This entry was posted on Thursday, April 1st, 2010 at 1:14 pm and is filed under Bicycle helmet. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.
In Australia, bicycle helmets are compulsory for all cyclists. Last year, Sue Abbott, a doctor’s wife of rural New South Wales, decided to fight a AU$54 helmet fine, spending thousands of dollars in a legal challenge. She rides a Dutch-style sit-up-and-beg bike and doesn’t feel she need a helmet when cycling slowly around her small home town.
She lost her case, as can be seen in this video:
She decided to appeal. Last week, she won.
I know this because Sue just told me via a comment on one of yesterday’s stories.
“The judge quashed my conviction! I am no longer a criminal!
“Given that Australia has no human rights provisions whatsoever, I had to argue the ‘defence of necessity’ - very narrow…but the judge agreed that I had the ‘necessary belief’ and that my ‘response was proportional’ but he couldn’t agree with the ‘imminent peril’ element that I raised.
“He said I was too much at the vanguard with my catastrophic climate change argument, and he felt I had other alternatives like push my bike 8km if i couldn’t walk and carry my shopping. 2km are on dirt…I don’t think so!
“The judge urged me to apply for an exemption from the roads and traffic authority which I have done on therapeutic grounds and grounds of civil liberties. I haven’t heard back yet but will chase them after Easter.
“Whatever the outcome, I’ll then proceed to the office of the ombudsman, and then maybe the UN, and then maybe Ii’ll get a law job! That is if anyone will employ me – I think people think I’m a trouble-maker…”
It’s unlikely Sue’s victory could be used to repeal Australia’s mandatory helmet law but no doubt other individuals could follow her example and use her case as a precedent for other jurisdictions to consider.