Sue Abbott – civil disobedient

It takes guts to stand up to the law, even when the law is stupid. Sue Abbott clearly has guts, not to mention patients and determination. She took on Australia’s illiberal and silly bicycle helmet laws and seems to have had a victory of sorts. The district judge has accepted her argument that she believes that a bicycle helmet would put her health at risk and has excused her from a fine imposed by the police. Even better the police have stopped behaving like pests, at least in terms of no longer fining her.

News article here:-

http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/heady-freedom-as-judge-agrees-helmet-laws-are-unnecessary-20100827-13vz2.html

Her letter to the PM here:-

http://www.cycle-helmets.com/sue-abbott-letter.html

I like the ironic twist from the news article. Apparently a study in 1998 found that even with air bags in cars motorists could reduce head injuries by 25% if they wore bicycle helmets whilst driving their cars. Maybe cyclists should be allowed to ride without helmets and motorists should be forced to encase their skull in foam. Maybe pedestrians should do likewise. Kneepads for pedestrians might also reduce knee injuries. The number of imaginable stupid laws is boundless.

Maybe somebody should organise an annual helmet free bicycle event in honor of Sue Abbott and her stand against this stupid law. I’d be keen to join the ride.

13 thoughts on “Sue Abbott – civil disobedient

  1. “Now Scone police ignore Ms Abbott as she cycles to town, although one yelled at her ”you’re not in Paris now” – a remark which prompted her to send police a photograph of herself bareheaded on a bike on the Champs-Elysees marked ”Greetings from Paris”.”

    Police on roadways, (most often highway patrol) have coercive powers they can use towards road users they would otherwise not have say, in a public shopping mall. These guys who made the comment are a disappointment to the people of NSW and their colleagues. They’re spiteful when they can’t book you? What would have they done if she retorted the following?

    You’re not in Pyongyang, losers.

    Any cop who stirs up the people they are trying to protect and or uses their powers for petty reasons (I was sworn at/insulted/was brought down to their level of argument) needs their arse kicked by a superior.

  2. I agree but we don’t recruit philosopher kings into the police force and it must be confusing when the law says she is doing the wrong thing and a court says otherwise. Our political leaders should repeal this law so cyclists don’t get harassed and cops don’t look like the enemy.

  3. What happened to the ‘Discussion’ column? And how come ‘Short and Sweet’ has only 10 comments, but claims to have 12?

  4. comments for the first contributor.
    A. Get a name, even if it’s a pseudonym. It looks a bit dodgy as you are, as though not game to show your face.

    B. Chill out. The police actions were hardly harassment. They lost in court and they just wanted some final word. It was hardly “We’ll get you, you smart bitch!”
    You can’t blame the police for thinking they were in the right. Generally the law is simply the law and proof of the law being an ass is STILL no defence against violating it.

    Remember, even in this case, she wasn’t acquitted, she was still found guilty but no conviction was recorded.
    Also remember: In NSW they have this real nut magistrate called Pat O’Shane who ruled about ten years ago that it wasn’t a crime to swear at police.
    So if the poor buggers have to put up with people swearing at them, I think it is a bit rich for us to complain when they simply comment upon about your geographic status.

  5. I’ve tried, for some time now, to start a Saint George Award, a gold statue of St. George slaying a dragon. This would be presented each year to the individual who helps to lessen or repeal the growth of governments and laws everywhere. This lady would be a worthy winner! If I win Lotto, or make money from my inventions, I’ll promote freedom by such awards. Better than an Oscar!

  6. I wouldn’t rush to hand out the freedom laurels Nuke.

    Our Sue seems to be a bit of a lefty.
    When she quoted the Covenant of Civil and Political Rights it was only about not being a medical experiment, nothing about personal autonomy to do as you please.
    Talking about curtailing carbon emissions, interests of social justice and wishing Krudd the best in Copenhagen, I don’t think we should give her the Thomas Jefferson award just yet.
    My guess is her suggestion to manifest her beliefs on helmet use would be to introduce laws that prohibit the wearing of helmets under the penalty of a $100 fine together with a one day re-education class on bike safety.

  7. Thank you, Philip, for crushing my hopes and aspirations. Who would you suggest would be a worthy contender for any accolades for liberty?

  8. Quite right, Jim, BUT; I am looking for cases that made the news in some way. Have you struck a blow for liberty that was recorded and talked about?
    Also, you’re a libertarian crony of mine, and I wouldn’t want people to think we were nepotists, or narcissistic. I haven’t yet formulated any hard and fast rules about contenders and winners, but I know that I want it to look open and universal, not clannish.

  9. I’m with Nuke on this. Sue deserves praise, not abuse. the law is an ass and as she herself pointed out, that for casual riders like herself, you know, just going to the shop sort, their/our safety record is pretty damn good. I mean, I’ve been riding since chldhood, am now 57 and have only had one memorable accident way back when I was 13, compliments of a “I-didn’t-see-you” driver. Scraped elbow if I remember. Having been recently booked by our local and despite explaining I had merely forgotten my helmet and wasn’t out to break the law as well as the financial stress a $95 fine would put me under as a bottom feeder income type, he still went ahead and wrote his ‘bluey’. The fact that there was so little traffic I could have fired the proverbial cannon didn’t sway the officer from protecting me from myself. I mean what ever happened to a first warning for petty shit like this and while I’m at it, why the bleep should I pay a levy for ‘the victim of the crime’ for this victimless crime? Please don’t come back at me about everyone should pay it! That’s crap and we should know it, The perpertrator of the crime in question should pay it, not innocents like me on the absolute bottom rung of income. Right, that’s got that one out of my system.

    Back to Nuke and his award idea, might I humbly suggest Malcolm McClure from UpMart.org, a worthy slayer of dragons if there ever was one. Mr McClure has been at it since the 90’s and one of his ventures has been the repeal of the police laws that could put you or me away because of the ‘bail act’ among others.

    Keep on tapping those keys, it all goes toward making the world abetter place.
    Paul

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