Cycling in Sydney Australia
Last November, after an 18 month battle, Sue Abbott was fined $560 and given a criminal conviction for riding a bicycle without a helmet in Adelaide in 2014.
The injustice and stupidity of this Court sentence prompted Upright Bicycle Riders of Australia and Freestyle Cyclists to create a fighting fund to assist Australians battling helmet fines through the Courts.
Thanks to the generosity of those who contributed to the fund, Sue's Court fines were paid by the fund last week
The money remaining in the fund is now available to other people to cover any Court imposed bicycle helmet fines. With the prospect of these ballooning out to $319 in NSW, there may be more attempts to beat this legislation through the Courts.
In her blog , Sue describes her feelings about the strong show of support she has received and the way it has given her courage to continue her fight to rid Australia of it's bicycle helmet laws.
I like this goldenballs fund.
Be good to expand it to more court/legal activity possibly such as fake infringement notices issued by police.
It would be poetic if we could find a way of making NSW pay for it.
I have donated. My motivation is to support social justice, I don't care so much about cycling per-se.
I have some questions about where this might go Kathy, while I play in the pond of giving dodgy politicians and police a poke in the eye and am on the threshold of turning up to court to support others especially if the infringement has been faked. One such case is where someone has been fined for not using a bi-di.
1) Are you the driver of this initiative. If not, who is the PoC please?
2) Is there a mechanism to decide whether to just pay a person's fine if court activity is likely to fail? I have in mind not the ordinary person who can afford, but both poverty scenarios & where a whole family might get persuaded not to cycle because some goon decided to fine everyone for every trivial thing they could find.
3) I'm not joking about making the state pay, I seem to be doing well at shrinking what NSW gets from me a little which of course generates an ability to donate. What might we do to help other donors work and think in this community positive way?
The last point dates back to old successes with mountain bike access, when big fines were introduced for using our National Parks in certain places. These days we enjoy both legal and informal access where 15 years ago NSW was trying super hard to make us go away. The 'get off MY road' land management option!
I watched a bit of ABC's Landline on the weekend, and your reference to NP obstructionism was highlighted there where they won't allow bee keepers to put their hives in National Parks. What dumb shit within NPWS doesn't understand that nature needs bees to further propagation of plants! The numbers of beekeepers has dropped by 30% over recent times, and worldwide there are dwindling numbers of bees. Surprisingly, Oz exports bees to countries where they have been killed off by pesticides etc. Clever country? Exciting times? More smoke and mirrors please!
Thank-you for your contribution. The fund is in the early stages and at this stage the only Court imposed fines that have been paid have been Sues.
Freestyle Cyclists Inc. the group administering the fund, will meet and vote to cover costs of helmet fines imposed after a Court challenge. If and when issues arise, we will discuss and vote how to proceed. Obviously if the fund is empty we cannot pay costs. At this stage no-one has approached us with details of another Court challenge to a helmet fine.
That's great :-)
I am up for a regular donation, albeit modest. To me it's a bit like a membership fee to an advocacy / representative organisation.
Clearly if funds are needed for someone's helmet action I shall let you (the group) know.
I'm hoping there's power in this concerning helmets and other cycling injustices, and that many will see fit to divert funds this way. The list of donors is already promising and pleasing :-)
Early stages, I get that :-)
Its unusual for a helmet fine challenge to record a criminal conviction. As I understand it, the magistrate did so because of Sue's history of challenging helmet fines and what the magistrate considered the high likelihood of recidivism.
Sue Abbot is a champion for bearing such an outcome for this ridiculous crime.
Congrats to Upright Bicycle Riders of Australia and Freestyle Cyclists for setting up the fund.
So in essence challenging them in courts becomes a crime, while merely cycling without foam is not a crime. Right?
If you get a fixed penalty notice, and pay it, you don't get a criminal conviction.
If you challenge it and go to court and are found guilty, and not in some way 'let off', you do.
However, the police can decline to give you a fixed penalty notice, and issue a court summons instead. They usually only do this if they have issued you with a lot of penalty notices.
No way it should be recorded as a criminal conviction simply because you challenged it in court and lost
What Dan said is right, but to clarify, cycling helmetless is absolutely still a crime even if its dealt with by infringement notice and fine. Its just that it doesn't get recorded as a crime, and this is also true in every court case I have ever heard of except Sue Abbot's. The magistrate has that discretion.
Its consequential for things like applying for a job or a US visa. You might need to admit to being convicted of a crime in the last x number of years. But that is only verifiable if the conviction is recorded.
I am not trying put anyone off from riding helmetless, just pointing out the idiocy of this particular law that can make criminals from the wrong people.
pretty bad really, while law 101 has it that to be a crime the offence mustbe harmful to society