my refusal to wear a bicycle helmet

my refusal to wear a bicycle helmet
...is informed

Friday, April 29, 2011

Cake & Circuses

(Photos: Flickr, DIZ 2011)


I say spiffing stuff & the very best of British...

...but there's more on today's menu as we trot out a favourite 'time-honoured distraction' while Britain burns!

- ahhh! jolly good show!

...& remember to tune in again next year for a spot of 'olympics distraction' coupled with a dash of 'sparkly jubilee' - super times!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

"Got your little helmet on now? - have you?"



"Whoop-di-doo!"

...we've got the artists helping us out now!!

(1:55 min for the time challenged - thanks, Andrew!!!!)

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

"Meet the future!"



Favourite 'mode-of-transport' given deserved recognition in favourite 'bicycle-riding-movie-moment'...(!!!)...ahhh!!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Leaving your bicycle face first



Whoopsa-daisy!

- baby no. 2 came a 'cropper', and no-one can tell me that an AS/NZS 2063 helmet would have made a difference!!!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Sydney University - hardly leadership material in cycling department

(Cycling towards Sydney University from Glebe)


(Walking towards Sydney University through Victoria Park)


(Whoa! - the heavy hand of USYD bike-patrol)


(...looks like a good deal though!!)


(Sum total of bike parks outside the Fisher Library - TRULY RULY!!)


(Sum total of bike parks outside School of Chemistry - woeful!)


Founded in 1850, the University of Sydney is the oldest university in Australia...

...& for their 31,634 full-time undergraduate & 16,141 graduate students, the University of Sydney provides 7 bike hoops outside the School of Chemistry and 8 outside the Fisher Library! There are a few more dotted around the campus but none of any note.

Sigh!...methinks this sorry state of affairs could be worthy of a few chuckles in East Anglian ovaltines...

(Photos: Flickr, Gkriniaris, Bicycles at Cambridge)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Helmet laws cause discrimination & low expectations

(Photos: my bike's perspective from traffic lights, King Street, Newtown)


Regulation 256 is an example of manifold discrimination towards road users other than motorists, and as such displays an unacceptable level of preferential treatment for one group over another.

Coupled with their own ignorance & the support of other protectionist bodies (aka Bicycle NSW & UNSW), the NSW government has embraced a blatant top-down approach in order to paralyse the freedom of choice debate.

Should this status quo continue, government inertia and deferred action will be the continued 'Plat du jour' ad infinitum - sigh!

So join me on the "Punk Commute" to remind our democratically elected representatives exactly what we're looking for in the 'much-awaited-brand-new-transport-landscape'...

...and it isn't more congestion!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Bicycles built for every advertisement imaginable






During my customary weekend 'reading-bonanza' last weekend I couldn't help but notice that...

"The Newspaper Industry"

"The Meat Industry"

"The Medical Research Industry

"The Wine Industry"

...(just for starters), had bicycles featured all over their pages pushing their wares...

This curious state of affairs almost appears to be a case of 'bicycle-washing' (aka "Green-washing") whereby businesses are cashing in on benefits gained from marketing unique selling points with utility bicycles as though Australia has a utility bicycle culture.

This is misleading or deceptive (and / or both) and whilst we'd dearly love to have a utility bicycle culture, we don't have one yet - so why are industries all over the place carrying on as though we do?

These dudes are messing with our aussie heads!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

"Bicycle helmet laws must go" - email (soon-to-be-letter) for The Hon. George Souris MP

(Photos: April 2010, The Hon. George Souris and me, at our last meeting in Macquarie Street, Sydney, NSW)


Content of yesterday's email correspondence to my local member:

==========================================
Dear George,

First, congratulations on the coalition’s election to government, and in particular, your ministerial appointment – thank goodness Sussex Street has been decimated.

As soon as you can fit me in, I would like to meet with you to discuss the NSW Bicycle Helmet Regulation - please.

I received another infringement notice in March for the crime of riding a bicycle without wearing a bicycle helmet. This will mean another court appearance for me, in the not too distant future, to defend my identified criminal behaviour. Naturally, I will raise the defence of necessity again which interestingly now seems to be gaining more traction as a defence for environmental offences as they occur around the globe. The UK courts and even some of the US courts have been quite sympathetic in considering the environmental issues raised before them.

As you would be aware from your readings of the material submitted to the Vulnerable Road Users Committee, access to climate change law was an approach I took in my court appearances in 2009 & 2010. Whilst somewhat at the ‘vanguard’ of climate change law, in my District Court Appeal Judge Ellis was sympathetic to me too. As each month passes and more catastrophic climate aberrations occur, it is possible that more Australian courts will join other Common Law countries in their support for the defence of climate change necessity. Until such time or without your assistance, my curial sojourns appear to extend into the horizon as an endless ‘merry-go-round’ of wasted resources and time.

Given that bicycle helmet studies over the last 20 years have still not reached a definitive conclusion of the merits of bicycle helmets, the bicycle helmet issue ought to be decommissioned as the political tool that it is, and remitted to one of personal choice. There is far more evidence to support mandatory legislation of childhood vaccinations than for compulsory bicycle helmet wearing yet the fear of litigation will always preclude governments from going down the mandatory vaccination path.

For 20 years NSW taxpayers have endlessly funded millions of dollars to endless academics to conduct interminable studies. No Class One evidence has ever been provided, and probably never will be because of university and/or hospital ethics committees involved in the collection of data. Anecdotal Evidence was the only content to the ‘Pitch’, and was specifically cultivated to clinch the ‘deal’ in 1991. To this day, it is still only anecdotal evidence that underpins current policy and the restrictive regulation.

George, more than anything I am hoping that you will see fit to propose a revocation of Regulation 256, NSW Road Rules, either in the course of Coalition legislative ‘housekeeping,’ or failing that, as a private member’s bill in your capacity as my democratically elected representative in Macquarie Street.

I really look forward to hearing from you, and would be more than happy to provide you with any more papers, studies, letters, transcripts, judgments that you might find useful.

Kind regards,
Sue

==========================================

...fingers crossed I hear really soon!!!...

...& thoughts please...

* Should I go by myself?

...or...

* As part of a delegation?

* What to do?

...suggestions welcome!

Monday, April 11, 2011

How Dirty is My Valley

(Photos: my view of 'Bayswater & Liddell Coal-fired Power Stations' from Scone train)






This is my home, this is my valley...

...this is the internationally acclaimed HUNTER VALLEY; the 'Newmarket' of Australia; the 'Bordeaux' of Australia...

...and this is what the 'Newmarket' & 'Bordeaux' of Australia looks like today - sadly.

It's a far cry from the verdant image of lush vineyards and picture-perfect horse studs that my address usually conjures in the minds of inquirers.

However this is my acutal reality - Coal-Fired Power Stations & Mines - and there's only going to be more...

...and not only for my Valley - it's happening everywhere - everyone wants a piece of Australia.

But back to us in the Hunter, we are selling our children's inheritance as fast as we can get it dug up & popped on ships.

Whatever happened to the notion of 'Intergenerational Equity' so nobly enshrined in the principle of 'Sustainable Development'?

We're clearly not having a bar of it. Disappointingly it appears we'd much rather 'post' our soul off to Asia, so we can get on with the business of watching our souless flatscreens.

Yet by relinquishing our valley were losing our community.

Cash flow is higher than ever but our committment to each other has plummeted. The itinerant feel to my valley has made us edgy, and eroded our sense of belonging. Everyday my home is being chipped away and all my local council can do is to operate as 'bag-men' in order to facilitate easy entry for mining 'carpet-baggers'.

What to do when politicians of all political persuasion 'Tiptoe Through The Tulips' with corporations of all corporate persuasions?

...think:

* Resources,

* Minining & Energy,

* Transport,

* Logistics,

* IT,

* Banking & Finance,

* Infrastructure & Telecommunications,

* Aus RAIL

...now:

1. Pick an industry, any industry...& then another one

(for example) Banks (ANZ) + Finance (Dow Jones)

----------------------------------------------------

2. Observe a 'core-partnership' claiming 'environmental' approval

(for example): Banks (ANZ) + Finance (Dow Jones) = leading corporate responsibility award

----------------------------------------------------

3. Scratch the surface (just a touch) - and what have we got?

(answer) Banks (ANZ) + Mines

----------------------------------------------------

4. Observe a 'core-partnership' without claim for 'environmental' approval

(answer): Banks (ANZ) + Mines = 'Greenwashing-spin'

----------------------------------------------------

Sigh!

What to do when governance & corporate-entities are so inextricably linked?

My home is doomed - my community is doomed - we no longer belong - I no longer belong

My valley is destroyed - I am destroyed.

Friday, April 8, 2011

We shall overcome one day - pretty soon

(Photos: Sydney Morning Herald cartoon, Shakespeare, April 2011)


Nothing that gets chucked at us is going to put us off!!

...thus notwithstanding last week's 'fear-mongering' article raising the notion that everything bad is happneing to middle-aged male cyclists, Chris Rissel & Stephen Greaves (scroll down through SMH letters) are spot on in their celebration of the fact that middle aged men are cycling at all given our much publicised 'tubby-nation' status.

Ho-di-hum! such a predictable 'ball' from our lazy journos but so heartening to see the academics pass it straight back with such precision!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

If only Macquarie Street was full of Clover Moores

(Photos: The Saturday Everleigh Markets, Redfern - bliss!)



The diverse & inclusive cycling evolving in Sydney is largely due to our Lord Mayor Clover Moore.

Her vision has been second to none, and even in the face of fierce opposition, her determined resolve to improve our chronically congested city has never faltered.

How fortunate we are to have this fearless leader at a time when we've needed one like never before.

Notwithstanding her many detractors, she continues to stoically lead us into a responsible era of city living with 'liveable, sustainable' and 'intergenerational' as the guiding principles for her 'modus operandi'.

Go, Clover!!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Cyclists Rights Action Group (CRAG) Media Release




===================================================
MEDIA RELEASE, 31 MARCH 2011
In the May 2011 edition of Accident Analysis and Prevention, Dr Rune Elvik, Chief Research Officer of the Institute of Transport Economics, Norway, reports biases in the 2001 study that Australian governments rely upon to support the compulsory wearing of bicycle helmets.

The 2001 study, by Attewell, Glase and McFadden for the Australian Transport Safety Bureau, claimed in AA&P that helmets reduce the risk of death and injury to the head, brain and face, but Dr Elvik’s re-analysis of its data finds no effect of helmets on injuries to the head or face.

As regards brain injury, articles in AA&P by Bill Curnow discredited the 2001 study for ignoring the science of its main cause, rotation from oblique impulse. In fact, helmets are likely to aggravate rotation, and the risk of death by head injury in Australia did increase after helmet legislation.

But Attewell et al. disregarded the science and so have road safety authorities, who continue to advise governments that helmets protect brains and save lives.

Professor Chris Rissel at the University of Sydney School of Public Health commented that “the effectiveness of mandatory helmet legislation has been questioned since it was introduced in Australia, but now there is doubt whether modern soft-shell helmets protect heads at all.

“With rapidly rising rates of obesity and chronic diseases, we need to be doing everything we can to get more people cycling. Compulsion to wear helmets discourages casual and spontaneous cycle trips, particularly among non-regular riders.

“There should be a choice about wearing helmets," said Professor Rissel. "If people want to wear a bicycle helmet then they should go right ahead, but don’t force them on everyone.”

===================================================

In response to CRAG's Media Release, The Age attempted to analyse the information. Unsurprisingly, the journalist did not find the information in the Media Release to be palatable, and allowed her own bias towards helmets dictate the timbre of her story. Consequently The Age’s report on the study’s findings muddied what had actually been revealed to them via the Media Release, and ought to have been revealed to the Australian public.

Everywhere else in the world they're worried about air pollution and the fact that the 'high concentration of many fine particles, largely due to emissions from diesel engines and heating systems, knocks almost two years off the average life expectancy'...

...but not here - we're preoccupied with bicycle helmets - and anyway they protect us from absolutely everythihg, don't they

Saturday, April 2, 2011

"Oh to be in NZ now that April's there!"

(Photos: NZ's Ashburton Guardian featuring official bicycle seatbelt fitter Ross Butterick tests the belt settings for rider Penny Farthing)


Just too, too brilliant - a wonderful expose on the daftness on bicycle helmets via the dafteness of bicycle seat-belts...clearly our mates across the ditch suffer just as much as we do from daft laws that fail to protect!!!

Why can't helmets be 'beached is'!!!?