Irrational laws grow out of irrational fears.

Did you know it is illegal to kill a Scotsman within the ancient city walls of New York if he is not carrying a bow and arrow? Did you know it is illegal to post a stamp of the queen upside-down on an envelope in the UK? In Australia it is illegal to ride a bicycle, under any circumstances, without a helmet! In Liverpool, it is illegal for a woman to be topless except as a clerk in a tropical fish store. Virtually everywhere, it is illegal to cycle on footpaths rather than roads. It is still illegal in London to flag down a taxi if you have the plague. Irrational laws grow out of irrational fears.

Above is a photo of someone I saw in Ravenna last year, breaking so many Australian laws that I suggest trade embargoes. Or what about this boy on the right, wearing no helmet, on the footpath, smiling like someone who has just seen a topless women not selling pet fish, who has ridden right past a Scottish kid with a bow and arrow and not stopped to kill him. Have you ever witnessed such lawlessness! Do you recognise the boy in this photo, and know where he is now living? Do you agree that we should track this man down, and level appropriate charges while he is still alive, or is it reasonable to carry on as though certain laws can be forgotten with no act act of parliament?

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.
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