So I had my day in court and was heard by the Chief Magistrate!
She wasn't convinced by me raising self defence as a justification for the crime of unhelmeted bicycle riding, nor overly keen to permit me past this pre-trial stage ... legislators, she felt, were the ones I required not the judiciary, but she listened anyway...
She listened when I said that I have been dedicated to this issue for nearly six years and that I have corresponded with many politicians over that time in an effort to revoke this contradictory regulation to absolutely no avail.
She listened when I mentioned that I had not said to the police it was the second time that day that I had been booked for not wearing a helmet as they claimed in their 'facts' but that I had said it was the second time that day I had been in communication with police, the first being over a road rage incident on North Terrace (Adelaide) where a driver had used his vehicle to terrorise me so much so that another driver had come to my aid.
She listened and asked the police prosecutor to make a note of that fact.
She listened when I mentioned that bicycle helmet regulation is a law of privilege and oppression and that the entire transportation network 'privileges' automobiles over bicycles and allows drivers to drive without being mindful of me.
She listened when I pointed out that this is a 'privilege' I do not have notwithstanding that I have an equal right to be on the roads.
She listened when I said that I am on a bicycle in a world made for cars and that in my opinion this premise was neatly illustrated by the South Australia police prosecuting me for not wearing a bicycle helmet, and yet not prosecuting the road rage driver for his act of aggressive and dangerous intimidation towards me, even though I had pulled over after the 'attack' and put a call through to the South Australia (SA) Police to report the incident; even though I said to the policewoman taking my call concerning the road rage incident that I was prepared to come back to Adelaide and give evidence.
She listened when I mentioned that the SA police who booked me for the lack of a helmet didn't hear me tell them that I'd been the victim of road rage because all they could hear was an 'ingrained-anti-cycling-prejudice' informing them that I was a criminal and not a victim.
She listened again when I repeated again that bicycle helmet regulation was a law of privilege and oppression and ... she gave me a date for a trial!
Tuesday 25th August 2015 - thank you, your Honour!
So with three glorious fellow 'helmet-optional riders' who'd come to court to give me moral support, we headed off to the Markets for celebratory coffee and cakes !!!
I hadn't been shut down, I'd jumped through the next hoop, and now was on my way to the next level and another day in court - I had been listened to!
But this is Australia so the euphoria didn't last long!
As I dropped off my bicycle to Bicycle South Australia in Carrington Street, I was followed into the shop by two policemen and booked all over again.
'What's with the no helmet?
'Don't you know there's a law that says you must wear one?'
'You were at that helmet ride on Sunday, weren't you? ... recognise you from your picture!'
“Helmet Optional Ride”
(helmets, a matter of choice … yours!)
Remember Velo-City Global last year? That great big bicycle conference with over 500 delegates? It was a first for Australia, and what, we may well ask, has been its legacy?
- The proposed digging up of Frome Street cycleway?
- Continued criminalisation of the non-helmet wearers?
After the successful Helmet Optional Ride organised by the Melbourne based Freestyle Cyclists last year as a counter event to Velo-City14, Sundance Bilson-Thompson has organised another one for this Sunday.
Sundance is keen to build upon the rest of the world’s familiar tradition of strong cycling credentials, and welcomes this coming Sunday’s opportunity to showcase Australians’ logistical ability to make a choice about riding a bicycle without the necessity of laws to that effect too.
“I attended last year’s Helmet Optional ride and now I want to make helmet optional rides a regular feature in Adelaide.”
Sundance has already given a talk at the Adelaide Bike Kitchen on the failure of helmet laws and he is building support in Adelaide for some reforms primarily for Northern Territory style reforms to allow helmet optional cycling on ‘off-road’ cycling lanes.
Permission from the Adelaide Police and the Minister for Transport has been sought to hold the ride, and Sundance is hoping to involve some of the State MPs in this event too.
Kathy Francis and Nik Dow from Freestyle Cyclists are travelling to Adelaide to be part of the ride as is Sue Abbott who is due in the Local Adelaide court next Tuesday to defend her ‘lack-of-a-helmet’crime incurred last year at the Adelaide Velo-City conference.
“We categorically oppose laws requiring adults to wear helmets … bicycle helmets present a significant barrier to everyday cycling,” says Kathy Francis.
“Cycling must become the easy choice,” says Kathy Francis. “This needs changes to legislation, enforcement and community attitudes, and it needs changes to the way roads are designed.”
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Calling those oil-funded boffins from UNSW 'experts' in this matter ...
I have just attended the Velo City 2015 conference in Nantes (France) as a blogger, and there was no sign of your 'supposed experts' strutting the stuff they routinely strut for the Oz stage, perhaps because they're just a teensy weensy bit timid of being academically shredded by all the international experts who would have had them with their croissants and espressos.
I'm sorry, Paul, but your 4 are 'legends in their own lunch boxes' ... and clearly yours too.
The most pathetic Media Watch I’ve ever watched … sigh
I am giving up writing to Duncan - he doesn't get back to me, and ...
... well to be frank, he just isn't up to the task anyway.
Seriously it's just pure folly to carry on in the 'pork-chop' manner that he does, and he's doing nothing for Sydney or Sydney's transport or for our international standing amongst global transport leaders.
I have just been to Velo City 2015 in Nantes (you know what that is, don't you - that would just be too too embarrassing if you didn't) ... clue ... biggest urban and transport bicycle conference in the world ... (jeez)
Anyhoo, I can inform you that we are the laughing stock of this very large and influential world of 'using a bicycle.'
Delegates and speakers guffawed raucously when we lined up our transport plans against theirs - I mean just picture:
"Howdy we're putting in cycle lanes so that yo'all can go ahead and have a nice time using a bicycle in our country"
"G'day, we're ripping them up cos if you're planning on using a pushbike in our place, you've got rocks in your heads"
... too humiliating.
... and not a good look!
And everyone, just everyone knows Duncan ... and talks about him - I mean fancy the world knowing the name of one of our states' transport ministers - too weird - just shows you the abundant material he provides as a transport clown - so incredibly cringeworthy
Seriously he's got to go - global cities aren't weighing themselves down with his sort of a roads minister.
They're thinking big and radical.
They're thinking drastic and remedial because they're thinking that no-one can afford to dodge the pollution equation anymore, and they're thinking that cars are inescapably are part of that problem and that problem needs fixing.
That's what they're thinking ... but not our roads minister!
He's busy deleting cycleways and inserting motorways to solve our congestion problem ...
Duncan's dated like doughnuts ... and you need to do something about him - sack him perhaps.
This blogpost is for you because your knowledge of liveable cities and good roads and robust transport is sorely lacking,
... and if we have to put up with you for the next political term, certain things are going to have to be sorted out between us all.
First, it was such a shame you didn't think about joining us all at Velo City this year in Nantes.
It was a truly wonderful event (check out Queensland mob above) and unquestionably 'you' would have learnt a lot.
Global politicians were present (although we can hardly refer to you as global can we!) and of the opinion the use of bicycles is not just an important ecological salvo but an economical one too.
Now that ought to grab you because your government makes such a fuss about being 'grown ups' with the money side of running New South Wales ...
... which if that really was the case would see you championing the use of bicycles significantly more than you do.
I'm afraid you really are a 'fail' in that department and we really must get you back on track.
No-one at Velo City15 could believe their ears when we mentioned that were about to rip up one of our rare separated cycleways in Sydney ... no kidding, no-one! Delegates and presenters alike were shocked and gasped in horror! Apparently it's completely unheard of as a transport strategy.
What were you thinking?
Hard to save face on that one so might I suggest you just grin and bear it and just take your idiocy on the chin ... and then reverse your regrettable decision immediately.
I have to hand it to you, you completely stumped them with your 'cyclelane demolition mindset' - no-one saw that coming not even from Australia.
Most politicians, Duncan, actually recognise the speed of automobiles needs to be limited whereas you carry on wanting to facilitate fossil fuelled vehicles throughout our city.
And most importantly, Duncan, and this is where your old grey matter really seems to struggle, most politicians pretty much got that improving cycling mobility improves transport mobility ...
Yes ... research shows this time and time again, Duncan, yet you cannot take this fact on board and turn it into a workable transport initiative.
Velo City15 has finished now for another year, and political, municipal and transport leaders have left or are leaving Nantes with various take-home messages that promise to see improved cycling in their various countries by improving cycling safety with good infrastructure and legal protection.
But seriously what can we Australians who attended this Velo City really claim to be taking home apart from shattered dreams, forlorn hopes and peptic ulcers.
The time has past where you get away with your ignorant cavalier attitude to roads and transport because the time has come to reallocate space away from cars ...
... we know it and the rest of the world know it ... and you ought to know it.
And yet notwithstanding that the United Nation's Secretary-General, Ban Ki-Moon has challenged the transport sector around the world do something about climate change, all you can do is perpetuate your vicious cycle of automobile dependency.
Politicians need to ensure that the cities and regions they represent make it easier for people to live sustainably because if they don't they will be cast aside for not meeting their citizens' desires.
In effect, you're are fast becoming irrelevant.
So, Duncan, my message to you is that you must cease and desist your 'subsidising fuel for tranpsort' habit and get with the programme - the bicycle programme.
Yours in bicycle cheers,
Sue (no-relation-to-tony) Abbott