...& in view of its sentiments it ought no longer be tenable that we complacently listen to sotto vocce comments from an ever-growning number of pliticians who think bicycle helmet laws should be revoked:
- let's call them on it
- let's demand they put their money where there mouth is
...because, dear ladies & gentlemen, if you can only be on or off the proverbial bus that means there are only 2 options...
...therefore, dear Honourables, pick one, & only one, & cease whispering meaninglessness 'sweet nothings' which basically just amount to 'pollie-wash'!
* why, in the UNSW 2009 study that underwrites the government's case for mandatory helmet laws, was the welfare of the RTA crash dummy of highter importance than the possible results of the helmet efficacy testing experiment?
* & why were the parameters of testing helmets in that experiment manipulated to protect the aforementioned borrowed crash dummy?
* why were R-jays (helmets) used for experimenting purposes instead of the mandatory cycling soft-shell helmets?
* & why were helmets tested at such low speeds?
We don't actually need answers to these farcical questions...we know them.
* why should our cycling behaviour be subjected to this flawed study?
(Photos: Richard Abbott, Scone, & Georgie Abbott, Camperdown)
"Done & dusted"
Punk Commute!!! - an amazing counter culture cycle ride from Town Hall in George Street to Parliament House, Macquarie, conducted in the spirit of our reponsibility to participate in our democracy...
...here's what we did...
- we 'Punk Commuted'
- we assembled on steps of Town Hall
- we negotiated with police (2 patrol cars & 2 bicycles)
- we protested about bicycle helmet laws
- we cycled with police escort from Town Hall to Parliament House
- we met The Hon. John Ajaka, MLC who undertook to contact me in the next couple of weeks
- we submitted a 'child-like project' (given that they treat us like children in this 'Nanny-State' of ours) in which we advised them to no longer confuse the courts or tie up police time.
- we celebrated at the Beresford, near Taylor Square
We had speeches on the Town Hall steps delivered by Mike Rubbo (documentary & film maker), Professor Chris Rissell (professor of Public Health at University of Sydney), Alan Todd (cycling campaigner from rural Victoria, and yours truly; we had traffic stopped for us; we were ushered through red lights; we turned at 'no right' turns; we were given the Sydney streets!!!
We loved it and it went straight to our 'unfettered' heads as we 'megaphoned' & 'chanted' our way through the CBD of Sydney..."our democracy, our rules"
No-one was booked; no-one was arrested; no-one fell off their bikes; we just relished the moment of protest and participation.
Punk Commute should go national - there has to be more!?!?!
Punk Commute is a rebellious counterculture cycle ride undertaken in a bid to exercise our responsibility to participate in the running of our democracy.
Sadly in Australia, this is counter culture.
Notwithstanding, Punk Commuters have not forgotten that our right to petition for a redress of a grievance is underpinned by attendant responsibilities to actively participate & that everything done by our representatives, in our various Parliaments, is done in our name.
Consequently, it is essential that all of us in Australia (Punk Commuters et al) remain constantly vigilant so that we are capable of detecting when our civil liberties are at risk of being removed and / or deleted.
Given that doctors and academics continue to argue amongst themselves about the actual benefits of bicycle helmets, why are we still forced to wear them and why are we enforced to wear them with increasing displays of aggression?
Disturbing tales emanating out of Victoria are revealing police patrol cars in 'flashing-lights-&-sirens' mode pursuing cycling-parents & babies because the cycling-parent has been spotted sans helmet.
$$ Why is the criminal justice system employed for blatant bullying purposes?
No-one has provided Class-one evidence to either substantiate the protection claim of bicycle helmets or to catergorically prove that helmets are actually fit for purpose and free from defects.
The current AS/NZ2063 standard is limited in what it tests for, but the Australian public is unaware of this and therefore are mislead or deceived into thinking that bicycle helmets will provide them and/or their families with comprehensive protection.
Meanwhile back at the 'Ranch', our elected representatives are well aware that the helmet protection claim is flimsy but are terrified of revoking the law and being the first batch of politicians to have un-helmeted cyclists die on their watch...
...but my dear elected Honourables, cyclists are dying now with helmets on and you take it in your stride admirably - do not let the "Spectre of Doom & Gloom Spin" from the usual suspects deter you from revoking our unfounded, ridiculously flawed and contradictory legislation.
Revoke helmet laws today!
...& a little addendum: I can't believe the lack of 'sitting' that happens in our Parliament - out of 365 days in 2011 our Honourables will only be sitting for 60 of them - I want their job!!!
Encased with sorrowful regretful tones, the PAs for the Premier (the Hon. Barry O'Farrell) and the Minister for Transport (the Hon. Gladys Berejiklian) have sweetly left phone messages on my phone to say they cannot attend our pending "Punk Commute" - sigh!
Notwithstanding, the message from the Premier expressly conveyed his warmest regards, plus his very best wishes for the ride and my endeavours!!!!!
Given that he is so part of my 'endeavours', maybe it means he's going to be really amenable and agree to revoking mandatory bicycle helmet law!!!...
...in fact the more I re-listen to the message the more I am beside myself with excitement - so warm & friendly...
...I've tried calling back to leave a 'warm & friendly' message too but it's just been ringing out so I haven't been able to...
...no worries though - I'll keep trying.
Other 'pollie' news - polite letter from Minister for Roads (the Hon. Duncan Gay) - apparently all the material I raised in my "Punk Commute" postcard is being considered - lovely! - can't wait to hear the final outcome of his considerations.
...& that just leaves my own local honey who hasn't got back to me yet but I'm confident he will - I think he's somewhat preoccupied with 'MattersRacing&Gambling' - poor darling...
...'roads' and 'transport' must seem like a piece of cake!!!!
Stopped by bicycle police on Pyrmont Bridge this week sans helmet, and more disappointingly, sans camera - what a missed opportunity to capture fabulous 'Mad Max-y' Aussie police bike gear - shame!
Notwithstanding, had an interesting discourse with the 2 young chaps touching upon 'usual suspects' of the helmet debate ie:
* my 'conscientious objector status'
* no Class-One evidence proving actual protection
* extensive studies & squabbling academics
* my frequent court sojourns on this matter, with further 'Court Attendance Notice' pending
* nowhere else in world (sauf NZ) burdened with our helmet regulation
* blah! blah! blah!...you know the rest...
...but the Pièce de Résistance' of bridge moment (bear with me!!!!) was when they asked me how often I fall off my bicycle (??????????) and I answered that I never fall off because cycling is not exactly difficult plus I'm very experienced given that I've been riding a bicycle for at least 46 years.
...(best bit is now!)...they said to me that couldn't possibly be true because I couldn't be 46 let alone have cycled for 46 years...
...(LOVE! LOVE! LOVE! THOSE 2 BICYCLE POLICEMEN!!!)...
...and when I mentioned I was 51, they said no way, that I didn't even look 30 (yes! yes! I know it was dark but who cares - a compliment's a compliment!!!!)...
...for a brief moment I was speechless, but quickly recovered myself to say that I was old enough to be their mother and looked how I looked because I cycled everywhere untrammelled by dangerous & restrictive helmets!!!!
Must admit it was a struggle to introduce seriousness back into the conversation but upon being asked why I thought helmet laws had been introduced in the first place I was able to rejoinder for purely commercial & merchandising purposes. To illustrate my hypotheses I drew their attention to their own particular bicycle gear that wasn't just specialised for their mode of transport but for their job as well:
"Take for example your gloves," I expansively declared, "not only have they chopped off the fingers at great expense but they've had to stitch the words 'police' on the much reduced fabric space; & then there are your shorts and your tops and even your helmets, all with extra stitching and labelling - it has cost a packet to get you decked out for your evening cycle ride whereas the way I'm dressed right now hasn't cost me a cycling cent!"
Well, a sweet friendly bicycle-police 'warning' was issued with a further 'warning' that should by chance we meet again, an infringement notice would surely follow.
I can only hope we meet again! - it's not every day you hear such gallantry!!!!...
...& sure beats the 'f' word, the 'c' word and even the 'w' word (the 'w' word being 'wombat', inexplicably a favourite Aussie insult) all issued to me this week by passing motorists!!!