(Photos: Christmas card from Oxford, UK)
Something that has baffled me throughout my campaign to make bicycle helmets a matter for choice is the faith-based attitude our media have towards bicycle helmet laws and why they continue to barrack for them!
Can anyone explain to me why they take this position?
Why are they not intrigued by the continuous conflicting academic discussion (one that has lasted for 20 years no less)?
Why are they not concerned with the limited nature of actual helmet testing?
Why aren't they fascinated by the fact that other nation states are not tripping over themselves to embrace this protection programme (they did when we came up with our 80s HIV protection programme)?
Why don't they investigate who actually funds the main bicycle advocacy groups and why these bodies are so silent on the issue of advocacy?
Why aren't they shouting from the roof-tops that it's ridiculous that we have these laws when the evidence remains contradictory, flawed and largely unenforceable?
Clearly there are notable exceptions like Mike Pritchard from ABC Rural Radio, Jo Jones from Bike-Love, & Matthew Moore from the Sydney Morning Herald who no doubt have personal views on the subject but are capable of putting them aside for genuine 'reporting' purposes. Notwithstanding these individuals, the general timbre of our media has not been one of 'reporting', but one of opinion & unquestioning faith.
Basically it's been:
'Shock! horror! - you're bonkers! - you're totally out of your tree! - what planet are you from?!!!'
...pathetic & predictable - my disillusionment abounds (sigh).
Admittedly, it wasn't really a surprise to get the 'grilling' I received from the '7PM Project', and anyway, the live nature of the show offered me a chance to express my position whilst simultaneously protecting me from being misconstrued.
No, the big 'let-down' was Wendy Carlisle's report for 'Background Briefing' in September.
I have been a 'Background Briefing' tragic for years and I was so disappointed that my 'all-time-favourite-show' failed to deliver its usual balanced discussion on a particular topic. The premise that it had was disingenuous and shallow - any listener could spot the veil of pretense as it blatantly 'cheered-on' the promoters & supporters of helmet laws.
I have no problem with people choosing to wear a helmet, but I vehemently and actively object to being forced to partake in this risky behaviour and will continue to resist this emotional 'battery-of-me' at all costs.
To me, it is clearly evident that helmet spin is:
In fact all things considered, there's a fine line between 'mandatory standards' & 'recalls' & 'bans', so I cannot understand for the life of me why my government forces me to wear a 'questionable' helmet, that has already sustained a blow, albeit a testing one, so is therefore no longer capable of sustaining another one, so therefore ought to be replaced immediately, whenever I hop onto my bike...
...& if you can, can you explain it to me?