Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Australia wilfully hates bicycle users without helmets

(Window shopping in Tokyo where the bicycle is never far away)

And so another week arrives and with it bringing another court case.

Come this Wednesday, I will be back at the Downing Centre, Sydney for my Defended Hearing, but this time on the Local Court level of the building because this matter is a brand new one again - the Pyrmont Bridge one rather than the Harbour Bridge one which you may recall was finalised last week on appeal - in fact the bill for that one is right below... sigh:

With regards to that account above, I really resent paying the Victims Support Levy when (a) there is no victim and (b) riding a bicycle without a bicycle helmet ought to be a health matter rather than a criminal one - what a country, hey?

But what to do?

The courts won't listen, the politicians won't listen, the media won't listen - and will any of them ever?

Having run a very successful fear campaign throughout the 1980s, the helmet standards industry were able to reel in Australian governments one by one as these governments greedily gobbled up the helmet bait holus bolus ... "Come in spinner"!

Ever since then, the standards industry have been chortling all the way to the bank confident in the knowledge that the various Australian state legislatives will never revoke the regulation because they are being paid off by them (the standards industry); that the various Australian state executives won't agitate for revocation either because they are terrified of any adverse political fallout they imagine could eventuate should someone die on their watch in an Australia without helmet law; and that the various Australian state judiciaries quite often forget about the separation of powers, and anyway quite like political directions and even more anyway think it's a no brainer and that helmets make you safe ... so there.

Meanwhile in Meeja-land, their finely honed ignorance on 'matters bicycle' has left Australia floundering in bicycle and transport wilderness.

You don't have to read too many bicycle & helmet law articles by Aussie journos to work out pretty quickly that they have no idea what they are talking about, and that they are pretty timid about the whole exercise of taking a bike out onto the road, and would much rather drive their bikes somewhere secluded for a little ride round in circles - in specially designed clobber aka (well almost) Hans Christian Andersen's emperor's new clothes.

And of course, in addition, all of the above has been underpinned by quasi science.

For the twenty years plus that we've had helmet law, we have been plagued by academic rent-seeking and funding inbalances as profs and a/profs (and doctors too - weird) have striven to obtain interminable academic rent (paid for by Australian tax payers) by manipulating the social and political environment of using a bicycle with mandatory helmet law in Australia rather than by building on the bicycle-use that we did have without helmet law in this country more than two decades ago.

Shame on them all and a pox on all their houses and all their universities and some of their hospitals (which lately have been conducting research paid for by car companies)

... you all know who you are.


  1. Sue, because you're helping us all by raising these issues, could you open a PayPal account or similar, so we can donate a small amount each to your costs? I'd be more than happy to help out with a small donation.

    1. Fonant, that is so sweet and I must admit I'm sorely tempted!!!! xx

    2. I have a PayPal account too ... hmmmn ... it's a thought!

  2. I understood they removed the victim's support levy a couple of years ago, for helmet crime. Why has it been re - instated ?

    1. Kathy, yes it was for section 10(1)(a) dismissals (September 2011ish) although not before I got my last one in July 2011 when I then refused to pay it (remember the saga?).

      But for matters where you get a full blown criminal conviction (aka me right now after losing my appeal last week) you're automatically issued with a victims support fund cost in a NSW court whether there was a victim or not.

      It sucks.

      We live in a mighty mad country - one that demonises my type of cycling, one that fucks up my traffic record by inserting crimes and appeal date records for incorrectly inserted crimes, and one that refuses to recognise that aforementioned fuck-ups may well prejudice courts when I stand before them arguing my case for not wearing a bicycle helmet ...

      ... sigh

  3. Very, very well said. Your fight is an inspiration to me, as it has been for several years. Take care and kindest regards.

    1. Thank you, Jim, it's yours and everyone's support that keeps me motivated to continue - but boy!! ... it's a long winded battle Down Under - Australians REALLY hate people on bicycles!!!

  4. I swear, if I win the lottery tonight, I am going to set up a fund that will pay all helmet crime fines in Oz!

  5. Some Sydney people are getting together to talk about setting up a helmet fine support fund. It was discussed on helmetless riders, Sydney Cyclist.

    "Meeting on Wednesday 19:30 at the Rose in Chippendale to share our thoughts on the possibility of a HFF. All those interested are welcome!"

    This might interest some people. HFF is Helmet Fine Fund.

    1. Sounds really interesting, Kathy!

      The fine I don't want to pay the most is the Victims Support levy - such a kick in the guts that one - there is no victim in this crime ... in fact it could be argued that I'm the victim!

      Anyhoo, sadly I'm in Newcastle tomorrow evening - heading up after my court case to catch with a buddy of mine and one of my beautiful sons.

      But I think the HFF is a good concept!!