(Photos: 'Neri', Pip Abbott, Nepal)
Cycling is such a normal event in most parts of the world that it hardly features in the national psyche as something they do. Not so here...
No...here we've been known to fine cyclists or put them into paddy wagons, or even tackle persons of 'helmetless' interest (PO'H'I) to the ground or knock out a few teeth – in fact we’ve even been known to incarcerate PO'H'Is even when they're children.
So it was with interest that I read an email just recently from Jennifer Bacia, a Queensland author. Jennifer's correspondence to me concerned her husband’s brush with the strong arm of the law.
A Parkinson’s sufferer and the recipient of ‘Deep Brain Stimulus’ surgery, her husband is in possession of a medical exemption from helmet-wearing in order to protect the sub-dermal wires that lead to the electrodes in his brain, and also to avoid the likelihood of pain.
As her husband can no longer play tennis, surf or walk far, cycling has become his ticket to freedom. But local police are not impressed with his helmet exemption namely because, Jennifer wrote, '...it lacks an end date which is end of life in my husband’s case!'.
Ridiculously the situation escalated a few months ago when he was apprehended by police on his bike sans helmet and (on this particular occasion) sans exemption. At first he did not hear the command to stop, so when the policeman grabbed him from behind he was so startled he almost fell off his bicycle. In the ensuing melee, he lost his neuro-stimulator ($1,800) kept in his shirt pocket which he didn't realise till later. Anyway, severely reprimanded by police for his helmetless exemptionless behaviour, he was ordered to present himself and exemption to the Surfers Paradise Police Station the very next day.
This he did, but neither the reasonable grounds outlined in the exemption nor the formal complaint he and Jennifer then made about police treatment could stop the the relentless 'cog-in-motion' effect of fine-process, and before they knew it another one was reissued with a penalty for non-payment of first one.
Where is the sense in all this?
Are we really ok with it?
...done on our behalf & in our name - shame on us
Friday 26 October 2012
...and just in from Queensland:
Got a call from the police prosecutor this Tuesday – we were due to appear in the Magistrate’s court on Wed - and were told the matter was “not in the public interest”. What a complete waste of time and public resources!! - I could have written a book in the months this saga of communication and phone calls has gone back and forth. Thanks SO much again for your interest and support!
Tom Switzer's blues
27 minutes ago