Thursday, August 29, 2013

Motorbike police + Pyrmont Bridge + me = YetAnotherHelmetTicket

(Photos: brand new 'Moo card' for interested parties)

Yesterday four Sydney motorbike police (dressed in rather fetching 'Mad Max' uniforms, I must say) staked-out the four traffic lights leading onto Pyrmont Bridge.

After completing a right hand turn to enter aforementioned bridge, the David-Tenant-looking-one pulled me over.

First up he wanted to know where my helmet was, so I told him I didn't believe in them, slightly qualifying that position by saying it was the law I wasn't partial to.


"Yes," I continued, "I believe they're bad for my health and yours too!"

"What? Why?"

So taking a big deep breath I explained to him that bicycle helmet legislation had in effect crippled our nation by single-handedly stifling cycling which in turn had been catastrophic for Australia's public health.

Now on a roll I continued that as such I had become a bicycle activist campaigning almost daily on the perils of such ill-considered laws. Simultaneously (and rather sweetly I thought) I absolved him from his Australian police action of apprehending me as I innocently went about my Australian daily life...

"I understand it's your job."

That sort of prodded him to remark that other folk could object to stopping at red lights or not being allowed to text and drive, and in his opinion the law was the law and ought to be upheld. I acknowledged that the veracity of his sentiments would certainly be popular in certain circles but pointed out the crimes he had mentioned were not analogous to the matter at hand because those crimes killed people whilst riding a bicycle without a helmet didn't.

Unsurprisingly he requested to see my ID, and I had to explain that I was in the 'wrong hand-bag today' and didn't have my passport.

"You've got permanent residency right?"

"I," I told him, "am a citizen of Australia...but tend to carry my passport around because I'm minus a driver's licence...however I have a Moo Card if you like," which I gave him.

He took it with interest still muttering that laws are laws prompting me to remind him that as a citizen of Australia I had a right to petition for a redress of a grievance and as far as I was concerned bicycle helmet laws fulfilled grievance parameters.

“Does this mean I’m going to have to go to court with you?” he asked.

Oh yes, and then in answer to his further questioning on how I had gone in previous court appearances, I mentioned that I had received fines, court costs, section 10(1)(a)s and even a criminal conviction.

“You know you can only get one section 10(1)(a).”

“That’s what everyone told me before...but I’ve got two already.”

By now the whole saga seemed to pique his interest so much so that as he handed me the NSW Police Force Penalty notice, he said that he thought he understood me and was rather looking forward to seeing me in court!

Hmm that’s usually my parting line I thought to myself as I cycled off!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Sydney Airport Duty Free Scam

So BN1 headed back to Canada this morning, bought gin for his GF, and promptly had it confiscated as he 'transited' in Auckland.

Now Sydney Airport would have known his intended itinerary because of their obsessive need to see a boarding pass in conjunction with any duty free purchase.

Why didn't they mention the foreseeable confiscation to him?

How can the ACCC be happy with such practice?

Or is the airport absolved from Australian Consumer Law responsiblities as well as ATO ones.

Seems very anti-consumer to fact downright fact quite a racket

Shame on you, Sydney Airport

Drag racing on Missenden Road - car v bicycle

(Images: google maps screen capture of Missenden Road and Campbell Street, Newtown)

I'm totally gobsmacked by this afternoon's dickhead driving episode.

So here's what happened...I was cycling along Missenden Road this arvo, indicating that I was about to turn right into Campbell Street (pretty much in the position of the white car in image above) when unbelievably BLI 86X hooned up from behind on the wrong side of Missenden Road, came alongside me still on the wrong side of Missenden Road and took the right hand turn into Campbell Street before I did - yes, still on the wrong side of Missenden Road... the quest to beat me to that right hand turn, BLI 86X was prepared to, and did, cross the zebra crossing from that wrong side of the road...

...what a frigging loser

Anyhoo armed with number plate details, I dropped into Newtown Police Station but they informed me very sweetly that unless they (the police) witness such an event the event is basically a non-event.

'No worries,' I said 'I understand.'

I do, I really do - if you're on a bicycle in Australia, you count for fucking nought.

OMFG...way way too close today

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Side effects of bicycle helmet law are poorly reported

(Photos: latest yummy gateaux I've eaten)

There is more substance in the above birthday cake than there is in bicycle helmet law which instead is comprised of a high proportion of spin and bias, showing no real benefit of improved safety to cyclists.

Preposterously compulsory helmet requirements focus on less important outcomes in order to mask actual road safety statistics so as to make them look better than they are, and over and over again we note bias in the way adverse effects of helmet laws are reported.

You have to wonder whether there isn't some subtle pressure on academics at UNSW to publish studies that will be noticed rather than record the 'here & now' reality of cycling safety in Australia...

So let me state it for you on behalf of 'bottomless-cup' publicly funded academics :

$$$ cycling safety in Australia is a load of old rubbish,

$$$ helmet laws are a load of old rubbish, and

$$$ the ACCC should step in now and declare, 'enough is enough: helmets and their mandatory compulsion are not fit for purpose - we're recalling the regulations effective immediately.'

...sigh if only!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Thoughts from a bicycle activist

Armed with new 'media' skills, I've tried my hand at soundslides!!!!

- somewhat weirdly though there's too much blackness in the border at the bottom of the slide show - I think it's something to do with firefox - maybe I missed that lecture?! - maybe you're actually not seeing it!

- oh dear, so much to learn...

Anyhoo, it's been hours of life and hours of fun - and...I can only get better

Thursday, August 8, 2013

The silliness of helmet laws

No helmet necessary for ridge-running




...or clambering through drift wood


...mosey on down to local cafe get latest on 'Fonterra' or whatever...sigh

...and you'll find New Zealand is just as stupid as Australia

Sunday, August 4, 2013

One set of stats, 2 different readings

(Images: screen captures from ACCC Regulation Impact Statement 2009)

Just for the record again on page 4:

"Nearly one third of all male cyclists...killed in road crashes were not wearing a helmet. Similarly, nearly one third of all female cyclists...killed in road crashes were not wearing a helmet."

This means according to these excitable statistics that:


Why are the stats never reported this way round? - it's pretty obvious that they're shouting out 'not wearing a helmet' is a much safer option!

So to all Australian politicians, answer me this:

Why do you let us:

$$$ smoke,

$$$ overeat,

$$$ consume alcohol, and even

$$$ not vaccinate our children ...yet insist that we ride bicycles with helmets on?

They're utterly senseless and we want you to:

$$$ repeal mandatory helmet laws ASAP, and

$$$ tell all helmet-promoters looking to make a quick buck outside the military & oil industries, that the sweaty little helmet laws included in their sweaty little marketing package no longer can apply

Do something we can be proud of just for it soon

Enough is enough

Friday, August 2, 2013

It is reasonable for me not to attend breast cancer screening with mammography

(Image: BreastScreen New South Wales bumpf)

Dear BreastScreen New South Wales & NSW Electoral Roll,

Ever since I have turned 50, I have been bombarded (thanks a lot, NSW Electoral Roll, for allowing access to my data!) with advice to get myself down to your nearest mobile mammogram van for screening purposes - and resolutely I have refused.

No, no, no, and I've been saying this for over 3 years now.

Of course as is customary in Australia, my wishes have been completely ignored due to an expectation that I will comply with your jolly summons. However as is customary with me, I invoke my right to express my informed refusal and therefore I continue to decline your services.

I have both ignored you and written to you in an attempt to unsubscribe from your mailing list but to no avail. I am still getting your spam - endless reminders and invitations, even missives of concern inquiring whether I didn't receive your last one or perhaps overlooked your first letter way back in the day when I toasted my arrival into my 6th decade!

No I haven't been 'overlooking' and I don't need 'reminding' - I just don't want your mail or mammogram period

Moreover I feel quite reassured that my current position of refusal is informed when I read Dr Peter G√łtzsche's reflections especially where he says, "it is getting more and more difficult to argue that it is reasonable to attend for breast screening."

There we have it - so please please please...desist telling me that it only takes a short time and may save my life, I TRULY DON'T WANT TO BE COMMUNICATED WITH...OR SCREENED.

Kind regards,
Sue Abbott

Thursday, August 1, 2013

'The Conversation' dribbles with excitement at thought of MHLs in UK

(Images: Amsterdamize, Flickr "PS 'helmut' is not a typo, but slang for plastic placebo")

La la la - fingers in eyes, not reading...

...seriously, Britain, don't read The Conversation and don't listen to the latest roll-over by the BMA!

Surely the entire membership base of UK doctors hasn't done a complete turn about too on their prior admirable position?!

I feel I should send a word of warning...

Word of warning; remember that we, Australians, have been the guinea-pigs in an in-depth global observational case study and as such no-one in the world can fail but notice what an unmitigated disaster this legislation has been in terms of public health, traffic congestion, the environment, and unnecessary policing.

In all honesty, no community on this planet can afford the huge drain that bicycle helmet laws have on the public purse. We certainly never could and we still cannot.

So, to all UK doctors as you face the siege of helmet promotion, stay strong, be sceptical, say 'NO' to helmet pushers, and a massive 'NO' to the oil lobby, whose interests it's in to see mandatory helmet laws enacted.