Sunday, July 25, 2010

Mike Rubbo & the Coup de Bixi

(Photos: Paul Martin)

Cycling news out of Melbourne for the past few days has been so exciting, and has simultaneously enlivened the debate on helmet laws!!

With the much anticipated arrival of Mikael Colville-Andersen (bicycle advocate & blogger) as a feature event for utility cyclists , our very own Mike Rubbo organised a fearless 'bicycle protest' on the bikes themselves from Melbourne's bike share program.

At last, here was the 'public drama' the helmet debate has been crying out for!

There were 'heaps of television cameras & journalists', and of course 'heaps of bicycle-cops' backed up by 'heaps of car-cops'! In fact 'witness-reports' state that the 'bicycle-ones', clad in classic Australian bicycle regalia, were 'lying in wait a full hour' before bicycle protesters commenced the '10am' pedal-off!!


...but for a better more detailed account, let's now cross to 'our man on the ground', Dr Paul Martin, who filed this report yesterday:


"I did not require Her Majesty's accommodation this evening. Phew!

A lot of great support at the bicycle forum at Federation Square in the afternoon. The feeling in the forum after Mikael spoke was electric. 99% of the audience thought that the mandatory law should go. The panel of 'experts' all were talking nonsense...

$$ Australians value life...(therefore helmets are important);

$$ Have to take all stakeholders into consideration with road funding.

The next person that says the word stakeholder I think I'll thump! I hate that word. She meant 'car drivers'....

Mikael was being very careful what he said - his hosts were breathing down his neck and the Danish embassy was there keeping an eye on what he was saying I think. He still did point out that:

1) the law is counterproductive and not a good idea, and

2) fining cyclists is only going to discourage them.

Veronika and I handed out hundreds of your postcards and I put them on every bike hire bike we could find. When we came back out of the talk most of the postcards in the bike hire bikes had been removed (but were not lying around) and none of the bikes budged... We also put a big pile of the postcards on the table inside the venue for the speeches - they were gone in about 10 minutes!"





We're really happening!!!!

The helmet debate is well & truly on the map!!

Well done Mike Rubbo & all the protesters - you little rippers!!!!!!


  1. Of course why did they need all those Coppers,Tonnes on Bikes more Tonnes in Cars. Cyclists are a Gentle Crowd of People who just want to Gad about on their Bicycles they are not going to attack the Government. What were the Politico's afraid of.

    On the other hand was the Government going to use the Police to attack the Cyclists forcing them to put on Plastic Hats or else get a Bang of a Baton on their unprotected Heads.There I told you so are you not better with a Helmet on your Head, Cycling is dangerous

    I am sure these Police People should have been used elsewhere to stop Dangerous Motorists Speeding on the Road and also stopping Crime instead of Hounding Cyclists. Good Luck with your Campaign, Dublin Ireland.

  2. Keep up the fight for freedom of choice you aussie battlers, Great stuff. If I were a millionare I would offer to pay everybodies fines in NZ and Aus similar to the muslim womens headscalf debate in France. Know any rich people who want to make history?

    Tom Auckland

  3. Hi Sue, I blogged about Mike's "Coup de Bixi" today, and you got a big fat plug too. Anything we can all do to help get the debate about mandatory helmet laws out there. Fight the good fight and all that...!


  4. L'homme au velo & Tom! thanks for your support as always! - so exciting to see it all getting really stirred up here!!!

    Mark, thanks for your amazing post - I read it last night but for some reason couldn't leave a comment - my computer wasn't reading the word verfication box!!!! baffling! - but the post was brilliant!

    Today I am writing my last letter to the minister...and then I have some different plans up my sleeve to get in touch with him!!!!!(?)

  5. Thanks for the post, Sue.

    I look forward to Mike's post, hopefully with some video of the event, in coming days.

    If the helmet legislation hasn't been repealed by the time Brisbane's Bike Hire Scheme is failing we should do another (bigger) one up here! I'd like to see ALL the bikes hired out at once and then at a given moment in time see them all congregate and then roll on as a group.

    The Brisbane CityCycle has been getting some bad press (if you can call the Sunday Mail 'press') recently. What is wrong with people. I left a comment; I hope they post it.

    Paul Martin
    Brisbane, Australia

  6. Link to the 'bad press':

    (not sure why my 'a' tag didn't work in the original post...)

  7. Lambs to the (media) slaughter?Sadly, the commercial TV media edited the story down to about 20 seconds in order to make the protesters look like a bunch of nutty eccentrics. The look on Jennifer Keyte's face said it all. This was just a wacky story to be tacked onto the end of the 6pm news bulletin. I believe the debate should have been limited to the print media where a rational and complete argument could have been made.

    Perversely, I reckon we need the Melbourne bike share scheme to fail in order to bring our ridiculous helmet laws to light.


  8. Interesting angle, slow rpm, thanks for your comment - maybe you're right

  9. Thanks SS Helmet! I sometimes think we are bashing our collective helmetless heads against a wall on this issue. On a brighter note, my co-pilot and I took our helmeted heads on a cycle along the north bank of the Yarra yesterday and discovered a whole new side of the city we hadn't discovered before. To cap off a wonderful day, my boss called on the way home to tell me he had been underpaying me for the last 2 years~oh joy.cheers,Ian