Yes I leave tomorrow!!! Turns out the convenors and organisers were keen on the notion of a ‘wild card’ to add to the mix of academics, experts and Uncle Tom Cobbley & all!!!!
So tum-ti-tum...what to say?!!!
A touch of history, context, consequences perhaps - some revisiting of that tired old fable that Australia was sold a ‘pup’ with mandatory bicycle helmet laws; and that clearly the hoped-for community benefits have been considerably outweighed by the actual community losses incurred in terms of the decimation of the bicycle as a mode of transport. Perhaps I also ought to mention that notwithstanding this crippling Australian dilemma, our politicians stubbornly cling to anecdotal notions that helmets save lives and protect cyclists, and that there is an ominous parallel to our previous reticence to absorb the evidence demonstrating the perils of nicotine for users & ‘front & side’ sleeping positions for babies.
Basically I will have to report that in typical Australian fashion we here in Australia just don’t want to face the compelling evidence of facts yet because our leaders are recklessly devoted to our current ‘business-asusual-on-Australian-roads’ position.
I’ll probably chuck in that I’m a lawyer-trained bicycle advocate and a long time campaigner for the revocation of Australian mandatory bicycle helmet law, and that I’ve represented myself in court on this matter many times, and now as a result of 'bicycle helmet crime' and subsequent curial penalties I’ve had my driver's licence suspended indefinitely, and that the sheriff will be waiting for me upon my return to remove some of my property; I’ll also make the point that I think that it says a lot about Australia's delivery of justice that the first tactic used to force the hand of people objecting to clunky bureaucratic protocols is always to threaten the removal of car privileges, even when dealing with known bicycle users.
At this stage I’m intending that my presentation will introduce to the roundtable discussion an actual glimpse of cycling in Australia for the ‘common-man-woman-&-child’ as opposed to the ‘lycra-lot-who-drive-their-bikes-somewhere-for-battle;’ so in effect I'll be expanding on the conference theme of ‘Cities in Motion’. Naturally it will be of interest to mention that traffic in Sydney is brought to a stand-still most days, and that it has reached pathological proportions that demand immediate political leadership to fix it; and that unquestionably we all know that the bicycle ought to be playing a principal role in the Australian urban-congestion equation but to date the challenge to cast the bicycle in that part has become politically unpalateable despite valiant attempts by an array of alternative civic protagonists
Enter stage left: and our concerted community campaign designed to underwrite the expansion of the ‘cerebral cycling landscape,’ so crucial in overturning exclusive cycling paradigms in Australia today!!! – yep there’ll be something on that!!!! – and I’ll feel compelled to mention all our various blogs, and websites, and registers that are gradually attracting considerable global, media and political interest which in turn have ensured a solid platform to encourage bicycle freedom through our many instances of ‘conscientious objection’.
I’m hoping that by spotlighting Australian politicians’ fatuous support for bicycle helmet laws, my presentation will be an illustration to Vancouver et al of how a whole generation of Australians has been denied the experience of bicycle usage, and how our elected representatives wilfully compromised the issue of basic mobility for many, & inexplicably continue to do so stubbornly today...
...big deep breath – that’s sort of it...oh boy!...funtimes!