Saturday, October 21, 2017

Plat du jour: another tranche of bike helmet postcards

Dear Melinda,
Why are Australian politicians so averse to evidence? Why do you persist with your Big Oil funded cheerleaders? Helmet laws are bad for society.
Kind regards,

Dear Melinda,
Why is it that I must be wearing a helmet when I am the 'pilot' of a tricycle but not if I am a paying passenger of that same tricycle? And why must I wear one also if I am a non-paying passenger?
Utter nonsense.
Sue Abbott

Dear Melinda,
I am stuck on the notion that I am safer when I am a paying passenger! Why is this so? What is your political rationale for this position?
Sue Abbott

Friday, October 20, 2017

Roads, fumes & automobiles

Just a little furry body slumped on the highway.

Globally adored but a dead nuisance in Australia, my heart broke as I passed.

That little koala like so many of our native animals did not stand a chance on the huge enormous 'road project' that is New South Wales.

The current Liberal/National State Government has sold off our valuable and historical public assets across the state to the tune of $9 billion and is now pouring that money into road infrastructure. We quarry indiscriminately, we move mountains all round the countryside, and we cause an inordinate amount of stress to people, animals and plants as we destroy their homes.

That we kill ourselves through road trauma and vehicle emissions is a fact that appears not to alarm our politicians.

That we also kill our native fauna and flora through road trauma and vehicle emissions is a fact that seems to have conveniently escaped them, though the extreme amount of road kill we see on our roads ought to serve as a visual reminder of their glaring political failure to think about transport in terms other than road building.

 Prima facie our addiction to never-ending road construction must stop.

Vehicle emissions on their own cause 40% more deaths than road toll, and whilst politicians may not have turned their minds to the welfare of our fellow planet travellers, academics are raising the spectre that wildlife does not escape the toxic vehicle emission peril either.

The 'failure' of our governments at all levels to "invest in efficient transport infrastructure" instead of roads continues to cause deadly air pollution.

The oil lobby is strong, and politicians in Australia dance to its tune. Consequently barriers to 'efficient transport infrastructure' (other than roads and automobiles) have been strategically inserted into the Australian transport mix, and this approach has neatly ensured a strangle-hold transport monopoly for Big Oil.

That Honda funds a hospital trauma research program is a 'case in point' in relation to Australia’s political commitment to roads and oil.

That bicycle helmets are still compulsory notwithstanding that the only things bicycle helmets are really proven to protect you from are fines (and perhaps police harassment too) equally shines a light on Australia’s political infatuation with roads and oil.

After 57 years of riding a bicycle, more than 40 court appearances resulting in 7 criminal convictions for not wearing an arguably ‘not-fit-for-purpose’ plastic hat whilst riding a bicycle, and with three more court cases pending for same offence, my preferred mode of transport has come to an end.

I have parked my bicycle in the garden shed.

Ostensibly Australia is the poorer for my action because I, like so many other defeated utility cyclists, have now added one more car into this toxic mix of a country.

There is simply no so safe level of air pollution, and if we keep building roads and their attendant infrastructure our future will be as terminal as that poor little koala’s.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Plat du jour: bike helmet law postcards

Dear Melinda,
Please give me an exemption for not wearing a bicycle helmet. I am piling on the weight, shortening my ligaments & generally feeling very miserable ever since the intensive police harrassment. I no longer use a bike - happy?
Sue Abbott

Dear Melinda,
For 57 years I used a bicycle but you are the politician who finally saw an end to that. We are fatter & less mobile than ever, and still you won't give me an exemption. Please change your mind.
Sue Abbott

Dear Melinda,
I have put on 3kg since the police started their intense policing of me in Scone. 40 court appearances, 7 convictions, 3 more court matters pending. Get rid of bicycle helmet laws.
Sue Abbott


This should work ...

Oh sigh.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Politicians’ Roads Addiction Is Killing Us

Did you know that vehicle emissions cause 40% more deaths than road toll?

According to a Melbourne University summary of findings published in April this year, there is a direct link between the level of our air pollution and detrimental health consequences, with research suggesting links between air pollution and bladder cancer, Alzheimer’s, stroke, lung cancers and respiratory infections in our children and our elderly.
Yet most of us are not overly concerned by our air quality here in the Upper Hunter.
We live in this beautiful part of the Hunter Valley, enjoying our seemingly clear skies and fresh country air, in reality oblivious to the toxic invisible air-soup we breathe.
 It is not for no reason that we have air-quality monitoring stations in Aberdeen and Merriwa, and if you subscribe to the NSW Office of Environment & Heritage air quality alerts like I do, it is always chilling to receive the information text messages when our local air quality breaches national standards yet again.
And now we are about to add a bypass in Scone, as well as a 24 hour truck stop in Murrurundi and potentially a 24 hour truck stop in Aberdeen. Health-wise, none of this is good news.
Four days ago the Sydney Morning Herald reported that new analysis shows “Australia’s love affair with diesel cars has helped push the nation’s energy emissions to a record high” warning the Turnbull government  that “road transport rivals electricity as the most pressing energy challenge.”
The ultra-fine particles emitted from all vehicles including new cars and trucks are inhaled by us all travelling through our bloodstreams and central nervous systems before lodging deep inside our brains, hearts and other organs. These ultra-fine particles also penetrate our skin and can spread through our lymphatic systems. And for those of us who live or work near busy roads including our children in schools and childcare centres, the situation is far far worse.
And we wonder why child asthma is so high in the Hunter Valley..
If we keep building roads and facilitating 24 hour truck stops, we will just keep adding to the mix of contaminated air which in turn will just keep 'driving' premature deaths.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Big Helma Big Oil ... this is Australia

Somebody else's photo on planetary catastrophe; meanwhile in Australia, politicians worry about plastic hats for cyclists

 Guilty as charged, of course, what did I expect really? Recent Adelaide outcome not different to any of the others ... sigh.

Grand total is now 7 convictions for the crime of riding a bicycle to the shops without a plastic hat, and that has taken up approximately 40 court appearances.

Essentially here in Australia we must not be active, we must keep polluting, we must keep killing Australian citizens with shocking air unfit to breathe that breaches even our own pathetic attempt at box ticking, we must keep wasting police and court resources, we must keep doffing our hats to Australian academics who never actually make the case for helmet law but still keep getting loaded opinions published by a sychophantic media who rarely follow the money ... sigh.

Grow up, Australia, bicycle helmet law perpetuates outrageous behaviour on the part of fossil fuel industries and their lobbyists (aka Australian politicians).

We have a rubbish public transport system, we have zero encouragement for active transport, we are a nation of tubbies, and we continue to send numerous Australian academics and Australian bureaucrats on paid-for junkets to transport symposiums and bicycle Velo-Cities held in lovely destinations all round the world.

And most galling of all, those very same policy geeks and mandarins, those earnest devotees of mandatory helmet laws in Australia so often at these wanky 'going-nowhere-proving-nothing events' throw 'Australian caution to the wind' and ride helmetless on provided complimentary bicycles.

All Australian politicians and bureaucrats suck period

... ok, most.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Australia is such a toddler

Moobi Road, Scone
Threatened with arrest, ride in the paddy wagon, and prospect of having to apply for bail - jeeeez it's been a bruising end to the week ... sigh.

So to recount, on Thursday my February and April matters were heard in the Scone Local Court.

As per last time (Adelaide) I ran with the Medical Device argument (you know the drill!), and essentially the prosecution just sat back and let the magistrate do all the work proving that I was guilty beyond reasonable doubt.

Handed down two convictions, costs and fines, and a reminder that I could appeal his decision within 28 days if I wanted to (very tempted), I was summarily despatched and sent on my merry way.

And then we came to Friday.

Back in town for the usual hoo-ha that we have to go to town for, I was pulled over twice by Upper Hunter police in two separate police vehicles in a matter of 20 minutes - lights, sirens, action!

I have to say that after eight years of this caper, roadside conversations with the police seem to be getting sillier, and being asked yesterday was I not concerned that by 'not' wearing a helmet I might be 'tempting fate' left me momentarily speechless. After a brief pause I said that I did not dabble in such nonsense and that I was surprised by the question given that I thought the police only dealt with facts and evidence ... sigh.

But it was the second lot who were truly shitty with me and raised the spectre of punishing me for 'continuation-of-the-offence' offence - yes, how would I like to be arrested, and to be put in the back of the paddy wagon and taken to the station with bail conditions applied?

I wouldn't.

Ordered off my bicycle, I was told to walk it notwithstanding that I was 6km from home

And so I pushed my bike to within 2km when luck would have it that my knight in a not very shining mazda drove past and collected me, bike, baskets and all.

Bugger hey - it's back to the nanna trolley and walking ...

...  and the odd Christiania ride like today when I 'paid' that knight of mine a compliment ("you look dashing in your shorts, dear")

...and hitched a lift with him
...  to the Farmers' Markets in town!

Australia is so very infantile ... how much longer do we have to put up with this redundant state of affairs?

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Minister Pavey, my helmet exemption request?

Berlin where cyclists are not impeded by ignorant bicycle helmet laws
Dear Melinda,

Please could someone actually address the issues I laid out in my correspondence to you concerning my request for a bicycle helmet exemption. To date I have had fatuous replies essentially stating that bicycle helmets make you safer period which completely ignores the crux of my request.

For your information, I have put this argument to a magistrate in the South Australian Magistrates Court in Adelaide. The magistrate has reserved judgment and is now taking two months to read the entire Therapeutic Goods Act.

I will be putting this same argument to a magistrate in the Scone Local Court at the end of this month.

You have the power to give me an exemption under the provisions of regulation 256 (link corrected just now at 23:52 hrs) of the Australian Road Rules.

Please address this matter rather than palming it off to another department.

You do not need to change or repeal the regulation, all you have to do is grant me the exemption as I have requested.

Thank you in anticipation.

Kind regards,
Sue Abbott