Friday, May 20, 2011

"Our democracy, our rules - NOW!"

(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...'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!?!?!


  1. Well done, Sue - and everyone that attended. Good to see a range of bikes and some familiar faces, particularly Kathy & Alan - excellent! :)

    I'll be there for the next one. We're currently in Utrecht and have been given a presentation by the and one of the things he stated which discourages cycling - early on in his talk - was the requirement to wear helmets. This is particularly critical for young cyclists because that's when you lose them... when you force them to wear a foam dome... interesting.

    I was filming some bicycle police doing some obstacle course training and they yelled out - "Smile everyone, we're going to be on YouTube!" - and they waved.

    I wish I could have such a lovely relationship with my local bicycle police in Brisbane but as I choose to ride without a helmet, they persecute me... pity.

  2. well done again Sue, what a great day for you all. Really looking forward to when this goes national as I am sure it will not be long!.

  3. Fantastic stuff Sue and Punk Commuters. Looks like you made a point and had fun at the same time :)

  4. It looks like a very successful day and I'm looking forward to one in Canberra, where we can remind australians that it was introduced as a piece of poorly thought out Federal blackmail and forces the law to serve very very very bad policy.

  5. Paul, Bex, Matt & Jane - amazing day!!!! - plus weather & police couldn't have been lovelier!!! of Australia, here we come!!!!

  6. Hi Sue - congratultions on what seems like it was a very successful day!! I would love to have been up there! Keep up the good work!

    I'm so happy the Police were good to you - they do have a difficult job and sometimes maybe they follow the laws a little too rigidly but building community links like that is priceless - kudos to those Police members!

  7. Thanks, Jamie, it was a great day and really facilitated by fabulous community policing!!

  8. I really wish the police could worry about far more important things than whether a bicyclist is wearing a helmet or not.

    ...however, I also understand their position if they ignore the behaviour - they're just doing their job.

    Which is why this law must go... decriminalise cycling now.

  9. Thanks Sue , for organising a truly wonderful event. The cameraderie amongst the unhelmetted cyclists was fantastic.

    Riding in a group, escorted by the Police through Central Sydney would have to be one of the high points of my life. I couldn't believe it was happening at the time and thought I might be dreaming. I've actually had dreams like that.

    Coming from Victoria where there is zero tolerance, I was struck by the contrast. Two observations.

    The people of Sydney clearly don't believe any more in the safety benefits of helmets.

    There would not have been so many unhelmetted cyclists ( at least in the locations I visited) if the Police were enforcing the law.

    Having a law that is not obeyed or enforced is not a good look for any Government.

    All the best with your next endeavours.

  10. Kathy, it was brilliant meeting you, and catching up with Alan again!!! - and yes the Sydney Punk Commute was fantastic - so liberating in so many ways!!!

    Melbourne Punk Commute pencilled into the diary!!! - done a new facebook page (I think I caused much confusion attempting to just update the Sydney one - apologies!) - - we'll start filling in the more concrete details as they eventuate - funtimes!!!!!

  11. Props must go to the local Police. What a contrast to the Victorian Police's heavy-handed response to a similar protest in Melbourne last year (

  12. Hi Stephen...yep our Sydney police were amazing!!! - respectful, considerate, extremely helpful and extremely professional - I am particularly glad they were there for the cycling component of the peaceful assembly - it was a great exercise in public relations on their part which in turn facilitated our right to assemble peacefully and have our say!

  13. Sue, we are watching your campaign with interest and admiration and cannot but feel that eventually it will impact over here. Congratulations on the recent punk ride.

    We do have a loose anti-helmet group over here in New Zealand, cycling health, but members are too widely dispersed to mount an effort such as yours. In addition to the bulk of the group spread throughout this country, we have members in the UK, Holland and Australia (including Bill Curnow).

    Many of us do have exemptions, but know of many would-be cyclists who are deterred by the requirement to wear a helmet, indeed many older lifetime cyclists quit in 1994.

    All good wishes...

    Bill Wright

  14. A million thanks, Bill! - & great to hear from you!

    We live in a couple of daft countries don't we with our ridiculous draconian mandatory bicycle helmet laws???? - but I'm confident that soon(ish!) things will change - go us!!!!!

  15. The only thing that really prevent people from wearing helmets is not common sense, it's vanity...

  16. Good morning, anonymous, lovely to hear from you!

    It is extremely interesting to read your definitive opinion regarding helmet behaviour. Notwithstanding there are many other informed opinions in the 'equation' too and of course this adds to the dilemma our legislative has found itself in juxtaposing them all with options for the Australian community.

    Needless to mention, the sentiment of your opinion has clearly informed apparent government doggedness in the maintenance of our out-dated cycling status quo. Excitingly though, it now appears that many of note in government departments are considering other people's opinions apart from your rather predictable one - this is encouraging for the Australian community.

    Of course 'hair' (the medium I think you are alluding to with your 'vanity' remark) is not always an issue of vanity, and may well be an issue of deeply-held convictions that some governments are prepared to respect. This particular 'notion' has been somewhat addressed in the South Australian Consolidated Regulations: ROAD TRAFFIC (ROAD RULES--ANCILLARY AND MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS) REGULATIONS 1999 whereby REG 26 provides that 'Sikhs are exempt from wearing bicycle helmets'.

    Once again, anonymous, thanks for contributing to the blog.

  17. Thats one seriously weird and confused t-shirt design, the wearers should be quoting the helmet regulations.

    Good Lord, I never realised Cycling Sport Victoria, who recently changed their name to Cycling Victoria, were actually persecuting cyclists. CV are the Victorian competitive cycling organisation for road cyclists in Victoria.

  18. Dear Anon,

    Whatever your thoughts on displayed t-shirt designs, we can probably agree that so-called bicycling advocacy groups in Australia do zero bicycling advocacy for the complete community of people who use bicycles.

    Yes they do it for a certain demographic, but a very unrepresentative one.

    Thanks for dropping by - lovely to read your thoughts.

    Kind regards,

  19. It 'very interesting to read the definitive opinion on the behavior of the helmet. Despite the data, there are many other opinions, "the equation," too, and, of course, this will increase the dilemma of our legislation has moved in parallel to all the options for the Australian community.