Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Crazy helmet lady

Image: Scone Advocate & their take on me

My hair is a distraction.

The media falls for it every time. It fits their sexist narrative thereby allowing them not to explore the actual issues of Australia's bicycle helmet law - like, just for starters, why has no other country in the world copied us?

They do it every time - and they miss the point.


And so The Project came to my house last week to also do one of those 'crazy helmet lady' stories.

There were three roles up for grabs:
  1. Sensible person wanting to repeal helmet laws
  2. Sensible person wanting to keep helmet laws
  3. Crazy disobedient lady wanting to ride her bicycle past police stations
(... oh, mustn't forget 'cameo' role for long suffering hubbie of 'Crazy disobedient lady wanting to ride her bicycle past police stations'!)

Of course there's only ever one role for me!

And having observed the five hours of filming for the three minute proposed piece, I can only imagine I was type-cast again.

But my fight is not with our police but with our politicians and the toxic culture they have foisted upon me and other vulnerable road users.

It is politicians' fault that:
  • police in general waste tax payers money with bicycle helmet operations,
  • AFP spent scarce public resources gathering Airport CCTV coverage of me and my Christiannia (I mean seriously ... BREAKING: Australian woman rides bicycle)
  • AFP a month later spent scarce public resources interviewing me with hi-tech 'recording-works' at International Airport 
  • police in December 2014 did not have enough public resources to better manage the Lindt Cafe Siege
Public money only goes so far and by criminalising riding a bicycle through mandatory helmet law provisions, our politicians have shamelessly wasted public resources for a petty vendetta towards people who use bicycles and they have put many of us at risk of harm.

When justifying bicycle helmet law, it is an absolute red herring to talk about the potential cost I may cause the state should I sustain a brain injury. The public health benefits for the state when I ride my bicycle far outweigh the risks, and the most frustrating thing about all of this is that the state knows it. Big Oil runs those muppets, and Big Oil dictates the continued destruction of our cities.

Image: SMH & Sydney families spend $22,000 on transport
It is all connected; WestCONnex, ANZAC Parade, Alison Road, Sydney Light Rail and Sydney Metro, as well as the exorbitant costs Sydney families face for transport; every one of them feeds into our state's addiction for oil and its attendant infrastructure.

Big Oil has groomed our politicians and we can only weep with disbelief on the sidelines.

But meanwhile the media continues to miss my point.


  1. I'm a 52 year old man who, at 50, decided to grow out the tightly cropped hair I'd had for 30 years and restore the luscious long curls of my youth. My hair is now similar to yours Sue and, suddenly, no one takes me seriously anymore. I feel like Mr Curley from a Leunig cartoon.
    Keep up the good fight crazy helmet lady as there are crazy Curley haired men out there who support you.

    1. Awww - thank you for sharing that with me, Bernie!!!! And it's great that you're out there with me too! Once again it's comments like yours that give me courage and the little lift I often need with this campaign to petition for a redress of our very Australian grievance.
      Yours in crazy curls,
      Sue xx

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  3. Sue, you are so damn right. Both the politicians AND the police are wasting scarce public resources supporting bicycle helmet law.

    So when the police next ask for increase in staffing level, tell them to abandon helmet law enforcement and they would have a defacto staffing increment. Or the pollys could just repeal MHL.

    This process is popularly known as reaping efficiency-dividend in the Australian Public Service.

  4. Dear Sue- I want to say that I support you in every way and am glad that you continue as a sensible, informed voice against this stupid law, and the stupid muppets who parrot it back, like that radio presenter I heard you interviews by. Thank you for keeping this issue in the news with your civil disobedience campaign. We shouldn't have to break the law- but this law is wrong and has deep and serious ramifications beyond the superficial 'why don't you just put on a helmet'.
    Thank you Sue!!

    1. Thank you, Russell! Words like yours embolden me when I start to 'fray at the edges' with courage!!!! Thank you indeed!

  5. A start could be if we make this a problem for the police.

    As the police obviously have far too much time to waste if they can hunt down and create victims out of cyclists.
    We should be campaigning for a reduction in the numbers of police so they are kept busy on serious crime only.

    When the police start to think they might lose “their” job then this becomes ‘their” problem.

  6. I was recently pursued by a policeman on a motorbike who was lying in wait behind a toilet block on a shared bike/pedestrian path in a park.

    He actually had the gall to claim that my refusal to wear a helmet would cost the taxpayer in public health bills. I thought it pointless to inform him how much taxpayers were wasting paying him to sit in parks all day long, never mind how much MHL costs us in general health and obesity epidemics. Ironically, he was rather heavily overweight and could have used some cycling exercise on a real bike.

    1. Sigh ... your tale is all too common here in Australia, and completely unnecessary.

  7. Maybe I've been brainwashed or something, but I'd rather wear a helmet if it was going to reduce the risk brain injury. Even if only marginally. I usually put my helmet on even for a quick trip to the corner store. I think we should be encouraged as much as possible to wear them. I understand the point you're trying to make about choice, but accidents are bound to happen on the road and a cyclist is always going to come out second best. Everyone cries 'revenue raising' but one person getting fined and telling all their other cycling friends may encourage more people to care about their brain and take appropriate precautions. Even if it is just to avoid a fine.

    1. Or of course a person getting fined will discourage them from riding a bicycle - like what happens in the real world and not in the MHL proponents fantasy world.