Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Velo-City Global 2014 - why Adelaide?

(Photo: BN4, Hello Yes, Adelaide)

Velo-City Global is a first for Australia and started in Adelaide yesterday - but I can't help wondering what were the European Cyclists Federation (ECF) thinking when they gave the go-ahead for this gig Down Under?

To quickly give you the ‘heads-up’ on Velo-City, it is the premier international urban planning cycling conference in the world and it moves to a different city and country every year for each event. Leading global experts in active mobility, sustainable transport, city planning, bicycle industry and advocacy meet en masse and exchange a wide depth of knowledge, experiences and vision.

So why Adelaide?

Approximately 500 delegates have registered for Velo-City Global 2014 less than half the usual delegate number for these meetings, yet according to bumpf and spin, Adelaide is where the future of cycling is to take shape and form ...

... and if that is the case, heaven help us.

I arrived on Sunday and after less than 24 hours in this city of festivals and spires, I'd had two encounters with Adelaide police: first with me reporting a road rage incident after I was tailgated on North Terrace by an angry blue ute driven by some concrete-cowboy, and secondly with me being booked also on North Terrace by police for not wearing a helmet whilst riding a bicycle.

Once again our uniquely Australian dilemma of mandatory helmet laws reveal our nation's true opposition to transportation-cycling ... only this week the world is here on our shores to experience it for themselves.

So while the 3 police interrogated me as to why I was in Adelaide (a potential crime visiting Adelaide?), I flagged with them they could be busy over the next few days with international conference delegates not used to helmet law. The law-enforcing trio had no idea Velo-City Global 2014 was on, and went further expressing amazement that there was even such a thing as a bicycle conference let alone one in Adelaide.

Anyhoo, duly booked and directed never to get back on a bicycle again until I bought myself a helmet (hmmm that’s not going to happen), I couldn't help wondering how our legislative restriction would pan out for conference karma and bicycle love that these conferences are supposed to nuture in each 'Velo-City' city.

Bah ... so much for the much anticipated 'experiences of more than 40 world leading cycling countries' to be represented in this ‘massive celebration of cycling’ that is Velo-City Global Adelaide 2014.

Oh ... and when I shared my Monday’s experiences with a local journalist, he said:

‘Welcome to Adelaide.’

(Art or Australian bike racks?)

Monday, May 26, 2014

Alan Todd & media numpties

When I listen to above audio from last week's radio interview, I despair ...

Will we ever be capable of repealing helmet laws when we have a mainstream media cheerleading for helmet promoters with nary a thought to evidence or rest-of-world-practice ... and that self-identified doctor - the ignorance, the rudeness ...

... sigh

On the plus side though, what a noble and magnanimous campaigner we have in Alan!

A true champion

Velo City Adelaide & Helmet Optional Ride

MEDIA RELEASE: 26 May 2014

Velo-City Global is a first for Australia and starts in Adelaide tomorrow - but it’s the protest ride to be held this Thursday (29th May) that has got many excited.

Facing this uniquely Australian dilemma of mandatory helmet laws, the Melbourne based Freestyle Cyclists have had enough of overstated cycling scaremongering and have organised a Helmet Optional Ride to run alongside the conference as a counter event.

The Helmet Optional Ride organisers think that the largest bicycle conference in the world is the perfect platform to highlight Australia’s debilitating helmet laws. By building on the rest of the world’s familiar tradition of strong cycling credentials, the organisers welcome this opportunity to showcase Australians’ logistical ability to make a choice about riding a bicycle without the necessity of laws dictating one way or the other.

“We do not support the promotion of helmet wearing for everyday cycling,” says Kathy Francis, founding member of Freestyle Cyclists and one of the ride’s organisers. “We categorically oppose laws requiring adults to wear helmets … bicycle helmets present a significant barrier to everyday cycling.”

Unlike the majority of countries in the world, Australia has a mandatory bicycle helmet requirement, and many cycling commentators today are wondering whether this legislative restriction may come as surprise to many of the international delegates arriving for the Velo-City Global 2014 Conference this week. Certainly the Dutch and the Danes will not be expecting helmets or fines as they hop on their conference bikes (always provided for delegates at Velo City conferences).

Yet an interesting ‘word-on-the-street’ has reached the Helmet Optional Ride organisers, informing them that police intend to allow their protest ride to proceed and to escort it too. Furthermore, the organisers have also heard that police do not intend to book conference delegates riding conference bikes without helmets during conference time-frame.

“Cycling must become the easy choice,” says Kathy Francis. “This needs changes to legislation, enforcement and community attitudes, and it needs changes to the way roads are designed.”


Media Contact - for more information, images or interviews please contact:

Alan Todd, Helmet Optional Ride organiser, 0400 502 325, or
Nik Dow, Helmet Optional Ride organiser, 0412 703 483, or

Media Images: contact Alan Todd or Nik Dow

What: Helmet Optional Ride
When: Thursday, 29th May 2014
Where: Adelaide Convention Centre, riverbank
Time: 3.30pm for 4pm start

Further Info: Visit the Freestyle Cyclists website for more information

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

FIT FOR PURPOSE ... not bicycle helmets

Dear NSW Fair Trading people,

In effect by forcing us to wear helmets, you, the NSW government take on the role of a dealer-supplier to the supplier.

Therefore according to the Fair Trading Blurb you (the government-dealer-supplier) must guarantee that helmets will be reasonably fit for any purpose that you (the government-dealer-supplier) told us the helmets would be fit for.

For example we buy a helmet which you (the government-dealer-supplier) says will be suitable for protecting our heads whilst cycling. A couple of weeks later we go for our first cycle wearing the new helmet only to crash and see our head crushed on the road.

We have the right to a remedy from you (the government-dealer-supplier).

Furthermore, we might want bicycle helmets to do specific job or to achieve a specific purpose, different from the normal use of purpose of these helmets.

For example we might tell you (the government-dealer-supplier) that we want a helmet capable of being worn on Melbourne's Hell Ride. You (the government-dealer-supplier) sell us helmets that you (the government-dealer-supplier) say will do that job. The helmet's normal purpose is to pop down to the shops for bread and milk but as we have told you (the government-dealer-supplier) we want to use the helmet to be worn on Melbourne's Hell Ride then the helmet must be able to do so.

Obviously this guarantee does not apply if you (the government-dealer-supplier) can show that:

$$$ we did not rely on your skill or judgment when buying the helmets (but we have too by law)
$$$ under the circumstances, it was unreasonable for the consumer to have relied on your skill or judgment (or lack of it but again we're entrapped by law)

So to recap, you (the government-dealer-supplier) guarantee that bicycle helmets will be reasonably fit for any purpose that you (the government-dealer-supplier) or us specify - basically that bicycle helmets will do the job of protecting us we were told they would do by you (the government-dealer-supplier).

Now for an uncomfortable observation:

... research shows that countries with cyclist-helmet laws have not only fewer cyclists but more cyclist deaths per capita.

(Note our cycling rate is so poor we do not even feature above)

It is not hard to deduce that bicycle helmets are not doing the job of protecting us as we were told by you (the government-dealer-supplier) that they would ...

... which means according to section 55 of the COMPETITION AND CONSUMER ACT 2010 - SCHEDULE 2 (The Australian Consumer Law) bicycle helmets are unfit for purpose, and families of cyclists who sustain head injuries or die whilst cycling wearing a bicycle helmet have it ensrhined in law by consumer guarantees that they can petition for a redress of a grievance.

Notwithstanding that the ACCC seem to be napping on this issue, at the very least your very own department ought to be sorting this mess out.

And for starters, you could REPEAL MANDATORY HELMET LAW NOW.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Memo to Tony: we want our future back #marchinmay

We (that is me & 2 uni-journo buddies) headed to Belmore Park today with 2 cameras, 2 tripods, 2 sets of lighting gear, 2 pieces of white paper, 2 reflective sheets, 2 SD cards, a ton of batteries plus all the cases and packaging they all come in to cover March Australia's March in May protest rally.

As the Federal Government moves into it's ninth month of running the nation, a pall of 'murk' has descended on our land, and we wanted to check up on the growing groundswell of LNP opposition which has seen voters eschewing ‘clicktivism’ for actually turning up in person (in droves) to tell the world what they think about the Abbott government ...

... and we also wanted to check up on the extent the alternative and social media have been picking up on the 'March Australia' story after snaffling that particular news-item agenda from mainstream media (MSM) whilst the latter napped in their elegant arrogant way!

We interviewed Van Badham (author, playwright and social commentator), Sally McManus (secretary of the services union), David Ritter (CEO Greenpeace Australia) and one of the wonderful 'March Australia' organisers in addition to lots of happy and willing protestors .. and we heard some amazing stories from these amazing people.

So while we're editing and script-writing our media piece, hope you enjoy the happy snaps above from a very beautiful peaceful protest !!!!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Santos & Velo-City14 on a bicycle built for two

I'm so disillusioned ... sigh.

How can this happen?

How can a bicycle meeting accept money from an oil and gas company?

How can bicycle delegates not feel compromised by the oily $$$ being splashed around?

Doesn't this fly in the face of everything this conference stands for?

Doesn't this fly in the face of everything that sustainable urban transport stands for?

Are we so gullible we didn't see Big Oil rubbing their greasy palms together as they watched us sign up for this faustian bargain.

How can we buddy up with such an environment wrecker?

This is Australia ... sigh again

(also published on Scone Blog)

Friday, May 9, 2014

19 sleeps to Adelaide Velo-City14

(Image: Cycling Campaign, YouTube)

If only Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide (et al) had bike stories like Dublin's - we don't but watch Georgia's anyway, and then drag yourself back to Australia's reality!

And just for once there's some really fun stuff to tell you from the land Down Under - yes truly!!!!

Velo-city Global 2014, the world’s premier international cycling planning conference conducted over four days is coming to Adelaide in just under 3 weeks.

At this meeting lucky delegates from around the world will have a chance to share best practices for creating and sustaining cycling-friendly cities where bicycles are valued as part of daily transport and recreation ...bahahahahahah ... and it's being held in Australia!

But no to be serious, you can see why Adelaide was granted the honour of hosting this amazing bicycle event.

Serene, quirky, a city of spires and markets, Adealaide is beautiful and a lovely destination to showcase Australia, and right at the moment no doubt it is putting the final touches to its best party frock as it gets itself ready to host the world's many cycling communities.

Notwithstanding all that, I'm sorry but there is no escaping the ...

... ... ... (GREAT BIG ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM) ... ... ...

... no matter how much everyone would like to pretend that there is.

We know that Australia's mandatory bicycle helmet laws have ruined cycling Down Under, and we are testament to that statement; we live and cycle it everyday.

Our cycling modal share rate is dire, our cycling safety rate is dire, our cycling infrastructure is dire, and our politicians are dire too - they just don't get it (do you, Duncan? Hmmmn).

So as a guilty criminal, and a frustrated Australian cyclist to boot, I'm fascinated by current word on the street that's telling us police have been instructed not to fine the velo-city visitors when they ride their conference bikes round the city of Adelaide!!!!

Hehehe ... clearly the organising-powers-that-be don't want the European Cyclists' Federation (ECF) people to be subject to the full Australian cycling experience ... aka fines and criminal convictions!!!

Anyhoo the program for the 4 days looks as fabulous as ever, but it's an extra-curricular activity that's scheduled for the Thursday afternoon that has caught my eye ... and I will be on that ride with bells on!!!!!!

... and definitely NO HELMET!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Stop Barangaroo Stop Lend Lease Stop Crown

Given everything that has been revealed over the last few weeks surely it would be in the public interest that all Barangaroo proceedings are halted and that all processes which led to Crown being granted carte blanche in combination with Lend Lease are reviewed.

The City of Sydney has 'accused the government of having a conflict of interest because it was both the land owner and the assessment authority for Barangaroo' and the City goes on to say in their 'blunt and strongly worded' paper that this 'brings with it significant risks, perceptions of bias and a lack of independent scrutiny of the development assessment.'

I couldn't agree more and I believe that we're entitled to ask our democratically elected representatives 'what the hell is going on?'

I blogged about the web of Barangaroo connections in March 2011 (and now notice that the 'Lend Lease' link with 'Better Place Australia' has been tidied into oblivion).

Reading the countless articles that have filled Australian newspapers and websites for many years on Barangaroo, it would appear that many fingers have been in the Barangaroo pie (although admittedly most of those fingers seem to be on the same hand) ...

Building on Barangaroo debacle

ICAC hearing: former NSW minister Tony Kelly says he did not turn a blind eye to AWH cabinet minute

Australians for Sustainable Development Inc v Minister for Planning, Lend Lease (Millers Point) Pty Ltd and Barangaroo Delivery Authority

Office politics: the $280k deputy who earns more than his boss

Electric car infrastructure coming to Australia - Better Place

The rise and fall of Better Place

Another Keneally sets sights on politics

Better place hits a dead end as CEO Evan Thornley abandons electric dream

A broken place: the spectacular failure of the start-up that was going to change the world

Lend Lease profit falls as Europe, US sales drop

Better Place Australia raises $25 million in first round funding

Keneally plugs into parking pay day

Barangaroo corruption allegations to be investigated

Revealed: national network of dirty deals

Lend Lease has big questions to answer

Barry O'Farrell is backing James Packers' Barangaroo Casino

James Packers' Barangaroo casino gets final approval from NSW government a nutshell Barangaroo is toast.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Mikael, Adelaide & Velo-City merge very soon

(Image: screen capture from Bike Radar UK on Mikael)

Velo-City, the world's premier bicycle-planning conference, is making its way to Adelaide later on this month for the 2014 meeting.

Yes a bicycle planning conference here Down Under ... where peeps will be chatting about utility cycling, cycling for transport, shopping on bikes, picnic-ing on bikes ... hehehehehe

And Mikael, of Copenhagenize fame, is coming to deliver a keynote address ... and apparently to not ride a bicycle whilst here in Australia because if there's one thing he doesn't do it's ride a bicycle in a land of helmets!!! Funtimes!

Meanwhile I'm planning the opposite and intend to ride all round Adelaide.

Oh dear, it's kind of awkward though ...

Velo-City inevitably attracts a big global media spotlight and here we'll be, showing off our cycling wares to the world despite those wares having to include the daftness of Australian helmet laws, and the even more daftness of Australian meekness in the face of helmet compliance for over 20 years.