World “Mock Australia” Ride

Are you concerned about Australian mandatory bike helmet laws spreading to your country? You aught to be. Numbers of cyclists dropped by 40% here in Australia with those laws’ introduction. Also, our governments have done less than governments worldwide to provide separate bike infrastructure, kidding themselves that they have already made it safe and inviting to ride on the road, simply by forcing us all to wear helmets. Now drivers pass us more closely, people jump in their cars and not on their bikes for quick errands, and the whole idea of going for a ride without first kitting up in racing attire has been forgotten.

One way to protect your country, is by mocking mine. How about some publicity stunts? I’m imagining big groups of North Americans and Europeans getting together for big party rides through their cities dressed as Australians, you know: green and gold face paint, waving our flag, UGG boots on your feet and Driza-Bone jackets. Or you could take the approach that doing less is more, when imitating an Australian.

 

 

But here is the twist. In addition to thongs and stubbies and Men At Working blearing from your Ghetto blasters, you will wear boating life jackets, children’s arm floaties, and the craziest helmets you can dig out of your garages. You will be ridiculing Australia as the nanny state you do not want your own nation to emulate.

I have to thank Sally from the Cambridge Raincoat Company for starting me thinking this way, by sharing this story in the British press about Robert Pattinson being cautioned by Australian police after they saw images of him cycling on Australian streets without a helmet. Ludicrous. Next they will be posting fines to international celebrities to have appeared in our magazine Treadlie in the past years, and asking Obama to please set a better example for kiddies.

That just leaves us with the job of agreeing on a date and time. Since it began in Australia, I would suggest Bike Hour, that already attracts a few thousand riders worldwide every equinox day.

About Steven

I'm on a mission to put cycling on the agendas of architects, urban designers and fellow academics, who see the potential for bicycles to change cities and buildings. My PhD is in architectural history and my interdisciplinary research spans art theory, philosophy and cultural studies. I teach architectural history and theory and design studio at The University of Tasmania, Australia, and formerly worked as an architect designing large public housing projects in Singapore. My favourite bikes are a titanium racing bike I use for racing, a Velorbis retro commuter for riding to cafes and work, a single speed ultra light Brompton that I take with me when I travel on planes, a 29er hard tail mountain bike that I get lost on in remote places, an old track bike that scares me, a 1984 Colnago Super with all original campagnolo components that is plugged into a virtual realm that I train in, and a Dutch-made Bakfiets, that could easily replace half of the bikes I just mentioned.
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5 Responses to World “Mock Australia” Ride

  1. Edward says:

    I am assuming this is a little tongue in cheek. Whether it is or not, I fully support it. Perhaps some worldwide ridicule will work where logic and reason have so far failed.

  2. Benedikt says:

    Yes there’s always someone promoting bike helmet laws. Mostly conservatives from car producing states like this one:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Ramsauer
    Furthermore he considerably cut federal funding for bicycle infrastructure and publicly accused “ruffian riders” of disorderly behaviour. That spawned a lot of anti-bicycle propaganda in the old media and in return a lot of anti-car sentiment in the new media.
    For example by architects:
    http://www.german-architects.com/de/pages/page_item/4212_radverkehr
    No need to translate that article, you very well know what they’re saying.
    But that 20th century traffic minister mentioned above may be out of a job by september.
    I’m not quite certain about the Aussie Mockery Approach to that problem though =) Some people might find that insensitive. Then again bike helmet laws are very insensitive. I could be dangling corks from my helmet. The ramifications of corks, screw caps and bike helmet laws have been briefly discussed here (scroll to bottom):
    http://tworedbikes.blogspot.de/2010/12/we-have-reached-perth.html#!/2010/12/we-have-reached-perth.html
    And yes I have a bike helmet. Don’t use it for town runs but for touring. So far it has saved my head from countless twigs and leaves. And there’s always danger of getting hit by the odd acorn.
    Bike helmet laws may seem like a good idea at first look, so we need to explain matters to our well-meaning contemporaries.
    G’day sir!

    • Steven says:

      That blog post brushes against my personal reason for sometimes dispensing with the helmet: my helmet doesn’t protect me from sun exposure, where a hat does, meaning a hat would be improving my life expectancy more than a helmet. Also helmets don’t attract smiles from ladies, and feeling undesirable leads to depression, and depression is a big killer of men in my age group.
      Many thanks for gracing this blog with your thoughtful contributions again :)

  3. uraok says:

    Maybe we should send our 4wd conga line (http://www.theherald.com.au/story/1274964/video-poll-pics-48km-4wd-protest/?cs=303) on a world tour. Those riding amongst it would soon realise the irony of the helmet law.

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