... bicycle helmet laws are bad for my health - & yours too!
Great stuff Sue!As a thought, a better answer to that question about taxpayers and 'brains all over the road' might be to say that you actually would like a *rebate* on your taxes, because by cycling you are reducing the risk that you will get serious (and expensive to treat) diseases such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease - and that protective effect far outweighs the tiny chance you will receive a head injury of the type a helmet can prevent...
Well done Sue. It is always hard dealing with a hostile and self righteous opposition whose ignorance of the facts and issues gives them such self assurance. You handled yourself with dignity and credibility.While they ganged up on you (three against one in the typical Australian "chookyard" manner of fair play) did they ever stop to think that worldwide its three against 190, with 190 countries not sharing their ignorant and insular views?If you pointed out that the safest places in the world to ride a bike are the very places where no one wears helmets, would it even cause that awful lawyer a moment of self doubt? Probably not.Ah well, back to the madness. Please don't give up.
Ok, promise I won't!!!!
"did they ever stop to think that worldwide its three against 190, with 190 countries not sharing their ignorant and insular views?"More to the point, would they care? Looking at it from the other side of the world, but still with some sense of personal responsibility in the matter(being a collateral descendant of Captain Cook)I can't but remark on the strange Australo-New Zealand sense of being sui generis: a place unlike the rest of the world. I suppose that it stems in part from being (as Barry Humphries once put it) "an outer London suburb; just a bit further out than the rest": a collection of English counties incongruously stuck to the underside of Indonesia. But I think it must also have a great deal to do with the strange fauna and flora of the Australasian continent; where the aeons of isolation since Gondwanaland broke up have allowed the most bizarre life-forms to evolve, untroubled by any large predators stopping them doing daft things like still laying eggs even though they're mammals, for pity's sake! and carrying their young around in their pockets. Living somewhere like that must colour your outlook on the rest of the world and make you think that indeed it's you who's right and the rest of them who are wrong.Anyway, let's hope that accelerated evolution will soon put paid to the cycle helmet in Australia. As for New Zealand though, my feelings are mixed. Part of me says, why not have a nature reserve on a couple of Pacific islands where people have to wear silly plastic hats when riding their bicycles among the giant ferns and the tuatara lizards? If nothing else it would be good for their tourism: Dutch cruise liners perhaps coming close inshore for the passengers to take photographs of them in order to show people back home.PS. Did you know that it was the Dutchman Abel Tasman who discovered "Nieuw Zeeland" in 1642 and claimed it for Holland? You wonder what their urban landscape would look like if the Dutch had colonised the place rather than 20th-century British migrants who found Australia too challenging.
Good on You, Sue.For going into the 'belly of the beast' and speaking up, for us, those hated Sydney cyclists. You handled it superbly, - I am sure you could tell it was going to be a one sided beat-up beat up, and you didn't let those plastic talking heads rattle you.Me? I would have blown a sprocket, and let the side down, no doubt. I am an anarchist, so I will just disregard the authorities anyway, but it shouldn't only be militant anarchists who feel empowered enough to ride the mean streets of Sydney.I am sick of helmets, - all just so selfish petrol addicts can feel 'safe' as they over-take me, - doing 60-80kph, as they babble into their phones..Hey lawyers, cops and politicians.. how about actually protecting the rights of cyclists, instead of enforcing punitive nanny-state laws, that are used as a pretext for harassing us? Eg, Fines for not having a bell, Making us get off and walk our bikes, and the bloody helmet laws...Stay strong and keep at it, you are doing good work.:]
Hello Sue, Thanks for your well thought out, courageous, and articulate challenge to a bad law. I think you did exceedingly well. I agree with the above comment indicating (if the argument comes up) that cyclists should, if anything, be entitled to a rebate on health premiums or, say, car drivers should be required to pay an "obesity" charge.They ganged up on you in cowardly fashion, preaching all the usual ill informed pc mantra.A study, about to appear in a highly rated, peer reviewed, major American journal, supporting some of the points you were so articulately making is here:http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1539-6924.2011.01785.x/abstract
The old "brains all over the road" canard. I always find that amusing, as though there are only 2 possible things that can happen when you throw your leg over a bike:a/ you wear a helmet and get where you are going safely, orb/ you don't wear a helmet and your brains end up all over the road.It is a pretty panicky, bleak, extreme way of looking at the world.
Scott, if you'd seen the number of people that I have during my career dying totally unnecessary deaths from pneumonia after getting soaked in the rain, you too would be in favour of compulsory umbrellas for anyone over the age of six venturing out of doors at any season of the year for any reason whatever, regardless of the day's weather forecast - since we all know those aren't 100% reliable - and with the umbrella carried permanently open so that the police can spot offenders and issue an appropriate fine, or perhaps tazer them to teach the buggers some respect for the law. The great thing about an erect umbrella (absence of) is that it's a great deal easier to spot than, say, a motorist texting while driving, plus which the offenders can't get away as easily as someone in a car.Some born contrarians might argue that this would infringe individual freedom: but I say that there's no such thing as the freedom to die slowly and painfully from your lungs filling up with purulent fluid. No reasonable person would ever want that, I hope: so I trust that we won't have any nay-saying except from that tiresome madwoman with the hair out in Woopwoop.You know it makes sense!(Post sponsored by the Umbrella Manufacturers' Council of Australia and New Zealand)
That's very funny, Vocus Dwabe.In all seriousness, I do foresee the day when principals start recommending that children wear high-viz vests when walking to and from school, followed swiftly by the day when they make it compulsory. There have already been a couple of safety groups in parts of Europe who have put their toe in the water in this respect, and you know it is a matter of time before any hare-brained safety scheme from any part of the world takes root in this joint.
Only a couple of weeks ago in St. James's Park in central London I saw a school party of kiddies all kitted out in hi-viz waistcoats: God alone knows why since there wasn't a motor vehicle within half a mile of them. "Best practice", I suppose: the jobsworth's explanation of choice for any arbitrary and foolish imposition on the public.By the way, are you aware of this by any chance? It's truly frightening:http://www.thudguard.com/Even worse, we learn that the inventor of this horrible idea is also guilty of writing a children's book:http://www.thudguard.com/news/thudguard-inventor-launches-new-childrens-bookAs Disraeli wrote to one aspiring author, "Thank you: I shall lose no time reading it."
aaaahhhh! - you guys make it all worth while!!!!!
Apropos of the Sydney Police razzia against terror-cyclists, I thought you might like the following link for the English version of Jacques Offenbach's 1867 number "Les Beaux Gendarmes":http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2HJIznd65BANot the least of the many excellent reasons for fighting tooth and nail against a helmet law in the UK is that the police would just love it as cash-generator and a way of fighting crime without doing anything more strenuous than loitering at traffic intersections. Cyclists not wearing helmets are a lot more visible than motorists texting at the wheel, plus which they tend to be nice middle-class people who won't stab you or pull a gun on you. And of course, unlike enforcing bike lights, it doesn't involve working unsociable hours.(Mission statement from a few years back: "Thames Valley Police - Abolishing Crime, Fear and Uncertainty.")
So the Thudguard can stop "heart rendering" accidents? What is heart rendering? Someone drawing a picture of your heart? Your heart being covered with a layer of stucco?As for "traumatised" - people used to get traumatised by participating in the Battle of the Somme. Now they get traumatised by seeing their lickle bubba conking its head.
c) Sept 2010 Letter to NSW Minister for Roads
d) Submission to Parliamentary Inquiry into Vulnerable Road Users 2010