Saturday, October 29, 2016

MEDIA ALERT: 3rd Adelaide Helmet Optional Protest Ride

Helmets, a matter of choice … yours!

What: 3rd Helmet Optional Protest Ride, on Adelaide’s fabulous separate bike paths along the Torrens River

Where: meeting at Elder Park just behind the Adelaide Convention Centre nr Torrens River, and then cycling to Henley Beach (15km journey, approx 1 hour ride)

When: Sunday 30th October 2016, starting at 2:00pm

Why: Australia needs better cycling infrastructure nationwide coupled with the repeal of mandatory helmet laws.

A free event and everyone is welcome to join in. The pace is leisurely but the message is ardent:

“Australia’s mandatory bicycle helmet law is holding us back - REPEAL IT!”

A helmet exemption has been arranged with the police for all participants on this ride (could it be that wearing a helmet is not that serious an issue after all … who knew!) and as with the other two helmet optional rides, there is a likelihood that there will be a mounted-bike police escort for the cycle trip.

After the ride, it will be possible to catch a train from Grange station back to the city. In previous years it has also been possible to ride back to the city with the police officers along linear park. Anyone riding by themself after the ride concludes will no longer be exempt from wearing a helmet, so you will need to bring one with you if you plan to make your own way home.

There will be some volunteer speakers at the start to talk on the issue of helmet laws and other recent developments.

This will be a relaxed ride at a gentle pace, on off-road bike paths and shared pathways the whole way. The route has been chosen to be extremely safe, however all participants take part at their own risk, and will be expected to follow any instructions from the police on the day.

Media Contact - for more information, images or interviews please contact:

Sundance Bilson-Thompson, Helmet Optional Rider organiser, 0412 254 511

Kathy Francis, Secretary, Freestyle Cyclists, 0481 372 956

Nik Dow, Treasurer, Freestyle Cyclists, 0412 703 483, or

Media Images: contact Sundance Bilson-Thompson or Nik Dow

Further Info: Visit the Freestyle Cyclists’ facebook page  

Media Alert sent by: Freedom Cyclist

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Happy Couple At Home on lovely Scone Spring Day

Us, our beautiful children and their beautiful loved ones
Banksia rose confetti ...
... for the signing of the #marriednotmarried record
Proud grandmother and a smattering of beautiful cousins
More beautiful cousins
'I love you, Georgie!'
The cutting of the 'naked' wedding cake (made by me!!!)
Rowing team reunited
'Morning-after' ... slumbering in the paddock
Such funtimes, such lovely memories

Sigh and sigh again ... all over so very quickly ...

... oh well back to blogging 'matters bicycle' soon !!!!!

Friday, August 26, 2016

Please, New South Wales, think again

Image: Amsterdamized, 'Own the lane'

Our crazy helmet law knows no bound ... read the following letter posted on my facebook timeline:
Hi Sue - I need help :-(
I'm planning this charity bike trip from Brisbane to Adelaide in aid of "Cervical Spine Facet Syndrome" - a disabilty I have that clinically prevents me from wearing a bicycle helmet, or anything else restrictive around my neck.
I've recently completed a tour of New Zealand and easily got a helmet exemption from the NZTA. And it seems that I can get exemptions for all Australian states except NSW. I've written to them twice and explained what I want to do, however they tell me that there are no helmet exemptions!
I feel that I am being discriminated against because of my disability!
The ironic thing is, that NSW would be preventing me from raising money for research into this disability, because I personally have this disability - this is totally unfair and ridiculous!
If anyone can help by giving me the names of people I could contact in NSW then this would be most helpful.... politicians, media, etc,..
My struggle to do this charity ride could also be instrumental in showing how ridiculous your MHL is, too. It could benefit two sides.
Yours sincerely
So let's have a little look at the New South Wales version of our 'crazy helmet law.'

Under the provisions of Regulation 256 (1) the rider of a bicycle must wear an approved bicycle helmet securely fitted and fastened on the rider's head, unless the rider is exempt from wearing a bicycle helmet under another law of this jurisdiction.

So perhaps Andrew may be exempt from wearing a bicycle helmet under section 49B provisions of the New South Wales Anti-Discrimination Act 1977 where it could be argued that:
(1) the NSW government discriminates against Andrew on the ground of Cervical Spine Facet Syndrome if the NSW government:
(a) on the ground of Andrew's Cervical Spine Facet Syndrome treats Andrew less favourably than in the same circumstances, or in circumstances which are not materially different, the NSW government treats or would treat a person who does not have that Cervical Spine Facet Syndrome, or
(b) requires Andrew to comply with a requirement or condition (biycle helmet regulation) with which a substantially higher proportion of persons who do not have that Cervical Spine Facet Syndrome, comply or are able to comply, being a requirement which is not reasonable having regard to the circumstances of the case and with which Andrew does not or is not able to comply.
 Andrew's quest to coordinate and conduct his proposed charity ride is to be applauded, and I am appalled that my state of New South Wales is ignorantly refusing to remove barriers to facilitate his worthy event - it beggars belief and grossly discriminates against Andrew.

Accordingly I think Andrew should pursue this issue with the following:
So to Andrew, heartfelt best wishes and good luck from me, and to the NSW Powers that be ... for heaven's sake, get with the programme!

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Crazy helmet lady

Image: Scone Advocate & their take on me

My hair is a distraction.

The media falls for it every time. It fits their sexist narrative thereby allowing them not to explore the actual issues of Australia's bicycle helmet law - like, just for starters, why has no other country in the world copied us?

They do it every time - and they miss the point.


And so The Project came to my house last week to also do one of those 'crazy helmet lady' stories.

There were three roles up for grabs:
  1. Sensible person wanting to repeal helmet laws
  2. Sensible person wanting to keep helmet laws
  3. Crazy disobedient lady wanting to ride her bicycle past police stations
(... oh, mustn't forget 'cameo' role for long suffering hubbie of 'Crazy disobedient lady wanting to ride her bicycle past police stations'!)

Of course there's only ever one role for me!

And having observed the five hours of filming for the three minute proposed piece, I can only imagine I was type-cast again.

But my fight is not with our police but with our politicians and the toxic culture they have foisted upon me and other vulnerable road users.

It is politicians' fault that:
  • police in general waste tax payers money with bicycle helmet operations,
  • AFP spent scarce public resources gathering Airport CCTV coverage of me and my Christiannia (I mean seriously ... BREAKING: Australian woman rides bicycle)
  • AFP a month later spent scarce public resources interviewing me with hi-tech 'recording-works' at International Airport 
  • police in December 2014 did not have enough public resources to better manage the Lindt Cafe Siege
Public money only goes so far and by criminalising riding a bicycle through mandatory helmet law provisions, our politicians have shamelessly wasted public resources for a petty vendetta towards people who use bicycles and they have put many of us at risk of harm.

When justifying bicycle helmet law, it is an absolute red herring to talk about the potential cost I may cause the state should I sustain a brain injury. The public health benefits for the state when I ride my bicycle far outweigh the risks, and the most frustrating thing about all of this is that the state knows it. Big Oil runs those muppets, and Big Oil dictates the continued destruction of our cities.

Image: SMH & Sydney families spend $22,000 on transport
It is all connected; WestCONnex, ANZAC Parade, Alison Road, Sydney Light Rail and Sydney Metro, as well as the exorbitant costs Sydney families face for transport; every one of them feeds into our state's addiction for oil and its attendant infrastructure.

Big Oil has groomed our politicians and we can only weep with disbelief on the sidelines.

But meanwhile the media continues to miss my point.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

I do ... want marriage equality

Our beautiful happy couple

Dear Mr Turnbull,

It is unconscionable in this day and age that some people who love each cannot get married because of sexual preferences and identities. Love does not discriminate and neither should we, and from what I have read about you over the years, I am led to believe that you are of a similar view so why are you prevaricating over this human rights issue?
I have four children, and next month (September 2016) our daughter Philippa intends to commit to the man of her dreams at our home in Scone (yes, you and I, we're almost neighbours) in front of loving family and friends. 
As I am sure you can appreciate, many of the loved ones in our family and friendship groups who would like to marry their special person cannot do so in the eyes of the law because of Australia’s limited and abusive Marriage Act. Accordingly our 'happy couple' have decided that until marriage equality is available to anybody who wishes to avail themselves of the opportunity to get married, they will boycott marriage in the pure legal sense.
So we will still be having a fabulous wedding party, and they will still be promising to stick it out as a ‘couple’ on the inevitable calm and stormy waters of life together, and they will be doing this in front of all their loved ones in our garden despite our fossilised law. They will not be blocking their ears like some have done, or turning their backs, or whispering the exclusive legal words in a bid to proffer support - because right now with the law as it stands they feel the most supportive thing they can do to move this human rights issue along is to boycott Australian marriage.
And when the day comes for Australian law to finally catch up with the national zeitgeist, our happy couple will legalise their union then. 
In the meantime, there is lots to prepare and lots to do - we have a #weddingboycott party to plan!
So come on, Prime Minister, let’s get with the times and sign marriage equality into law … now!
Yours sincerely,
Sue Abbott

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Australia still not ready to be weaned from Big Oil

CCTV of Me thinking about parking, boarding and seeing my man in Broken Hill
So I had my day in court today (yesterday now) to explain to the magistrate why I cycle without a helmet and I now have another criminal conviction to add to my collection.

As I have done on previous occasions, I mentioned that my conduct of riding a bicycle without a helmet is a question of survival, mine and the planet’s, and that I believe wearing a helmet puts me at greater risk of catastrophic brain injury, and to stop cycling because of the law, which many cyclists have done, would be bad for the planet.

I explained to the court that to me using a bicycle is an attempt to mitigate my carbon footprint ...

Yes, necessity is the sine qua non of me riding a bicycle without a helmet.
      I went through the three elements of necessity:
(1) ...

... oh I can't be arsed to mention them here again for the umpteenth time ... sigh ... you get my drift

Anyhoo notwithstanding all the stuff I did say, I didn’t get a chance to mention that I can no longer continue to observe the havoc that our capitalistic lifestyle is causing without doing something to mitigate it.

Or that climate change, and the world’s children make me think twice about using a car, or that to avert possible brain injury, I ride my bicycle without a helmet.

Or that riding a bicycle without a helmet is a victimless crime, or that the benefit cost / analysis suggests cycling is 20-30 times more beneficial to society than harmful thus I may have been found guilty of breaking the letter of the law but I wasn’t causing any personal or social harm and therefore perhaps I shouldn’t be punished but thanked!
CCTV of Me at Domestic Airport with AFP behind me
The magistrate seemed very cranky that I had wasted the time of three Australian Federal Police who should have been ‘saving the country and community from drug addicts and terrorists’ rather than in court waiting around for me and my matter.

I agree, but let's not forget it was the AFP who decided to go after me in October 2015, and then call me in for an interview at their Airport offices in November 2015, in rooms far away from the public view where they interviewed me and recorded me both visually and aurally for close to 40 minutes before I flew out to England.

That interview was certainly not necessary, and as far as I am aware quite unheard of for a bicycle helmet matter.

When you think about it, that interview at the airport sometime after the alleged offence was really quite weird.

Me photographing AFP whilst AFP photographing me

·         Next I was criticised by the magistrate for my place on the list in light of the fact that an accused on the list whose liberty was in question ought have been heard before me. The liberty angle is a fair premise for the right order of matters, but I was not in charge of today's (yesterday's) scheduling otherwise I would have gladly stepped aside and waited my turn.
I think it is disappointing that I am always held to account for wasting court time ... but why am I wasting court time any more than a mugger or a thief or a murderer?

My hair continues to be a distraction, and the bill I'm told will come in the post.

Oh dear - I'm not sure if I can continue doing this caper; it's demoralising and crushing, and if truth be told I think it would be more fun to bang my head against a brick wall - and should that occasion arise, maybe a helmet might be useful.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Bicycle Racks at Sydney Airport - that's enough right

Most beautiful bike in whole world
Big Oil plays tricks galore to keep bicycles off roads, and in Australia those tricks work because we are suckers for compliance and seemingly 'hard-to-verify' anecdotes.

Now in Australia, bicycle helmet promotion uniquely segues into mandatory helmet law and is Big Oil's best trick..

As a nation we love it, particularly the righteous who relish the unspoken permission notionally granted to them to parent ertswhile cyclists (actually if truth be told, cyclists period because whether you're wearing a helmet or not, if you're on a bicycle in Australia a Big Oil indulger will feel compelled to yell insults and instructions at you whilst you're sharing the road with them.)
Most beautiful bike in whole world on the end (your right)
The plight of Australian cycling today is the culmination of twenty five years of refusal to acknowledge that Australian data on mandatory helmet laws is missing-in-action.

But no politician will turn their mind to the fact that the case for the continuation of helmet compulsion is still not made out.

Yet we persist in this pointless exercise despite the substantial likelihood that mandatory helmet law amounts to no more than the proverbial Emperor's New Clothes.

Three decades worth of sham studies and male posturing have overseen the end of utility cycling ...'s  great pity and from where I am typing, I don't think it's likely that utility cycling will return to a street near you any time soon.

In the meantime though there is always the chance that I will be returning to a street near you sometime soon if your street has a courthouse in it.

And so it comes to pass that the street housing Waverley Local Court is up next.