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.