Yeah, you know who also wore helments? These guys:
OH YEAH, THAT'S RIGHT! I WENT THERE, BABY!!!
Now just try to get that "Nazis Wear Helmets" song out of your head, because I'm on 24 hours and counting at this point and it's all I've been singing:
"♫♫♪ ♪ Nazis wear helmets...♫♫♪ ♫♪ ♪ "
It's just finger-snappingly catchy, there's no denying it.
Anyway, if nothing else Australia's draconian helment laws have yielded some entertaining PSAs, because a commenter yesterday also shared this one:
It's no "Heroes Wear Helmets," but it's pretty good. I also enjoyed the host, Ian "Molly" Meldrum:
I had to look him up, and I was sorry to read the following:
On 15 December 2011, Meldrum had a life-threatening fall from a ladder in the backyard of his Melbourne home. He was placed under intensive care in a critical condition at the Alfred Hospital and had surgery for his head and spinal injuries. By April of the following year he had recovered enough to give interviews and resume work duties.
No word on whether or not he was wearing a helment.
In any case, I'm increasingly of the opinion that Australia may be the least bike-friendly country on the planet. Sure, we're incredibly bad here in Canada's fanny pack, but I'd argue that Australia's helment law puts them over the top, and they're definitely at least as good as us in the victim-blaming department. Consider this article, to which I was alerted by a Twitterer:
Yes, apparently they're cracking down on cyclists in Melbourne because they are either running red lights or not running them, it's difficult to tell. Plus, you know, helments:
Senior Constable Alix Watson said the sight of cyclists running red lights on Sydney Road was "disturbingly common", although most riders obeyed the law. Not wearing a helmet was a bigger issue on side streets and off-road paths, she said.
Wait a minute. Is it "disturbingly common" or do most riders obey the law? I think that's what you call an "Australian paradox." Also, why is not wearing a helment a "bigger issue on side streets and off-road paths?" If anything, that's where it makes most sense to skip the helment.
Really though, it's all about "sharing the road:"
"Nothing bothers a car driver more, who's caught in traffic, than having a cyclist stop at the traffic lights, check that it's OK and then disobey the traffic light," Ms Watson said. "The whole idea is that we're meant to be sharing the road, respect each other and that goes both ways."
So riders are proceeding through the red light when it's safe to do so? Big deal! Who gives a shit how the driver feels? It's not our fault you're stuck in traffic. Blame the other schmuck in the SUV. Why is it that so much of what cyclists are supposed to do dictated by the fact that so many drivers are irritable and jealous? This is the same "reasoning" behind all these bicycle registration proposals. "I have to register my Hyundai so those bicycle riders should have to do the same." It's only a matter of time before cyclists are required to purchase gasoline before every ride, just because "it's not fair" that drivers have to pay for fuel.
Meanwhile, here in America's Most Bike-Friendly City (where the MTA seems to think we like to go riding into buses), relentless retailer Amazon.com is unleashing the power of bicycle messengers in its latest step towards world domination:
Evidently Amazon are looking past drone delivery and instead recruiting actual corporate drones on bicycles, and if you want to be one you'll have to compete in a "time trial:"
Amazon has been holding time trials with messengers from at least three courier services to pick the speediest and most careful for its delivery fleet, the person said. During the trials, messengers are given an address and told to bike there within the allotted time. Once they arrive, they are required to take a photograph of the building’s address and return to the ground floor of the Amazon building, which is referred to by bike messengers as “the base,” the person said.
This sounds less like a time trial and more like a corporate alleycat--though with sponsors like Red Bull and Coca-Cola I suppose alleycats are already corporate. They also pay $15 an hour, which doesn't sound too bad, and "the base" is full of games that are fun to play when you're high on the pot:
At the base, Amazon has built a lounge replete with foosball, pool and air hockey tables; an arcade; and other amenities for messengers hanging out between deliveries, the person said. Messengers are paid around $15 an hour and work eight-hour shifts.
I guess Kosmo.com and UrbanFetch were about fifteen years ahead of their time.
Then, once they repeal those pesky child labor laws (I assume Amazon is working on that), I can send my seventeen (17) children out into the winter cold so they can finally start earning me some money--though I will have to buy each of them a $1,000 child's fat bike first so they can ride though those blizzards:
Yeah, that seems like a sound investment for a bike a kid will grow out of in six months.
I'll take seventeen.