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!


  1. Well done Sue! Keep chipping away and at some point someone in a high place with some sense will notice.

  2. Bit of a groundhog day. I greatly admire the stand you take, and look forward to your defence of self defence next month, and how that is received.

    1. Thanks, Alan, it will be interesting to see how it goes - you can be sure I'll keep you posted!!!

  3. Hi Sue! I just loved this story from Amsterdam Cycle Chic about "Ed, coolest Opa ever". Three generations of cyclists, clever craftsmanship, and not a bluidy helmet in sight!

    1. Absolutely beautiful, Lagatta! - utterly inspiring, thank you so much for posting the link...

      ...great stuff!