Friday, December 11, 2015

Sentenced though not custodially ... phew

(My heartbeat before sentencing!!!)


And so it came to pass that a sentence was handed out on Monday by an Adelaide Court and was simultaneously received by a Broken Hill Court via video-link.

Plugged in, I sat by myself in the Broken Hill courtroom until the Adelaide magistrate appeared on my courtroom television.

After a brief recap from her and the police prosecutor, I was then given a chance to make submissions regarding my take on things. So organising my thoughts under what I thought were relevant headings, I basically said the following:

Climate Change
I can no longer continue to observe the havoc that my capitalist lifestyle is causing without trying to do something to mitigate it. The catastrophic impacts of climate change are felt in many places around the world ... just look at Kirabati and Tuvalu ... and even the flooding in the north of England has been hailed as a consequence of climate change. In addition we also know that Greenland's ice will disappear sooner than later - it has been reported in the last couple of days that scientific predictions regarding the ice loss have been grossly underestimated. Even here in Broken Hill the impact of climate change is being acutely felt ... the town water supply is running out.

World's Children
I have responsibilities to my children, and all of our children, and our children's children too - I cannot just sit by and pass the burden of climate change onto them.

COP21 (Paris)
Whilst I love this country, there is no denying that Australia is an outlier in terms of transitioning to green transport and our responsibilities to the environmnent. As you would be aware, this week global leaders are in Paris attempting to agree to workable solutions for mitigating the devastating impacts of climate change. But already we in Australia have been let down by our representatives. Take Malcolm Turnbull, he completely lacked the courage to sign onto a Kiwi initiative with regards to guaging our carbon footprint, deforestation and materials sold to other nations and what is actually our true total ... and all because of a Faustian bargain the Liberals have with the Nationals and farmers and miners to maintain outdated fuel subsidies.

Victimless Crime
My crime is a victimless one. The benefit/cost analysis suggests that cycling is 20-30 times more beneficial to society than harmful. So whilst I may have been found guilty of breaking the letter of the law, I was not causing any personal or social harm, and therefore perhaps I should not be punished. These are my submissions on sentencing ... thank you.
So after me wrapping up my bit, the magistrate reciprocated with thanks, had a brief little chin-wag with the prosecutor, and then launched into the business of 'fitting' the 'punishment into the crime,' or the 'crime into the punishment.' At one point she mentioned the possibility of imposing a penalty without recording a conviction as set out in s16 of the Crimimal Law (Sentencing) Act 1988 (South Australia) but she was not completely satisfied that I was not likely to commit the offence again. She asked me my thoughts on the subject, and I said that it would be less than honest to say I would not ride a bicycle again without a helmet in Adelaide, and that there was every chance that I would come back to Adelaide and join in with another bicycle helmet protest ride no doubt with a police escort again just like before.

She thanked me for my frankness, formally declined to grant me the 'legislated leniency' on the basis of my potential recidivism, and got on with dishing up the fines and costs for me to fix up in the next 28 days:

$$$ Helmet fine
+
$$$ Victim compo
+
$$$ prosecution costs
+
$$$ court costs =

GRAND TOTAL ... $560.00


So there we have it ... guilty as charged, with criminal conviction and punished accordingly.

So much for encouraging 'green transport' ... so much for innovation ... so much for legislative perspective ... but hey, this is Australia

Sigh

Monday, December 7, 2015

Wilcannia: free from helmets & the AFP



In a couple of hours I will be sentenced for my Adelaide crime of riding a bicycle whilst not wearing a bicycle helmet.

I am in Broken Hill and given that I have brought my 93 year old mother-in-law out here to visit her son (my man!), the Adelaide Court Registry agreed to my proposal that I be sentenced via video-link in the Broken Hill Local Court ... thus in just under two hours I will present myself to the Broken Hill Court personnel to be wired up and/or whatever to hear what the Adelaide magistrate has to say.

Will I be fined?

Will I be sent to prison?

Or will I be allowed the leniency of a dismissal?

A massive fine?

Court costs?

Sigh ... it is all so exhausting

How long will Australia continue with this ridiculous criminalising of cyclists who wish to cycle like cyclists around the rest of the world?

Oh dear ... sigh ... I've said this before and I'll say it again:

THERE IS NO EVIDENCE THAT WEARING A BICYCLE HELMET MAKES YOU SAFER ON THE ROADS ...

BICYCLE HELMET LAW IS A BIG OIL DETERRENT TO KEEP CYCLISTS FROM CYCLING ON THE ROADS ...

BICYCLE HELMET LAW IS PERPETUATED BY ACADEMIC CHEER-LEADERS SITTING IN BIG OIL FUNDED CHAIRS IN VARIOUS UNIVERSITIES AROUND AUSTRALIA (think UNSW just for starters) ...

Anyway, I'll keep you posted ... or one of my family will if the worse comes to worst ... sigh

Oh and before I go, I must mention that the Australian Federal Police (AFP) called me last night to mention that after all their 'tax-payer-funded-gymnastics' entailing calling me in to their AFP offices at the International Airport in Sydney for interviewing and videoing purposes for my Sydney crime of riding a bicycle whilst not wearing a bicycle helmet, they have decided that they will book me after all.

So here we go again.

#HelmetLawSucks #DownUnderDumbness

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Contact the Premier of New South Wales - Ok ... done




Apparently Mike Baird is committed to establishing an open and accessible Government.

Apparently I can send the Premier questions, comments, concerns, well-wishes or requests, or by completing the form on his website.

So I did and here is the gist of what I filled out and submitted:

Outline of issues you wish to discuss
First I am no libertarian

I believe in regulations where they are required

I applaud current federal gun laws and plain packaging laws for cigarettes

Bicycle helmet law is flawed

Australia is one of the few countries that has bicycle helmet law and yet we are one of the most dangerous countries for cycling

Numbers for commuter cyclists have dwindled over the past 20 years and this has made the roads more dangerous for cyclists

Expert national and international academics are in dispute over the merits of helmet law

When the experts cannot agree there ought not to be a law requiring compulsion

Bicycle helmet law has criminalised cycling

I fear I will be served a custodial sentence before too long with my current conscientious objection

Cycling is a good activity for health, helps reduce traffic congestion, and is a non-polluting green mode of transport

I would like to discuss revocation of regulation 256 of the Road Rules

Such an action on the part of a politician would make them a leader in the climate change challenge


Details of prior discussions with Government Representatives
I have met with George Souris to discuss this issue on many occasions ... to no avail.

I and approximately 29 other people once delivered a petition to John Ajaka after we had cycled from Sydney Town Hall to Parliment House with a police escort.

On another occasion, myself and Dr Paul Martin (specialist anaesthetist, Brisbane) and Prof Chris Rissel (academic, University of Sydney), met with John Ajaka to discuss the bicycle helmet law issue. At this meeting we supplied him with relevant facts and evidence pertaining to the failure of bicycle helmet law. Nothing happened

Please meet me - I cannot buy your time, or donate, but I have lived in NSW for 33 years tomorrow.

-------------------------------

So there you have it ... what do think the chances are that his press secretary (or whoever) will give me a bell and say:

"Mrs Abbott, when would be convenient with you? The Premier is dying to meet you!"

Sigh

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

There is no Planet B - from the London Climate March


Armed and ready to go, we joined 600,000 people on global streets last Sunday to tell our leaders that enough is enough and that we won't continue any longer with 'business as usual'


In London 50,000 people marched with us, and there were plenty of inspiring 'clarion calls' and 'memes' for us all to note right now [see some in the italics below]


'The whole world is watching you' [from Greenpeace]


'Keep coal in the hole and oil in the soil' [from The Guardian]


And this is why we're fighting and taking to the streets; our world's children ... we must must think of their futures and of their children's futures too


Sisters-in-arms .. inspiring chums


'Badger' above is right


Babes-in-arms


'Do something, global leaders' [from Children Against Climate Change]


Tum-ti-tum


'This climate crisis has names and addresses' [from Friends of the Earth]


Awwwwwwwwww - support from all quarters


'Land of the buck ($$$)
'Which don't give a fuck
'We have to wake up!' [from Kate Tempest, unblievable rapper poet]



'How brave to pass on the buck (blame) to the unborn' [from Charlotte Church]


'There ... Is ... No ... PlanetB,
'ThereIsNoPlanetB' [from the crowd and a drummer]



'David Cameron is taking a wrecking ball to environmental policy' [from Caroline Lucas MP]


And added to the climate change violence, Cameron has an unconscionable plan to murder Syrians - how can he contemplate such madness?

There is much to be done and we can no longer turn our heads away and pretend that there isn't.

So wake up, global leaders, and sort out something useful in Paris ...

... and ...

DON'T BOMB SYRIA

Monday, November 23, 2015

The Nanny State Games

(Image: The Spectator)


A few people have asked me why I didn’t do a submission for the Nanny State Inquiry given that on the surface I must appear a most likely submission-writing candidate ... here's why:

I just cannot reconcile myself with Senator David Leyonhjelm's aversion to renewables nor his commitments to Big Tobacco and Big Guns … there plain and simple.

Sigh.

A libertarian I am not!

In fact in my view this 'parliamentary' theatre-sports exercise of David Leyonhjelm's is nothing more than a right-wing 'smoke & mirrors' ploy to herald in the relaxing of gun laws, the reversing of cigarette plain packaging laws ... oh and course most importantly of all ... to get Senator Leyonhjelm re-elected.

What a shame that this opportunity to discuss bicycle helmet law has been polluted by a numpty-politician planning to use the interest engendered as a sweetener for his particularly nasty winding-back of some of the good stuff Australian Parliaments have actually done.

Right now what we really need is a serious and complete overhaul of how we elect our senators - that this man may end up having the leverage to enact his libertarian shite is incomprehensively scary.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Politicians should fight our wars


In various cememteries ...


... dotted around the world ...


... lie some of the men in my family...


A great-grandfather ...


A grand-father ...


An uncle ...


But not my father ...


... because when it came to be his turn to die for his country ...


... he was killed closer to England ...


... than these final resting places ...


... and my mother flatly refused for him to be interred in the military cemetery on offer or any military cemetery whatsoever for that matter.

What does it mean to claim that the names of the dead military men in my family or anybody's family 'liveth' ... for surely if they did there would be an end to the state grooming of killers and the killed.

I hate Armistice Day (and I hate Anzac Day too) ... and I won't wear a poppy.

Lest we forget ... although maybe it might help if we did.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Prime Minister, isn't it time helmet laws were axed so the AFP don'thave to waste their time and taxpayers' dollars interviewing me?

 

So I arrived at International Airport (Sydney) on Monday with plenty of time before my flight to England because I had a rendezvous-vous with the Australian Federal Police!
Following instructions in the email sent to me last week, I headed to 10 Arrivals Court, Level 3, and was collected in the foyer by a young policewoman and shown to a rather austere waiting area where I was told to take a seat. 
Because I had arrived early and the interviewing AFP constable was running a touch late, I had plenty of opportunity to take in my surroundings, and I must admit that I approved of the minimalist decor, I liked the rather bare glass wall cabinet, and I approved of the what-I-would-call  'airforce blue' fitted carpet throughout ... 
'Hmmmn,' I said to myself, 'glad to see my tax-dollars so tastefully spent!'
And then my AFP interviewer was there, and it was through the locked doors and into an interviewing room for the interview.
Housekeeping first ... explanation of the activities to come, I could have a drink any time I wanted one, I could have a lawyer or a friend, I didn't have to be there (even though they'd come up with the idea!)
No thank you, no, no, yes, were my responses.
Then they asked if I had any questions to which I asked if I could take their photo ... no was their answer!
And we were off !
$$$ Rights read out to me
$$$ Re-visited whether I understood that I could have a Lawyer or a friend
$$$ Cautioned that anything I said could be used as evidence against me ... and 'for me,' I inserted, which I think surprised them (oh and btw,  you all sponsored two AFPs to interview me for the approximately 40 mins that I was there!!!)
$$$ Checked up on my address, my age, my nationality, my living, where I was born, where I'd cycled in the world (maybe I volunteered that bit?!), what route I had taken on that 'Domestic Airport' day when they had come across me at dawn, description of my Christiania, how many bikes I had, what types, had I cycled to the airport for my London flight
Somewhere along the way I mentioned some of my previous 'non-helmet-bookings' both in NSW and South Australia, and that I thought the law was flawed, contradictory and confusing, that existing evidence was divided into two camps, that Australian academics wedded to mandatory helmet laws were sponsored by Big Oil as evidenced by the 'money' splashed out to further their position (say for instance that 'NRMA' chair at UNSW and 'Honda' sponsorship of medical case studies at St George's Hospital) ... I even mentioned Velo City conferences in despatches which I then had to explain to them ... which then led to mention of Adelaide and the Adelaide protest rides with unhelmeted cyclists and police escorts!
Somewhere along the way I mentioned in a very young life I'd been a student nurse at St Bartholomew's Hospital in London and they jumped on that and asked what was my opinion on all the cycling accidents that I would have seen in that life to which I replied that was irrelevant because I was so very junior then and such a very far cry from an expert that no-one would have been interested in my opinion, and that anyway when I'd done my 'accident & emergency secondment' back then I'd seen more knifings than any bicycle mishaps.
Much more was said and chatted about and it's all on tape for maybe a future court case, and I remember telling them that I have a responsibility to participate in this democracy of ours, and as a participant it is my responsibility to object to flawed laws ... and mandatory helmet laws fitted within that category.
I know at some point I mentioned my blog, and that the purpose of it was mainly to rail against the Australian compulsion to have to wear a helmet when cycling ... I also added that the lead AFP interviewer's legs had already featured on it - later he mentioned he would have to check out my blog for 'malice'! ... hope it's free of that!!!
And then it was time to leave Sydney and its AFP so that I could catch my plane to London and its Bobbies, 
... and you know after I've posted this recount of my arvo with the AFP I'm going to take a Boris Bike from Liverpool Street Station (where I'm about to leave my suitcase in 'Left Luggage') to the Science Museum in South Kensington because I have been hanging out to see the Ada Lovelace exhibition and as luck would have it, it's on right now!!!
#HelmetLawSucks

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Open Letter to the European Cyclists' Federation: gaol next?


Dear European Cyclists' Federation,

In between two more criminal bicycle helmet convictions received last Friday in person from the Scone Local Court and this past Monday via telelink from the Adelaide Magistrates' Court, there were bubbles, bread and cheese for our beautiful BN2 and her beautiful fiancé!



And thank 'whoever-is-your-favourite-mythological-entity' for that because somewhat depressingly the premise emanating out of the Scone and Adelaide Courts is that climate change is still too far removed to be a threat, and that not using a helmet is a social choice which in turn is a preference inconsistent with the law, and therefore all things considered I am still guilty of riding a bicycle without a helmet.

Now whilst the Scone Local Court heard my matter and delivered a verdict and a sentence all on the same day, the Adelaide Magistrates' Court took two months to reach Monday's guilty verdict and now plans to take another six weeks to work out a sentence for which I must appear in person to receive it on Monday 7 December ... admittedly I am overseas for November and that may have had some bearing on the time frame, but still this will have been almost 19 months since I was booked back in May 2014 before the Adelaide VeloCity 2014 conference commenced.

You really ought not to have given Adelaide the conference when you were dishing them out ... any Australian city for that matter!

None of our cities or towns deserved it!

We were and still are not fit to hold such a bicycle event of the Velo City calibre ... never have been, never will be ... well, certainly not if we carry on as we have been for the past 24 years since mandatory helmet laws were introduced.

We are completely feral as far as cycling is concerned, and we have been for a very long time.

You must have known this!

What a waste of a conference opportunity and what a waste of everybody's time and effort - it was utterly pointless awarding Australia such a prestigious bicycle meeting.

Adelaide let you down ... well, you let yourselves down by taking 'anybody's' (in this case Adelaide's) money ...

... and meanwhile long after the party has finished and moved on, I am still being hammered for cycling without a helmet back at the start of that VeloCity14.


And next Monday on the day I fly out of Australia to visit my family in England, I'm to be interviewed ...

YES INTERVIEWED ... by the Australian Federal Police (AFP) for cycling to Domestic Airport on a bicycle without a helmet ...

... just imagine, I'm to be interviewed for a traffic offence ...

... just imagine, I'm to be interviewed for riding a bicycle without wearing a helmet ...

... just imagine, I'm to be interviewed in an unknown room somewhere at Kingsford Smith International Airport and I've been invited to bring along a lawyer or a friend.

Not only did we not deserve the VeloCity conference back in May 2014, but in my opinion until mandatory helmet laws are repealed Australian delegates should not to be allowed to attend any future VeloCity events.

Tough I know, but notwithstanding all the 'VeloCity-conference-attending' by Australian academics and Australian traffic engineers and Australian 'you-name-them-and-they-attend' attendees, cycling is only getting worse in Australia ... not better.

I am feeling crushed ... and I am wondering, will I one day end up in gaol as a result of this bicycle campaign of mine?

Kind regards,
Sue (Freedom Cyclist)



Thursday, October 22, 2015

Open letter to yet another Australian Prime Minister

(Image: screen capture from @turnbullmalcolm's twitter feed)


The Hon. Malcolm Turnbull, MP
Prime Minister
Parliament House
CANBERRA ACT 2600

Dear Prime Minister,

I need your help.

On the eve of another court case in which I must provide my defence for the matter of ‘not wearing a bicycle helmet whilst riding a bicycle,’ I am appealing to you to show reason in this national debate that delineates Australia in the world’s eyes as one of the sillier nations.

It is common knowledge here and abroad that evidence pertaining to bicycle helmets and bicycle helmet law is conflicted. Yet notwithstanding that this topic is obviously in scientific dispute, we are still legally compelled to wear bicycle helmets in Australia.

Most nation states across the globe openly acknowledge that mandatory helmet laws raise issues of civil liberties, and accordingly the decision ‘to helmet or not’ has been left to their individual citizens. In my opinion, it is time such decision-making was relinquished to the realm of choice for Australians too.

Bearing in mind that it was the Hawke government in December 1989 which insisted that all the states enact bicycle helmet laws if they were to receive additional federal road funding for the ‘Black Spot’ program, perhaps you could reverse mandatory helmet regulation offset now with a similar threat of withholding federal funding, only this time for public transport and bicycle infrastructure initiatives, should recalcitrant states refuse to strike out their bicycle helmet regulations.

Clearly mandatory helmet laws ought to be repealed in the interests of social justice, the environment, and our children. Allowing ourselves to be deluded by oil-funded academics, who deliberately steer their observational research into lucrative and secure little sinecures, ought not to be permitted any longer.

Along with this letter, I have enclosed the submissions which outline the case for why I should be found not guilty by the magistrate in the Scone Local Court this coming Friday 23rd October 2015.

Repealing mandatory helmet law is a simple and inexpensive piece of law reform, and one that would bring the marvellous bicycle back to our roads ... with a vengeance.

Please help me.

Yours sincerely,

Sue (no-relation-to-tony) Abbott
http://www.freedomcyclist.blogspot.com

cc The Hon. Mike Baird, MP, GPO Box 5341, SYDNEY NSW 2001; Mr Michael Johnsen, MP, 20 Bridge Street, MUSWELLBROOK NSW 2333; The Hon. Joel Fitzgibbon, PO Box 6022, House of Representatives, Parliament House, Canberra ACT 2600

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Pre-dawn Christiania stopping - only in Australia


I hadn't done this trip from my sister's before so I allowed myself plenty of time to get to the airport on my Christiania. I was heading to Broken Hill for the weekend as the 'man-of-my-life' had started working out there for the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) - definitely time for a visit.

So I left Randwick before dawn, and made my way through the deliciously cool dark morning gliding past Prince of Wales Hospital and the University of New South Wales, eventually taking a left hand turn onto Anzac Parade for a brief little sojourn on that usually hectic road before turning right into a bicycle land of back streets that almost took me right through to Domestic.

Once on O'Riodan Street in Mascot, I trundled under the massive advertising bridge, and waited patiently at traffic lights to cross over that equally massive bit of the road where Joyce Drive and Qantas Drive meet and unite (how very apt!).

Enjoying the exhilarating thrill that I always experience when I cross that section knowing that all eyes of waiting vehicles are on my beautiful bicycle, I joined the Domestic Airport traffic flow, and once round the bend near DHL terminal (formerly Yanda ... 'alas poor Yanda, I knew thee well'), I signalled and took the right lane which I knew would lead me to the half-a-dozen bike racks in the carpark near the Public Pick-up section.

Daylight, by now creeping into Sydney and turning charcoals into greys, was suddenly interrupted by the sharp blurt of a cranky car.

Initially thinking 'how rude' and ignoring it, after another sharp blurt I realised that the entitled sound probably belonged to a police car!

Was I in their way, I wondered to myself?

I tried to move over a bit only to then realise they actually wanted to talk to me. So manoeuvring to the least dangerous spot in this right hand lane flowing into the car-park (is there a 'least dangerous' spot in the right hand lane of an airport?), I commenced a 'chat' with the Australian Federal Police.

First up, they wanted to know what did I think I was doing ... and me saying 'riding a bicycle' did not allay their curiosity!

Apparently there were two things they knew that I was doing that were wrong:

1. riding without a helmet
2. riding on a road

I mentioned that I was entitled to ride on the road, to which the AFP driver of the AFP patrol car countered not without a helmet ...

So then I commenced my ususal 'police conversation' that I always seem to trot out for moments like these ... you know, how I was a campaigner actively trying to change the law, that I believed there was no evidence for such a law, that such a law had been a detrimental to Australia and an ugly deterrent to cycling here in this country, that we were on our own in the world (ooops almost forgot New Zealand - gave them a plug just in time), blah-de-blah-de-blah.

I also mentioned that I was due in Scone Local Court next Friday for a bicycle helmet matter, and that I was due to hear the magistrate's verdict via tele-link from the Adelaide Magistrate Court the following Monday (I may have got those dates muddled ... anyway I know that I mentioned Scone and Adelaide).

But it was the Christiania that had him (the main AFP protagonist) baffled.

'What,' he wanted to know, 'is your bike?'

Whilst explaining that it was a Christiania from the eponymous suburb in Copenhagen, he shared with me that he'd been to Copenhagen too, and had seen everyone cycling around. I put it to him that I bet he had not worn a helmet if and when he'd cycled around that beautiful city, to which he responded that it was not the law there ...

Sigh!

Is that all that stops people in Australia from not riding bicycles without helmets here?

This fatuous and unquestioning compliance?

Couldn't we just for once give some thought as to why we have such an unnecessary and restrictive law, and nobody else does?

Why don't we challenge our politicians and those numpty UNSW academics who so glibly dance to Big Oil's tune?

Anyway all that aside, next up and somewhat bizarrely, the policeman told me that he was going to photograph my bike so I told him that I was going to photograph him (hope his shot of my bike was better than my shot of him!)


He then asked me where I had come from and I told him from my sister's in Randwick but normally Scone (occasionally Newtown).

He wanted to know what roads I had been on that morning, so I mentioned that I'd 'bicycle-google-mapped' my journey to Domestic and that my sister had given me the heads up to override the first bit of google's suggestions by taking High Street in Randwick past the hospital and the University saving me unnecessary and crippling Randwick descents and ascents!

He wanted to know where I was off to now and I mentioned that I was on my way to visit my hubbie for his day off from his Flying Doctors' shifts in Broken Hill.

He then wanted to know what I was going to do with my bike whilst I was away. I told him I was going to leave it in the carpark and he told me I couldn't, and I told him that I could ... over at the bike racks ... I don't think he knew about those!!!!

He then somewhat parentally said that he hoped I had a good padlock to which I replied I did!

We finished with him mentioning that he would have to chat to his boss on what to do with me, said our goodbyes, and then I parked my bike and flew off to the RFDS base in Broken Hill.

Then on Sunday when I was somewhere in between Pro Hart's gallery and Broken Hill's Living Desert, he rang me to flag a meeting for an interview at some stage either at the airport or Newtown Police Station!!!! He would send me an email outlining all of this ... which he did.

Notwithstanding his pleasant and welcoming invitation to bring a lawyer and / or a friend, I know that I don't actually have to attend if I don't want to. But either way (whether I attend or not) I know that I am going to be booked, so I think I will meet him for the interview because I'm truly intrigued that the incredibly flat-out busy Australian Federal Police can be arsed to juggle 'unhelmeted-bicycling-middle-aged mum' duties along with their usual terrorism and drug smuggling duties.

Watch this space - I'll keep you posted!!!!!!!!

Oh, and #HelmetLawSucks

Friday, October 2, 2015

George Street's disruption is uber-great



Even in Australia the sun is finally setting on the car industry ... and boy oh boy it can't come soon enough.

Next Monday there will be no more cars travelling along Sydney's George Street because we are about to get light rail!!! It's going to take months and months and lots and lots of heartache but there is an unfurling sentiment amongst some of our politicians that the 'demand for public transport' must be met.

And furthermore motorists have been warned in no uncertain terms that if they park illegally anywhere in the CBD their cars will be towed. Yes they've been spoken to like they were naughty cyclists!!!! This is tough stuff for our all-hallowed car-users; the city is starting to become off limits to them and not a minute before time.

Of course it's going to be chaos because all those buses that usually travel down George Street are going to be either cancelled ad infinitum or rerouted to another congested CBD street. But notwithstanding all of that, George Street is trying to grow up and become a street like a street in other 21st century liveable cities.

And you know what else all of this means don't you! ... cycling is going to come into its own, and nothing even Duncan Gay can dream up is going to stifle people using bicycles now.

This is the disruption we've been waiting for!

Won't it be good to see Big Oil's polluting urban oil project in Sydney pruned.

Big Oil has not been a team player, and as each day goes Big Oil by proves over and over again how it can not be trusted with our cities and/or our planet.

To put it in a nutshell Big Oil has 'reached the limit of fossil fuel development.'

And you know what else!

I'm absolutely convinced it's only going to be a matter of time before we witness either a sudden erasure of our seriously dumb mandatory bicycle helmet law or a quiet behind-the-scenes one.

But either way most of the politicians who wilfully commissioned the helmet debate twenty plus years ago in order to pass our dumb helmet regulations are just about 'pushing-up-daisies' or almost, and the 'boffins' (bahahahaha) from UNSW's paid oil lobby are rapidly disappearing too into the swamps of their own self-created peripherality.

Yes sadly over the past two decades, they have wasted millions of our dollars on their futile 'studies' trying to prove helmet law is necessary, and yes that really sucks, but surely none of the rubbish that passed for law-shoring-up-research will wash any longer as we take to our bicycles in droves.

Our government's inaction, abetted by lazy Australian investigation, has been a danger to our society but ... there is a change in the air, and the likes of Duncan and Tony and Big Oil lovers from UNSW are so very yesterday and so very passés.

Au revoir and good riddance ...

... AND A BIG WELCOME TO THE NEW GEORGE STREET WHICH STARTS NEXT MONDAY!!!!!


Tuesday, September 8, 2015

A Mother's Love-Post for her daughter


Our beautiful baby number two is heading off into the next chapter of her life ... with someone truly lovely.

And ever since their 'breaking' of that wonderful news, my mind has shifted into an operational loop like a vintage movie projector, flickering erratically, both in colour and in black and white as I laboriously process her last 28 years, in a stock-take kind of a way.

And as I glimpse into their ever-evolving plans and dreams, I see that tiny little baby again with her little button nose, and that sweet little girl with her utter joy of learning, and that fierce young woman with her inate sense of justice, and then, like my laptop which permanently trips to Yahoo when I least expect it, my mind defaults to Hollywood musicals and I find myself humming:

"Is this the little girl I carried"

"I don't remember growing older, when did they?"


Get a grip, I tell myself sternly!

"Sunrise sunset, swiftly fly the years
One season following another
Laden with happiness and tears"


Oh for goodness sake ... "but I just can't help it" ... and then I feel waves of great emotion with an intensity that make me feel both deleriously happy and downright scared, and I hope with a mother's fervour that the 'boat' they are setting off in for their new and exciting life-journey is a strong and sturdy one for the glorious, tumultous, dark, becalmed, diamante-sparkly ride that they will have in the waters of their 'sea of life.'

"They look so natural together, just like two newlyweds should be"

Love, kisses and congratulations ... forever xx
----------------
(With thanks to Miffy the maltoodle for her little 'riff,' to BN3 for his beautiful Skywood Springs photos, and to Cate Archibald for her photo of the two little cowgirls, and as always, lots of apologies to decent ukele players!)

Friday, August 28, 2015

Guilty or not guilty - check back here in 2 months


Some Australians are just plain beautiful ...


... but those who write ignorant rules & regulations are not.

And as a result of the latter's reckless behaviour I found myself back in a South Australian court this week to defend that very uniquely (well almost) Australian crime of riding a bicycle without a helmet.

With the usual initial palaver of:

'Are you sure you want to plead not guilty?'

'Really ... you're going to represent yourself?'

'Might be a good idea to speak to the duty solicitor & get some proper advice,'


... I eventually got on with presenting my submissions and leading evidence-in-chief (from me, myself & I) in a bid to persuade the court to find me not guilty on grounds of self-defence or, in the alternative, on grounds of the invalidity of regulation 256.

The three police officers who had booked me all those months ago (May 2014) were there outside the court scrubbed and unarmed, waiting to be called upon to read their statements if required to do so.

But seriously though what would have been the point? Apart from a mini-error in one them, all three of their statements basically said:

We saw the accused riding a bicycle (!) ... on an Adelaide street (!) ... without wearing a helmet (!)

BREAKING NEWS - SHOCK HORROR - THE SKY IS FALLING IN

So following the magistrate's suggestion, the police prosecutor and I got together for the usual argyg bargy of horse ... I mean fact-trading, and agreed to a few word redactions so the police statements could be submitted as evidence without requiring the police to take the stand ...

... I'm all heart!!!

Although I can't help but think why is there always an emphasis on me, the defendant, to be reasonable and not waste important people's (aka police) time?

I mean, I do actually get that and I appreciate that having three South Australian Police (SAPOL) officers twiddling their thumbs in court for a whole morning is a pretty dumb way for a state and its voting publice to use valuable law-enforcement resources ... but why's that my responsibility?

But remembering some wise words uttered by some wise law lecturer back in the day ... 'pick a better battle'... I did, 'woman-ed up' and got on with explaining how the prosecution had to negative the elements of my self-defence case (reasonable belief, proportionate response and immediacy of danger), that the current bicycle helmet law is not backed up by evidence, and that the only 'evidence' (hahaha) bandied around to support the maintenance of mandatory helmet compulsion is that put out by the University of New South Wales, strongly disputed by other academics both nationally and internationally and should never have been enacted into law, and why I believed that my matter was a strict liability one rather than an absolute liability one (although I'm firmly of the opinion that even an absolute liability matter ought to have 'wriggle-room' for self-defence and/or necessity) ...



... and that regulation 256 was invalid anyway ... sigh

I went over all the diffuse axonal injury, climate change, and our carbon footprint stuff and that we're living in a country with a Prime Minister who believes that coal is good for humanity, and that Tuvalu is sinking, and that as an older woman I'm oppressed by this law of oppression and privilege, and that cycling has been marginalised by the sport of cycling, and that instead of telling me off all the time, the community should be saying to me:

"Well done you - you're setting a marvellous example,"

... and that in The Netherlands my behaviour would be considered absolutely normal, and that anyway there were no powers in the Road Traffic Act right now to permit regulation 256.

And I 'plaintively' asked what was the point of prosecuting someone like me who, until Australian police spotted my conscientious-objection behaviour to this 'no-evidence-based-law,' had never really featured on their 'radar' before.

It's all so incredibly exhausting, and so self-defeating for me and our nation ... and in my opinion helmet law has exponentially nutured a hatred for cyclists whether we're helmeted or not ... I mean just check out 'Duncan' if you want any further illustration for that 'out-there' premise.



So what you may ask was the outcome of my trial in Adelaide?

Well, the magistrate decided to reserve her judgment for two months ... until Monday 26th October!

Meanwhile I have another date now for the other 'August trial date' that I had to 'vacate' because of BN2's admission as a lawyer to the Supreme Court to New South Wales!!!!



... Friday 23rd October in the Scone Local Court!

... effectively 'bookending' an engagement party in Sydney for that beautiful child of ours above.

Ahhhh - such is life in Australia.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Adelaide not Milano - such a trial


Unlike all these photos taken in Milan, I'm in Adelaide ...


... for a trial, later on today ...


... a trial for the wicked crime of riding a bicycle without a helmet


... because you see riding a bicycle without a helmet is forbidden in Australia


But maybe later on today, it won't be ...

BAHAHAHAHA ... oh ever the eternal optimist ... wish me luck, guys!

Sigh