Tuesday, April 12, 2011

"Bicycle helmet laws must go" - email (soon-to-be-letter) for The Hon. George Souris MP

(Photos: April 2010, The Hon. George Souris and me, at our last meeting in Macquarie Street, Sydney, NSW)

Content of yesterday's email correspondence to my local member:

Dear George,

First, congratulations on the coalition’s election to government, and in particular, your ministerial appointment – thank goodness Sussex Street has been decimated.

As soon as you can fit me in, I would like to meet with you to discuss the NSW Bicycle Helmet Regulation - please.

I received another infringement notice in March for the crime of riding a bicycle without wearing a bicycle helmet. This will mean another court appearance for me, in the not too distant future, to defend my identified criminal behaviour. Naturally, I will raise the defence of necessity again which interestingly now seems to be gaining more traction as a defence for environmental offences as they occur around the globe. The UK courts and even some of the US courts have been quite sympathetic in considering the environmental issues raised before them.

As you would be aware from your readings of the material submitted to the Vulnerable Road Users Committee, access to climate change law was an approach I took in my court appearances in 2009 & 2010. Whilst somewhat at the ‘vanguard’ of climate change law, in my District Court Appeal Judge Ellis was sympathetic to me too. As each month passes and more catastrophic climate aberrations occur, it is possible that more Australian courts will join other Common Law countries in their support for the defence of climate change necessity. Until such time or without your assistance, my curial sojourns appear to extend into the horizon as an endless ‘merry-go-round’ of wasted resources and time.

Given that bicycle helmet studies over the last 20 years have still not reached a definitive conclusion of the merits of bicycle helmets, the bicycle helmet issue ought to be decommissioned as the political tool that it is, and remitted to one of personal choice. There is far more evidence to support mandatory legislation of childhood vaccinations than for compulsory bicycle helmet wearing yet the fear of litigation will always preclude governments from going down the mandatory vaccination path.

For 20 years NSW taxpayers have endlessly funded millions of dollars to endless academics to conduct interminable studies. No Class One evidence has ever been provided, and probably never will be because of university and/or hospital ethics committees involved in the collection of data. Anecdotal Evidence was the only content to the ‘Pitch’, and was specifically cultivated to clinch the ‘deal’ in 1991. To this day, it is still only anecdotal evidence that underpins current policy and the restrictive regulation.

George, more than anything I am hoping that you will see fit to propose a revocation of Regulation 256, NSW Road Rules, either in the course of Coalition legislative ‘housekeeping,’ or failing that, as a private member’s bill in your capacity as my democratically elected representative in Macquarie Street.

I really look forward to hearing from you, and would be more than happy to provide you with any more papers, studies, letters, transcripts, judgments that you might find useful.

Kind regards,


...fingers crossed I hear really soon!!!...

...& thoughts please...

* Should I go by myself?


* As part of a delegation?

* What to do?

...suggestions welcome!


  1. If I'm in the country, Sue, I'll come along!! :)

  2. Thank you, Paul! You would be ideal!!!! Fingers crossed you are!

  3. Good stuff! There's a typo (199) which I assume should be 1991 or there abouts?

    What political shade is the MP in question? I'm finding that the climate change issue is quite loaded, so prefer to focus on peak oil, health, traffic congestion etc. as benefits of more people cycling more often.

  4. Oh Sue, you are fighting the good fight and I do so thank you for continuing in your quest against this abhorrent law.

    I would get every cyclist you know out from under a rock and get them to cycle there lid-free on Court Day. I can't believe you have to go to Court. Again.

    Chin up and keep fighting!

  5. Thank you, guys, for your wonderful support...

    ...& Tim, for your proof-reading skills - just in time for letter! - yes it should read '1991' - thanks!

  6. If Paul Martin is able to go with you, that would be good. Chris Rissell maybe? Its probably easier with two or three of you, as long as you don't overwhelm the poor bloke. You are a very credible advocate yourself, but its always good to have a "doctor" along.
    You might suggest that Sydney starts a helmet free bike share, which would show up Melbourne and Brisbane for the provincial backwaters they are (nothing wrong with playing the premier state card).
    Good luck

  7. I agree with Alan. Best with just 2 or 3 of you.

    BTW: you probably know about this but there is a good post on War on the Motorist about this:

  8. Thanks, Alan & Edward, your advice is sound therefore I will wait until Paul returns from OS - his evidence-based position will make a refreshing departure from the belief system mantra that is normally trotted out to politicians!

    ...also, Edward, thanks for the link - very interesting

  9. Thanks for sharing this information. Knowledge is power.