovered to be so...& on numerous occasions too.
Our politicians allowed their common sense to be hi-jacked by a commercial reality, and very quickly lost the courage of their convictions (and probalby their ability to ride bicycles in a transport sort of a way too). Basically politicians have been rendered incapable of thinking rationally ever since mandatory bicycle helmet laws were rolled out across Australia.
"I-believe-in-helmets-so-you-must-wear-one-too" beliefs are intellectually defunct and devoid of a rational approach to the extent of not even countenancing the possibility of a correction. In view of the academic evidence that has been provided over the past 2 decades, they ought to be politically ruinous, after all as the American Sam Harris so eloquently states, 'to assume knowledge where one has only pious hope is a species of evil'.
Notwithstanding all the doom & gloom that has been meted out to us in the framework of mandatory bicycle helmet laws, 'hauling ourselves up' we are, and particularly so in Sydney!
What with our incredible visionary Lord Mayor and an eager grassroots movement lapping up everything she gives us, 'citizen cycling' is taking off in this most beautiful harbour city. Helmet compliance has all but gone out the window, and cycling numbers grow daily.
After a weekend in Melbourne I couln't help but notice my fellow Sydney citizen cyclists with me in Redfern's Wilson Street yesterday afternoon: the 'wise', the 'excited', the 'fresh', the 'romantic', the 'professional', the 'sporty' - we were all there; it was almost like Amsterdam!!!...& at one noticeable 'abundantly-helmetless' moment we all seemed to be smiling at our immense luck at living and travelling in a city with "our Clover" at the helm!!!
I also couldn't help but notice the much wider space that Sydney vehicles provide their 'citizen cyclists' as opposed to that proffered by Melbourne vehicles to theirs - 'lay-down misère' - Sydney wins again!!!!!!!
* Lunch & yarns in Lygon Street (& just listen to this!!!! - Alan's partner, Kathy, once received a custodial sentence for the crime of 'not wearing a helmet' when she was 6 months pregnant - if ever we needed evidence that Australia is utterly daft Kathy's tale must be it!!!!!!)
* Window-shopping at slow bicycle pace along Little Collins
* Finally 'moseyed-on' home to Richmond from CBD
* Saw zero'velocops'...most disappointing - had the camera & all!
...these with scant apology for routine inconvenience exacted on railway passengers
All too often we depart from the wrong side of railway stations...
...leaving stations via their streetscapes
The way our state of New South Wales treats us is indeed a parlous 'state' of affairs...
Today I sampled a menu of their public transport options as I embarked upon (what ought to have been) an uneventful journey from Scone to Sydney.
Oh boy!, you know things are grim when you automatically check the internet for trackwork rather than automatically rely up on the much vaunted train timetable!
...and so it was that today was a 'trackwork-by-the-bucketful' day with a quick little trip on the Countrylink train to Muswellbrook first up followed by 'motion-sickness-inducing' buses to Sydney
There is no escaping the fact that our public transport is tokenistic & badly managed, and that little has been done over the past 16 years to redress grievances...
...but what really annoyed me whilst reading their website was how far into the future their projections of trackwork had been estimated...
* how is this possible?
* why are our tracks so fragile?
* why are corporate coal-train timetables never disrupted?
* why are corporate coal-trains never shunted like our passenger trains?
* why are our railway passengers so inferior to corporate coal?
...and you know what caps it all off? - there are no provisions for bicycles in this menu of public transport options unless they are dismantled and boxed-up - nope, I'm not kidding!!!!! - this is Australia.
The interminable trackwork & incessant marginalisation of railway passengers clearly demonstrates that a broad comprehensive energy policy is all talk & very little else...
...no wonder Australia has dropped off the global tourist's radar; unless you hire a car, there's no way of getting round this great big sunburnt country of ours...
Where the bloody hell are you, Tourism Australia?
- there's a role here for you in this quest - join us today!!