my refusal to wear a bicycle helmet

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

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Open Letter to the NSW Premier

27th March 2012

The Hon. Barry O’Farrell MP
Premier and Minister for Western Sydney
Parliament House
Macquarie Street
SYDNEY NSW 2000

Dear Premier,

RE: Matter concerning punishment for non-payment of Victims Compensation Levy

I am filled with disbelief that the state government of New South Wales is being so heavy handed with my matter. Given that the Victims Compensation Levy (VCL) was repealed for section 10 (1)(a) offences last August 2011, I do not understand why I am having the proverbial ‘book’ thrown at me.

As a result of Australia criminalising the riding of bicycles without helmets, I have not only come before the police and the courts but have been punished arguably beyond what is fair and fitting.

I am a 52 year old woman who has cycled extensively ever since I was a baby on the back of my parents’ bicycles & then eventually on my own throughout Europe, Britain, America, the Mediterranean and Australia. I arrived in Scone from London at the age of 23 with my rural ‘proceduralist’ husband, and we have stayed here ever since for the past 29 years. You would have to agree that my husband’s long term country practice of obstetrics, anaesthetics and general medicine has shown great commitment to rural communities.

Together we raised our four children in this quaint occasionally tough country town until they all came of ‘university’ age when they went off into the wider world to discover the trials and tribulations of adulthood. All four have attended or are attending university, and all four have embarked upon their studying and working lives with enthusiasm in varying capacities as future doctors, lawyers, social workers and entrepreneurs. Naturally my husband and I appreciate that in this task of raising our beautiful children we have been greatly assisted by our communities both at local and state levels.

I too was fortunate enough to benefit from the opportunity of further study when I undertook and completed a graduate law degree (November 2009) at the University of Newcastle - no mean feat I can assure you when you consider that I still had 2 young teenagers at home, as well as 6 hours daily travel by bicycle and train.

Therefore it seems ironic that whilst I have been doing my utmost to raise my family in accordance with sound community principles, as well as personally embarking upon legal study that may well be of benefit to New South Wales, I have incurred such a tough penalty that continues ‘to grow’ out of all proportion for the offence prosecuted. Extraordinarily, sanctions have now been imposed, entailing the cancellation of my driver’s licence, pending property seizure and refusal to process the renewal of my car registration.

There appears to be a certain amount of unreasonableness attached to this pursuit of me, in addition to a somewhat unfair bias, considering that I have been communicating with the New South Wales government over mandatory bicycle helmet law for many years. Inter alia it is most frustrating that I am put in a position where I continue to waste both police and court time over this issue when it is clearly one for the legislators. This reality has not gone unnoticed in the NSW Local and District Courts, and time and time again I am judicially reminded that bicycle helmet law reform is a matter for politicians.

I am appealing to you to conduct a reasonable assessment of my situation and the VCL punishment before I lose everything my husband and I have worked so hard for, perhaps even eventually my liberty. I fervently hope that the apprehended bias that has been evident so far in this VCL matter is alleviated by your involvement.

Thank you for your time and consideration of my appeal and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Yours sincerely,
Sue Abbott
NSW Voter & Resident

Enc. Last year's 'Punk Commute' postcard & 'Memorandum of Progress Report'

Copied to: the entire NSW Legislature; Sergeant Damian Hogan, Sheriff of Muswellbrook, Court House, Bridge Street, PO Box 247, MUSWELLBROOK NSW 2333; Executive Director State Debt Recovery Office, State Debt Recovery Office, PO Box A2571, Sydney South NSW 1235; Mr Bill Curnow, President, Cycling Rights Action Group; Matthew Moore, Sydney Morning Herald via email

6 comments:

  1. Sue,
    I supposed it is proper that you give due process a another chance to redress this situation before you go down the Anarchy route ..... bearing in mind that Guy Fawkes was the only politician with honest intentions when he went to parliamrent.

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    Replies
    1. Ha! Ha! Ha!

      'Remember remember the fifth of November Helmet-Laws, Big Oil and clots'

      "penny for the helmet?"

      Delete
  2. Nicely written. I really can't believe that you're still being hounded for doing something that is considered not only legal but perfectly sensible and ordinary in the rest of the world. Especially since your "offence" has been only to fail to pay a tiny "victim surcharge" that would no longer apply in cases like yours.

    "The State" can sometimes be a confusing and illogical beast. I hope that the people who are in control of The State can sort things out sensibly.

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    Replies
    1. ...me too though currently I feel that's resorting to 'wishful thinking'!

      Delete
  3. Great letter, but I doubt Bazza will do anything. You are officially a 'troublemaker', and as such you will be punished!!

    One other avenue you should explore is the provision in the Crimes and Sentencing Act that preserves Royal Perogative, and allows the NSW Governor to show mercy and waive any fine.

    You need to write to the Governor to ask for mercy - and hope she's more resonable than Bazza and his crew. I'd also be happy to petition the Governor on your behalf too!

    ReplyDelete