Monday, September 17, 2012
Going...going...gone - off to an auction somewhere near you or me..or somebody anyway in New South Wales !
And all because I was criminal enough not to wear a helmet whilst I was using a bicycle, and then subsequently criminal enough to refuse to pay the arbitrary tax (Victims' Compensation Levy).
What madness is this?
Here we are in New South Wales, a state in dire need of a workable transport plan because of the systemic political failure to provide one, and all that our leaders can come up with in terms of solutions (with the exception of Clover Moore, I hasten to add) is to chuck a few more motorways around the city and halt all coherent rail and bus link plans.
I cannot see how the sheriff seizing my bicycles is in the public interest.
How has it helped keep the NSW community safe and happy?
Where is the public benefit pursuing a middle-aged mum whose crime was to object to an arbitrary tax (Victims Compensation Levy) which has since been repealed for section 10(1)(a) offenders (me) because of its inequity and unfairness?
Was it worth all the public money issuing me with State Debt Recovery Office notices of fine amounts as they increased and then suspending my driver’s licence?
Was it worth all the sheriff’s time coming out to my place and not finding me, leaving his calling cards and finally after many emails and phone calls, coordinating a date with me when we were both in the Upper Hunter at the same time?
I think the sheriff had hoped I might have just paid the bill but that was never going to happen (as he well knew).
This has been a matter of principle for me and a matter of objection to both the Victims Compensation Levy and of course mandatory helmet laws too. With regards to the latter, we know they were introduced all those years ago for commercial purposes only, and perhaps to create a danger-perception of cycling to discourage us from sharing the roads; roads which have now been filled up with B-Doubles and other mobile Weapons of Mass Destruction.
I remain disappointed with the intransigence of the NSW government. With their resources and our taxes, they are in a position to inform themselves of evidence other than that emanating from University of New South Wales. Yet they choose to cherry pick the data and resolutely refuse to countenance other research that points to obvious flaws in helmet regulations. Nothing in the Hon. John Ajaka's bleat to me last week assauges my feelings of derision for this conservative 'going-nowhere-very-fast' government:
"I am advised," he baas, "a recent research study conducted by the University of NSW provides evidence which supports mandatory helmet laws. The research was published online in November 2011 by Accident Analysis and Prevention, a leading scientific journal.
The study found that bicycle-relatated injuries fell significantly by up to 29 per cent in the months after the mandatory helmet legislation came into effect in NSW. The decrease in head injury rates was significantly greater for cyclists compared to pedestrians, and cyclist head injuries decreased more than limb injuries. The results based on hospital admissions data strongly support the case for mandatory helmet laws."
Talk about same-old same-old - so unhelpful so uninformed...
...and ultimatley underpinning the packing of my 2 bikes into the Sheriff's car...
...which, I have to say, was so surreal!!!! It sort of felt like I was lending them to a friend and that they'd be back soon, but I wasn't and they won't because the stark reality is that my elected representatives have seen fit to put me through the wringer in their unreasonable quest to ensure their daft law is enforced and upheld.
Anyhoo apparently, the sheriff tells me, I can get my driver’s licence back now!
"Why would I do that?" I asked him with surprise...
...and seriously, why would I?
I’m loving the freedom of not having one, or a car for that matter, and knowing that I never have to go to an RTA (now RMS) office again!
I'm also loving the notion that I can’t be a taxi or a furniture removal service anymore and I certainly don’t miss any of that!
PLUS...I can party how I like when I like!!!!
No, Hons. O'Farrell, Smith & Ajaka, you can keep your licence and your rego and your insurance and your motorways - they are nothing to me - I am car oil-free - I am car oil-liberated - and being in a bicycle family such as this one, there are always plenty of bikes in the shed for riding!
- and anyway I'm quite used to having my bicycles taken away from me!!!!