This woman is an international hero

Click on the photo and read the article, she’s managed to get the Australian legal system and newspaper journalists to pay attention to real issues in an objective way. And struck a blow for freedom of cyclists everywhere. stillpoint link

If you are wondering what the issue is, look at what she is not wearing on her head. In theory that’s against the law in Australia but she now rides like that every day and nothing happens.


6 Responses to “This woman is an international hero”

  1. chrisrust Says:

    I’ve received a comment on this post from Jack Moore, a very experienced and knowledgeable cyclist who edits the velohobo blog on lightweight cycle touring. Jack is a strong supporter of helmets and wanted to encourage us to use them, not least because he has experience of working with brain-injured people.

    I decided not to include the comment and wrote to Jack explaining why. Here’s the message I sent him which also explains the rules I’ll use when considering any future comments on this topic:

    Hi Jack,

    I’m not going to include your comment on this post. This may seem to be taking sides in this debate but it’s more complex than that.

    The reason I’ve included this post in my blog is because the report I’ve linked to is one of few where scientific evidence and legal issues are discussed in an objective way, the freedom of the individual is given a fair share of attention and it’s acknowledged that this issue is more complex than the majority of debaters are prepared to accept.

    Online helmet debates are always passionate, sometimes hostile and always inconclusive, rarely changing anybody’s mind. Some online forums have banned them because of this.

    I’m prepared to accept any comment that deals with the matter from a scientific, legal or social perspective in a reasoned way drawing on wider evidence than the writer’s personal experience or judgement and respects the fact that the scientific jury is out on this.

    If I reject any comment on this I’ll explain to the writer why I have done so. I’ll make every effort to be open to any ideas or evidence that are relevant within the terms I’ve set out. In addition I will not accept any comment which is less than respectful to any other comment that I accept. Maybe that way we’ll have a really informed and constructive debate but at least we’ll avoid a shouting match.

    One of the difficulties with this subject is that there are both medical/technical questions (do helmets do physical good or harm?) and societal questions (Does helmet wearing and helmet law lead to good or bad consequences?) and the evidence available is confusing and often contested.

    The reason I’m against the Australian helmet laws is that they seek to impose a “common sense” view in a situation where the scientific evidence is far from clear and common sense may prove to be unreliable. In a situation like that, allowing people freedom of choice seems to be very preferable. As the article points out, there seems to be evidence that car drivers would equally benefit from the protection of helmets but there is no similar move to enforce their use and it would be regarded as outrageous if there were.

    So thanks for your contribution Jack. I appreciate your concern and wish to contribute even if I’m blocking this particular comment.

    I’m including a copy of this email as a comment on that post so you can seem I’m not hiding from the issue. As you work with victims of brain injury you may have access to relevant data or research publications about brain injuries and cycling and I’d be very pleased if you would share that.

    very best

  2. Ian Says:

    It’s fantastic that people are starting to stand up to these oppressive laws. Hats off to the lady, if you see what I mean. :-)

    If someone wants to wear a plastic hat when they cycle, I will fight long and hard to defend their right to do so. All I request is that they return the favour and defend my right not to.


  3. dexey Says:

    This woman is a real hero and from your home town.

  4. caroline waugh Says:


    Who’s Dexey then? is it my dear friend Derek?

    If you want my opinion? Well you’re gettin it now :)

    I think maybe children, and vulnerable folk, could be forced by law, because I don’t think they have enough knowledge of life. To make a choice. But adults should have the choice, after all it’s their choice, is it not? I wouldn’t want to make it a law in case it stopped folk cycling, and that really would have an effect on the nations health. Plus the effects on the community.

    I know what Chris means about people being passionate, either way? You would have thought I would have gone the other way???? Due to my traumatic brain injury??? But I’m too into encouraging folk to cycle at the moment, I wouldn’t want a ‘flattened’ hair do to put them off.

  5. chrisrust Says:

    Gosh, heroes coming out of the woodwork! Just in case anybody is wondering I’ve included Caroline and Ian’s opinions because they are talking about freedom of speech and freedom of action. I’m still not accepting opinions about the safety value of helmets unless they use reliable evidence in a thoughtful and critical way. Apologies to the people who have had their honestly held opinions blocked but of course they are free to go digging in the evidence to build a case if they feel strongly enough (as I would always say to my students).
    Incidentally the qualification for being a hero is not that a person is my hero, or yours. It that a lot of people admire that person for what they are doing. On those grounds I think that Dexey’s nomination of Caroline and mine of Sue Abbott are both on the money. I daresay both find that embarrassing (proper heroes always do).

  6. caroline waugh Says:

    I’ve gone all bashful :)

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