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Australian Wheels of Justice

"A prominent Adelaide lawyer who killed a cyclist in a hit and run and failed to stop has been fined $3100 and disqualified from driving for 12 months. McGee, 50, was driving a four-wheel drive vehicle when it was involved in a fatal collision with father-of-two Ian Humphrey in SA's Barossa Valley in November 2003". The McGee case has provoked national discussion in Australia. This blog has been created to record these events and discussions.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Wheel of Justice - We have a NEW website!

At last Wheels of Justice have a 'proper' website and url address! Never fear though, this blog will remain as the main information archive for the McGee case and related issues.

So come over and visit Wheels of Justice's NEW home at

The site is still being loaded up with content and links, so please click and check all our information, as you'll notice it will improve almost on a daily basis!

Saturday, May 06, 2006

May 6: The Advertiser: DPP insults victims of crime, says MP

DPP insults victims of crime, says MP

THE self-confessed "villain" of Parliament, Nick Xenophon, yesterday demanded the State Government appoint an independent regulator to oversee the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions.

In an address to the SA Press Club, Mr Xenophon described the behaviour of chief prosecutor Stephen Pallaras, QC, towards victims of crime and their families as "an insult". He called on Attorney-General Michael Atkinson to instigate "decent, robust, independent" scrutiny of the DPP's decision-making.

Mr Xenophon said Mr Pallaras needed "to be kept on his toes" and should be forced to answer questions about the way he prosecuted some cases. He suggested former Kapunda Road Royal Commissioner Greg James, QC, would be ideal to conduct an independent inquiry.

Mr Atkinson, who attended the forum, said later an organisational review of the DPP's office was underway. He said the DPP's office had emerged "unscathed" from Mr James' inquiry into the hit-run death of cyclist Ian Humphrey. Asked about the status of Solicitor-General Chris Kourakis's recommendation he appoint an independent counsel to provide advice independent to the DPP, Mr Atkinson said: "I'm thinking about it."

Mr Humphrey's widow Di Gilchrist, who attended yesterday's lunch, supported Mr Xenophon's call. "There needs to be some radical changes in the way cases are prosecuted," she said. "Victims are not represented. They are treated as secondary items in the process." Mr Pallaras refused to comment.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Ride of Silence for Sydney - Saturday 20th May

Sydney Ride of Silence has now been organised. Contact Michael McGrath:

:: Leaflet here ::

Assemble: 10am Hyde park
Departure: (estimate) 10.15am
Destination: (approx) 11.30am
Macquarie Street, Parliament House

UPDATE: Forwarded message from Michael in Sydney:
The Sydney Ride of Silence is all set for Saturday, 20 May, 2006, 10 am at Hyde Park.

If you have any friends who can print flyers or posters for distribution, they are now available as pdf downloads from:

(the flyer is designed to be printed both sides to create two A5 flyers per A4 sheet)

Of course they can just be forwarded as pdfs with emails, or links added to other websites.

Ride of Silence for Brisbane - Saturday 20th May

Hi Guys
Just letting you know that there is a Ride of Silence ride is being organised in Brisbane for Saturday 20th May. I will be finalising the details of the route, times & meeting points on the weekend. I will be sure to let this group know. Please pass on the message to all your cycling buddies & your support would be greatly appreciated. In the meantime read what the Ride of Silence is all about on the International Site.

Jeff Isles

UPDATE from Jeff, Hello to you all.
Just wanted to let you know the details of the upcoming Ride of Silence to be held in Brisbane.

Assemble at Botanical Gardens
(Edward St. End) in time for a 10.00am departure.
After riding through several streets of Brisbane City we will arrive at Parliament House on George St.

Rules: Ride in formation (2 abreast). To obey all road rules. Ride as quietly as possible. A time to reflect on all our cycling buddies who have been killed or seriously injured whilst riding their bicycle.

Those who have been injured in a ride due to an altercation with motorists or due to inadequate cycling facilites (eg. poor road surfaces or poorly designed infrastructure etc) should wear a red arm band on the right arm (electrical tape will suffice) & those who have lost a cycling buddy in a serious road accident should wear a black arm band. This is purely symbolic & will raise awareness by all those people we pass as we ride.

Letters will be written & addressed to the Premier of Qld Peter Beattie, Qld Minister of Transport Paul Lucas & Lord Mayor of Brisbane Campbell Newman highlighting the daily plight of cyclists who travel on the roads of Brisbane & Qld & what steps need to be considered & implemented to ensure that safe cycling routes (on road & off road) are seriously considered to minimise fatalaties & serious injuries on our roads.

Please pass this onto any one you know who rides a bike or who would ride a bike if they felt it was safer to do so. Your support for the event will be greatly appreciated. Given the number of km's we all ride & the number of near misses we have all experienced on the roads due to poor planning. I ask that you spare some time to assist those of us who are attempting to make your lives safer on our roads. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any further questions.

Jeff Isles

UPDATE: From Yani in Brisbane:

Posters are here:

- 400 KB for net distribution (JPG interpolated bitmap with some artifacts)
- 1.8 M for high quality printing (ZIP compressed bitmap)

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Melbourne Memorial Ride of Silence May 20th

CyclistMelbourne memorial ride to honour the memory of ALL cyclists killed whilst riding their bicycle. 10am Saturday May 20, 2006

:: Leaflet available here ::

Assembly: 10am Federation Square footpath corner Flinders St & St Kilda Rd, facing Flinders Street Station

Destination: approx 11-30am Parliament House Spring Street

: City CBD streets approx 5-8km time permitting , several loops of Swanston, Collins, Elizabeth Street and Bourke Street.

: Two abreast, stop at red lights, obey all traffic laws, no corking, move slowly at speed of funeral procession, wear black armbands, wear any signage you think appropriate to stop disrespect against cyclists.

Invite: friends, family, to attend and speak at finish, we aim to have media, celebrities and cycling advocates address at beginning and conclusion. Authorities are advised this is an apolitical, peaceful memorial occasion.

Note: The worldwide Ride of Silence will take place from 6pm on 17th May in the USA, this time is not appropriate for Melbourne, in winter in the dark on a weeknight, and thus for safety and visibility concerns the Melbourne Ride of Silence will take place on Saturday May 20 at 10am

Russell Mockridge, Anthony Marsh, Amy Gillett, Luke Harrop, Darren Smith, Saul Pasque, Matty Cole, Penny Croft, Alan Scott, Ian Humphrey, Kyle Forth, Ken Kifer, and too many thousands of others in our communities and across the world have died whilst riding their bikes, it is a sad and poignant thing that too many have died doing what they love and celebrate in their life. We shall not forget them, be there, bring friends!!

Other cities feel free to join us in this moving tribute to the memories of our cycling kin. An initiative of Melbourne Wheels of Justice, Melbourne Ride of Silence and various Bicycle User Groups of Melbourne.

The Age: Encounter – Driving the issue home: Ian Munro speaks to Noel Ashby

A thought provoking interview with one of Victorias top police officers. Note the change in attitude towards policing road issues, his dislike of the term "accident" and yes, Noel is a keen cyclist.

Saturday Age April 29 2006

Encounter – Driving the issue home: Ian Munro speaks to Noel Ashby

Motorists need to change their attitude towards speed if we are to reduce the death toll, says the man in charge of policing the state’s roads.

Policing takes its practitioners to dark places. It confronts them with the awful consequences of human conduct, the intended as well as the unforeseen - the outcomes of sometimes malicious, sometimes stupid and sometimes just plain unlucky behaviour. And still, after all that, it has the capacity to surprise. Eight years with the homicide squad investigating about 60 murder cases did not entirely prepare Assistant Commissioner Noel Ashby for the realisation that the everyday tragedy of road fatalities can be even more sweeping in its effects.

"The striking feature that stays with me is that most homicides, while they have a significant amount of public focus and are clearly tragic in every way, have a really profound difference with road trauma," Ashby says. "That is because, those people that kill (on the road) often kill the person that's closest to them. "It is often someone they love deeply, and had no intent or desire to hurt in anyway. And suddenly they carry this massive emotional scar. For often the simplest, smallest of reasons, they have killed someone, and it's worse when they kill numbers of them.

"The ongoing trauma for that person is immense and the family implications, well, profound does not overstate it. "At least with homicide you often see a reason. It's a breakdown in a relationship quite often, and there is a reason, no matter how poor, how reviling the reason may be, there is a reason. With road trauma there is no reason. There's no intent to do anything, and that's a really significant emotional difference."

Ashby took charge of Victoria Police's traffic section late last year and began changing the way traffic policing operates. It is as though he has begun a battle for the hearts and minds of the state's motorists, reflected this week in the decision to reveal the 2593 approved sites where mobile speed cameras may be deployed. That decision was greeted with much scepticism by sections of the media and the public, for whom the newly rigorous use of speed cameras is commonly seen as a revenue-gathering exercise for the State Government. Police Minister Tim Holding seemed to anticipate as much when he said he wanted to shift the road safety debate away from issues such as the location of speed cameras and on to what can be done to slow down traffic.

Look back to the time the state's road toll was three times what it is now, and from a much smaller motoring population, Ashby says, and the circuit-breaker was the introduction of the compulsory wearing of seatbelts. That was accompanied by a similar debate about individual rights and government intrusion. Had the death toll from that time grown in line with the growth in the number of those licensed to drive, the toll would be more than 2000 dead each year, five to six times what
it is now.

Other factors that pushed the toll down were the introduction of booze buses, the Traffic Accident Commission graphic road safety advertisements and the beginnings of the speed camera program in the late 1980s. "Each of those initiatives had significant social debate, quite significant, and I think we forget that with the passage of time," Ashby says.

"Now we are at the stage where people regard not driving with your seatbelt as generally stupid. And drink-driving is no longer merely a social offence, which it was. We are going through a similar debate now. "The threads of the debate are probably the same. People did not think they would be injured without a seatbelt, or a significantly increased risk if they drink-drive. That's the same as now, but there is absolutely no doubt on all the evidence that speed is the major cause of road trauma.

"We are asking society to make a cultural shift in terms of their attitude to speeding. People can have the debate and say it's about revenue raising, but what we can do is to simply be open about what we are doing." It is a shift in thinking he remembers from his own youth when, as a teenage, growing up in East Brighton, the airwaves hummed with opinions about compulsory seatbelt laws. Since joining the police in the mid-1970s, Ashby has seen first-hand the road toll and the changes in behaviour it has brought. Even his recreation takes place on the road: with a group of mates he cycles about 150 kilometres per week through the eastern suburbs and out towards Yarra Glen.

Among the changes Ashby has overseen since late last year is using multiple booze buses in a co-ordinated deployment for a specific region of Melbourne instead of sending individual buses to several regions. The "wolf pack" deployment has lifted strike rates for detecting drink-drivers from one in 225 drivers tested to high as one in 56. Last weekend, it was one in 84.

"We spoke (last) December of using booze buses a bit differently. Instead of having one set up at say Broadmeadows, another one at Dandenong and another one at Footscray, let's use them collectively and in high-risk locations," Ashby says.

"We have done that three times now. We set up a booze bus on the Eastern Freeway; it's a bit hit-and-miss if we don't support it with other activity round it. "We know there's a number of people are going to go through other routes... we will now look at the option of taking that strategy of massed booze buses into regional areas. "Now, the last operation last week, we publicised it, we told people we were going to do it, and we still got a strike rate of one in 84, which was miles above the one in 225 that we are used to.

"We have also said we are going to take that program out to regional Victoria - perhaps we will have the scope with the seven booze buses which we have - which will soon have the capacity to test for drugs as well - to be able to target Ballarat and Bendigo a single night." The other shift in deployment of booze buses is the use of police intelligence to identify target areas. A noticeable rise in the number of drink drivers detected by routine police patrols may will be followed by a concentrated booze bus program for the area.

"It's similar to what's happening with the drug bus, which has a strike rate of one in 40 or 46 drivers tested," Ashby says. "People are staggered by that, but the principle behind that is to send the drug bus to high-risk locations where we know rave parties are, where we know nightclub strips are, because we don't want people using drugs and driving. "It's a better use of our resources, and more significantly addresses the main causal factors of road trauma. There's no doubt the four causes of road trauma are alcohol and drugs, speed, (unworn)seatbelts, and to an extent, and it's not an enforcement issue, it's more an educational factor, fatigue."

As part of the new overt traffic policing strategy, there will be a much-diminished reliance on unmarked patrol cars, and a corresponding increase in marked cars, including highway patrol pursuit cars. Traffic research indicates that even the brief appearance of a police vehicle can create a moderating effect on driver behaviour for up to 20 kilometres. High visibility cars then, police reason, are likely to significantly improve driving. But technology, in the form of moving-mode radar, which is taking the place of hand-held radar guns,means police in marked cars will be able to detect the speed of an approaching vehicle before the driver can recognise the marked car as a police vehicle.

This is true even for the bright yellow, highly marked highway cars. Ashby says moving-mode radars can identify the speed of an approaching car from several hundred metres away. Technology in another form holds the key to the next major improvement in reducing the road toll.

This is the introduction of electronic stability control systems, now available in a small number of vehicle models, and which hold the promise of keeping cars on the road in defiance of driver error. The TAC calls it "building in safety" for cars. But for many drivers, electronic control systems that can brake individual wheels to prevent sliding or road run-offs remain an untapped resource. The TAC, Victoria Police and car-makers as well as the State Coroner focussed on electronic control systems at a seminar this month, and see it as a key improvement to safety.

The hurdle is to have the systems introduced into fleet vehicles as standard fittings. In that way they will penetrate the second-hand market within several years and be widespread across the general population within a decade. Ashby compares the spread of stability control systems to the introduction of airbags: "Remember the discussion about airbags? Now you can't buy a car without at least one airbag, and we are moving to all-round airbags," he says. That does not change his basic message, however, that reducing speed is the most central element to reducing the number of accidents. Next month police will unveil another initiative by launching a road policing strategy. Among the proposals is the development of community-police committees to initiate feedback about local safety issues.

The idea is that the policing of roads in metropolitan centres will throw up different issues from regional Victoria, and that policing should adapt accordingly. "I don't want to prescribe who will be on the consultative groups, but obviously local government would have an interest -every time we do this, like our community safety panels, we get significant interest from the public," Ashby says. The new openness evident this week is an attempt to focus attention on speed again:
Police might well be saying: 'you know where the cameras are. You will be told when the booze buses are targeting your area: Don't say you weren't warned."

The time is right for a shift in strategy, Ashby says. "It seemed the debate was starting to drive the issues rather than the issues driving the debate," he says. "There was a very strong focus on revenue-raising and that wasn't good for road safety, because you look at those stats and you're talking about peoples lives."

If there was one other change he could make, maybe it would be to do away with the word "accident" as an explanation for what happens when lives are swept away. “People don't see the horror of road trauma, and how frightening it can be for the ordinary person who is there one minute, and gone in the most dreadful way the next. "It has such a significant impact on families in searching for a reason, and the reason is simple: someone's done something to kill someone. "That's why using the term 'accident' is bad - it's not just an accident, it's usually caused by speed, alcohol, (lack of a) seatbelt, fatigue or some combination of those.

"The scale of the trauma, it keeps coming. It's always there. In homicide we get something in the way of 55 or 70 homicides in Victoria each year, and you look at the scale of the road toll and it's significantly above that. "I can't think of any other form of death that occurs in society that society would tolerate in these numbers."

1975 - Graduates from Victoria Police Academy.
1981 - Joins homicide squad as a detective constable.
1986 - Marries Dianne. They have a son and daughter.
1988 - Joins accident investigation section at Brunswick as senior sergeant.
1990 - Graduates from Monash University in arts/public administration.
1996 - Becomes detective superintendent in charge of homicide, missing persons, armed robbery, child exploitation, rape and prison squads.
2005 - Appointed Assistant Commissioner (Traffic) having earlier achieved AC rank in charge of Region 5 - south-east Melbourne.

A keen cyclist, he rides about 150 kilometres a week through the eastern suburbs and out towards Yarra Glen.


Wednesday, April 26, 2006

April 26: McGee prosecution case could be dismissed, magistrate warns. 26/04/2006. ABC News Online

McGee prosecution case could be dismissed, magistrate warns. 26/04/2006. ABC News Online:
An Adelaide magistrate has warned that the case against lawyer Eugene McGee and his brother is in danger of collapse.

Fifty-two-year-old Eugene Norman McGee and 55-year-old Craig Patrick McGee are alleged to have perverted the course of justice in the hours after cyclist Ian Humphrey was hit and killed in November 2003.

Today Magistrate Fred Field said the prosecution has not provided enough information about the offence to the defence.

He warned that if there is not a more satisfactory response, then it is possible he will find that the proceedings should be dismissed.

Magistrate Field adjourned the matter for a month to give the prosecution more time.

The McGee brothers were charged because of recommendations from the Kapunda Road Royal Commission."

April 26: Lawyer's charges could be dismissed | | The Australian

Lawyer's charges could be dismissed | | The Australian By Lauren Ahwan.
A MAGISTRATE has threatened to dismiss criminal charges against a prominent Adelaide lawyer unless prosecutors better detail their allegations. Magistrate Fred Field said he was not satisfied with the prosecution's attempts to provide particulars of charges faced by lawyer Eugene Norman McGee and his brother Craig Patrick McGee.Both men were charged with conspiracy to pervert the course of justice following a hit-and-run crash in 2003 that killed a cyclist.

Mr Field told prosecutor Peter Brebner that he had failed to satisfactorily provide particulars, as previously ordered. The other crown prosecutor is Caroline Mealor.

Lawyers for the Mr McGees today argued in the Adelaide Magistrates Court that if Mr Brebner could not provide sufficient detail, the charges should be dropped – to which Mr Field agreed. "I should make it clear ... I'm not satisfied with the response to the order (to provide particulars)," Mr Field said to Mr Brebner.

If prosecutors failed to provide further information before the next court hearing then "I may be sympathetic to (the) application to have the proceedings dismissed", Mr Field said.

Eugene McGee was fined $3100 and disqualified from driving for 12 months after being found guilty of driving without care on the night he hit and killed cyclist Ian Humphrey, before fleeing the scene.

A subsequent royal commission found the lawyer and his brother returned to the scene a short time after the collision but, when stopped at a roadblock, did not identify themselves to police, resulting in the perverting justice charges being laid.

The brothers were yet to enter a plea to the charges but, if convicted, each face a maximum of four years jail.

The matter will return to court next month.

April 22: The Age - Driven to destruction

Driven to destruction
Car design and road conditions are not the main causes of traffic deaths and horrific injuries. It is our thinking that needs to change, writes Roger Rees.

There is a game traditionally played in Afghanistan called buz kashi, which comes from the type of competitive riding the Mongols went in for. On a great occasion some 300 men from different tribes would turn up to compete. The players in the war game of buz kashi do not form teams. In buz kashi the players ride with cold, often brutal, but brilliant intensity.

They are not absorbed in playing, they are absorbed in winning. Winning means to ride towards, snatch up and carry the 30-kilogram carcass of a headless calf to a prescribed circle, defending it against all challengers. This is not a sporting event, there is nothing in the rules about fair play. The game is won by achieving this single goal.

There are two fundamental differences between buz kashi and driving on Australian roads. First, driving on Australian roads is infinitely more dangerous than the game of buz kashi. Secondly, there is much preparation for buz kashi, as the riders and horses have trained carefully for the event. The discipline required and strategies for anticipation and manoeuvre have been handed down since the time of the Mongol dynasty of Genghis Khan, beginning in the 13th century.

In contrast there is next to no preparation for driving a motor car. "Ninety people killed on Australian roads in the week since Christmas". So read the headline, repeated in different form in every Australian newspaper over the Christmas/ New Year period. Since then it has only got worse. Six dead in Mildura. Five dead in northern Tasmania. Another 21 killed nationally over the Easter break last weekend. Untold pain.

But these very public tragedies account for only a small fraction of the real road toll. Multiply the roughly 1750 people killed on Australian roads each year by four and you begin to get close to the number of people who experience disabling brain injury. Each year 30,000 people end up at Australian hospitals with some form of brain injury, most from road accidents. The injuries range from minimal to profound.

The large majority recover, but some 8000 experience disabling effects for many years, and 2500 people each year are so seriously disabled that they are dependent for the rest of their lives. This group never work again, even though most are in the prime of their lives and should normally expect another 30 to 40 years of productive employment. At the end of each decade the population of people who have suffered severe permanent brain injury, largely as a result of road accidents, is equivalent to a country town the size of Mildura.

The mean age of this group of brain injured people is about 28, with a a ratio of 3.5 males for every female. The blame is all too easy to spread around. The "appalling" state of Australian roads is one popular theme. South Australia's Royal Automobile Association attributes that state's high accident rate to inadequate State Government spending on roads. A recent survey of Queensland drivers carried out by the Royal Automobile Club of Queensland likewise nominated improved road conditions as the best way to reduce the toll.

Some espouse airbags as the solution, despite evidence that even in head-on smashes airbags are of limited use. Professor Jack McLean of the Centre for Accident Safety Research at Adelaide University says the fitting of air bags represents a marginal safety benefit of "between 5 per cent and 15 per cent depending on the type of collision". (Wearing seatbelts, mandatory since 1970, reduces injuries by 45 per cent, he says.) Others cling to the belief that the statistics can be turned around with better vehicle design.

A Queensland government road safety summit in February targeted improved vehicle technology as the way forward and began with a commitment to introduce alcohol ignition locks in cars owned by repeat drink-drivers. It is true, of course, that design matters, and that manufacturers need to think not only of a car's occupants but also other road users. Four-wheel-drive vehicles are a case in point. They may be tougher, capable of moving on ever steeper inclines, protected by their huge alloy bumper bars. But are they really safer for the driver or the pedestrian?

At higher speeds or on wet roads they are less stable than the conventional sedan, and, because of their height above the road, drivers are less likely to notice pedestrians. (Motor bikes, of course, are in a category of their own. If you ride motor bikes, you are 16 times more likely to have an accident than if you drive a sedan.) Overall, however, there is nothing wrong with the modern car. Nor is there anything very wrong with our roads. Despite the criticisms, we have relatively safe roads that are continually being improved. Rather, it is the lack of preparation for the journey and the aggressive, irrational, often non-thinking behaviour that all too often characterises the driver.

Put simply, our road toll is high because we are not using our brains. And the main casualty in these accidents is, paradoxically, that most powerful and delicate of human mechanisms, the brain. This lack of clear thinking manifests on an individual level and a broader social level. Underlying our road toll is a general mindset that says that these casualties, or at least a good proportion of them, are an inevitable part of modern life — the price we have to pay.

What would happen if more than 100 Australian soldiers were brought home each month in body bags from Iraq? There would be a public outcry and the Government would inevitably withdraw our troops. Maybe some more vivid details from accident reports should appear in the media to help us be more aware of this madness.

Something like this: "The metal of the station wagon smashed into the driver as he was hurled into the windscreen. The tendons in his right hand and foot were severed and his left arm, his face and belly were gouged. Chunks of muscle were ripped from his right hip and thigh, and blood from his broken nose and smashed face covered the air bag."

I suspect that even this, with accompanying photographs, would have little effect because people watch this carnage nightly on television or DVDs as part of regular entertainment. The more horrific the movie the better the ratings. Is this insanity? We pride ourselves on being a scientific society; that means a society in which knowledge and its integrity are crucial. This involves behaving appropriately and therefore safely.

Yes, the human brain is an instrument for action, but before action it has to be an instrument for preparation. The effective organisation of such behaviour is lodged in the frontal and prefrontal lobes of our brains (the areas most susceptible to damage in road accidents when soft tissue is bounced around inside the hard confines of the skull). These lobes enable us to think of future actions, make plans and wait for a reward for them. One reward is arriving home safely because we have thought through journeys in advance.

Sociologists call this the "postponement of gratification". Yet, the urgency so often involved in driving, the need to overtake even in hazardous situations, the thrill of high speed — central to car advertising — are all examples of immediate gratification. Impulsiveness and aggression are a principal, yet rarely identified, cause of almost all accidents. Their roots lie within the individual and society.

On the one hand there is the person's state of mind, and on the other the environmental stimuli — aggressive advertising, the easy availability and social acceptance of alcohol or drugs, and ultimately a culture that does not stress careful preparation for the journey. Given that road travel is a central part of our culture — and that learning to drive is a priority for most teenagers — there needs to be long preparation for this daily, high risk activity.

Take the test and obtain the P plates: this is hardly the long and sustained preparation required for the war game of driving on Australian roads. Instead we need to approach a trip to the shops with the same single mindedness as needed for a game of buz kashi. The goal though, instead of victory over our fellow drivers, is to arrive safely. This involves a radical rethink in the way we teach our young people to drive.

It is not enough that they simply learn the basic physical and technical skills needed to direct and control their vehicles; they must be taught how to think. Firstly young drivers (and many older ones) need to understand that their feelings are created internally as a result of their own ideas and thoughts — the language they use to talk to themselves. They need to understand that when they are tense, anxious, angry or just tired these feelings generally result in poor judgement and often impulsive and risky driving.

When the self talk is negative and aggressive — "Get off the f--king road, you halfwit," or even "Do you think I've got time to wait for you!" — then the person's perception is distorted. For them, other drivers become enemies. The risk of fines shrinks to a mere pinprick of annoyance. Then he or she unthinkingly believes they can overtake on a bend in the face of oncoming traffic, or far exceed the speed limit on a gravel-edged country road. When this happens, the correspondence between perception and response breaks down and aggression becomes maladaptive, violent and dangerous.

For drivers, the cost of such extreme language and behaviour — severe brain injury and death for themselves or others — far outweighs any short-term benefits. Each week I observe the disabling and tragic damage to young lives. On just one 20-kilometre stretch of the Victor Harbor road south of Adelaide four deaths and 20 serious injuries occurred on average each year from 2000 to 2005.

Exceeding the speed limit, impatient and intolerant behaviour were the major causes. New drivers also need to know that they, and they alone, can learn to control their own thoughts, and to translate this into constructive driving behaviours. There are a couple of simple techniques that if practised can become as automatic as putting on a seatbelt.

The first it to visualise the trip ahead — a brief mind map of the route you will follow — and to imagine arriving safely. The second is to repeat to yourself a phrase — a mantra if you like — that will help put you in the right frame of mind for the journey. In my work with young people with brain injury, I sometimes have them read from the late Judith Wright's poem Homecoming: "Spring and the road is plushed with tender dust. The house waits near and is expecting him/" How much harder, with your mind filled with language such as this, to see the world as your enemy.

A simple piece of research could demonstrate the benefits. Let us suppose that 100 people in the high risk 16-26 age group are given training on co-operative driving. The training might involve videos, lectures and demonstrations, as well as role playing, anger management, problem solving and practice. The program would focus on developing each person's self-awareness, imagination, conscience and feelings in relation to themselves and other road users.

At the end of this brief period of training, we would choose, at random, another 100 young people within the same high-risk group who had not received any such training. Then, over time, we would compare their lives and their experiences of road accidents, assault and high-risk behaviours such as binge drinking and drug taking. We could call this project "A week of gentleness in the life of Australia". My hypothesis is that the trained group would experience significantly fewer accidents and traumas than the untrained group.

The opportunity to drastically reduce the death and maiming on Australian roads teeters in the balance. But it can only happen if we are prepared to change our thinking, language and behaviour. There will always be a sense of uncertainty, but we cannot maintain an informed integrity if, given our current knowledge, we allow the situation to continue — a situation in which we are driven by a ragbag of aggressive, irrational behaviours.

Ask anyone with severe, permanently disabling brain injury whether a change in thinking might have altered their lives.

Roger Rees is Emeritus Professor Disability Studies, School of Medicine, Flinders University. His latest book is Interrupted Lives: Rehabilitation and Learning Following Brain Injury , Melbourne IP Communications.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

March 14: Hit-and-run widow supports victims' advocate proposal. 14/03/2006. ABC News Online

Hit-and-run widow supports victims' advocate proposal. 14/03/2006. ABC News Online

The widow of Eugene McGee's hit-and-run victim says she still has not received justice, despite the South Australian Government's intervention. Di Gilchrist, the widow of Ian Humphries, has spoken in favour of a proposal by Independent MP Nick Xenophon for a victims' advocate.

Last year the Government set up a Royal Commission into the case after McGee was acquitted of causing death by dangerous driving. Ms Gilchrist says despite Premier Mike Rann often trumpeting his intervention in the case, she does not feel justice has been done.

"Well I guess the issue is that we haven't had any justice," she said. "A lot has happened admittedly but we're no closer to feeling a sense of justice to which we were this time last year."

Ms Gilchrist says her statement was changed in a court ruling. "My victim impact statement was changed significantly," she said. "There was court ruling on it so I don't think I can comment. The emotion was written out of it."

The Courts Administration Authority says the law imposes a duty on judges to exclude material from the statements which is irrelevant. Mr Rann says he is proud of his Government's efforts to tilt the balance towards victims of crime.

"I think we've demonstrated whether it's in the Nemer case or in the parole board area, whole range of other areas we've been prepared to intervene in the interest of the public and in the interest of victims of crime," he said.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Feb 26: The Advertiser: Wife of victim hits out at DPP

The Advertiser: Wife of victim hits out at DPP
Nigel Hunt. 26feb06

THE wife of the man killed by lawyer Eugene McGee in a hit-run crash has accused Director of Public Prosecutions Stephen Pallaras of being "insensitive and disrespectful" to victims of crime.

Diana Gilcrist-Humphrey, whose husband Ian Humphrey was killed while cycling on Kapunda Rd, near Freeling, is seeking an apology from Mr Pallaras QC, following a speech he gave to a Commonwealth Club lunch on February 15 which contained comments about the case.

Ms Gilcrist-Humphrey has also written to Attorney-General Michael Atkinson asking him to consider disciplinary action against Mr Pallaras. In the letter, obtained by the Sunday Mail, Ms Gilcrist-Humphrey says Mr Pallaras's "cavalier remarks cannot go unchallenged".

"The content of this speech demonstrated a distinct lack of sensitivity and respect for victims of crime – in particular the crime that led to the death of my husband," she states. "These remarks have betrayed the integrity of his office".

In his speech, Mr Pallaras gave a tongue-in-cheek summary of the controversy that has surrounded his appointment and his subsequent time as DPP. It included comments about the Kapunda Road Royal Commission, held in response to the public outcry over the sentence handed out to McGee.

"Next, I might say, what a curious idea it was to have a Royal Commission in relation to the part played by the DPP in a well-known case and, when it was over with no adverse findings to the office, say 'I told you so'," Mr Pallaras said in his speech.

In his findings, Royal Commissioner Greg James QC was critical of the DPP in several areas over its handling of the McGee trial. Ms Gilcrist-Humphrey said she failed "to comprehend how Mr Pallaras considered it appropriate to make such a statement". "My copy of the Royal Commission report clearly identifies a number of errors made by the office of the DPP," she states.

"I fail to see that Mr Pallaras's confrontational attitude is serving the needs of his office or his clients. "I consider it would be most advantageous if the current DPP made a concerted effort to appropriately represent the public in the administration of justice.

"Fundamental to this is the need for Mr Pallaras to ensure that all comments have a factual basis and are in no way going to cause undue distress to victims of crime."

Mr Pallaras was unaware of the letter until contacted by the Sunday Mail yesterday, declining to comment "until I have seen its contents". Mr Atkinson said he would "seek an explanation" from Mr Pallaras. Ms Gilcrist-Humphrey said she had not sent a copy of her letter to Mr Pallaras.

"He does not respond to my correspondence anymore, so it's a waste of time sending any to him," she said.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

February Ride of Silence Meetings

Now onto matters at hand. In Melbourne, this Friday 24 Feb, we're having a informal meeting down at Goat in Burnley. Probably make it later as I'm helping with a fund raiser for yet another project, the Melbourne Aeolian Ride. For those who came in late, it's on again ... 6.30pm+ Warehouse 1, 18 River Street Richmond. (entrance is on North Street just by the corner of Clarke St) Goat Management allows your trusty bike to be parked inside the premises & the doorbloke is very nice. As so are the wonderful staff.

Rough agenda of sorts:
- Ride of Silence + media strategy/event timeline,
- discussion of quieter venue for formal meetings every 4-6 weeks,
- Legal advice for WoJ, contacts etc
- Contacting/Involvement for the Amy Gillett-Safe Foundation,
- Possible Alexis or Warren 'cheersquad' for the Comms Games. A bit silly, but why not huh?

Detailed discussion via a.b if you're prepared to read through it all :: Ride Of Silence 2006 :: Australian Story: One Perfect Day :: Driver license test - questions about peds & cyclists?

The Ride of Silence is also being organised for Brisbane, so how's the enthusiasm levels or amount of interest in other states? The sheer energy behind the Adelaide WoJ ride last May really did inspire three other capital cities to organise their own rides, so lets utilise similiar energy and motivation for the Ride of Silence. With more focus, research, planning, awareness and media savvy - we can do it!

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Ride of Silence + Connecting Cycling Conference

Hi all,
I'll take the liberty of posting Rob's a.b link here about 2006 Ride of Silence. I'm sure he won't mind a bit!


The 2006 RIDE OF SILENCE is on May 17 at 7pm (worldwide at this time). Australia's RIDE OF SILENCE is planned for Melbourne and Brisbane.

More cities may add, please register (FREE) as a co-ordinator and set up your local ROS 2006 ride by visiting web site This is a worldwide event in its 3rd year where cyclists ride to honor the memory of all cyclists killed, maimed or injured whislt doing what they love Riding a Bike. Every ride is the same, protocols on web site

Ride of Silence MELBOURNE 2006
The route is subject to review and will be finalised based on input and riders wishes ( may vary to visit a site of a tragic death etc) The 2005 Melbourne Ride of Silence was from Black Rock Clock Tower, to Caf Racer and then a loop into the CBD.

Current Suggestion for Ride:
Start: gather from 6-30pm Library Swanston Street CBD ( Same as CM) at 7pm precisely, people read out names , then invite free riders to ride their route (naturally as they are all free riders ..right!) around CBD, Southbank, maybe back through CBD. Max about 15km

Input request:
* Suggestions on the route are invited treddly @ finger)
* Names to be honoured will be read out at start of ride again,send names and details.
* Spread word, invite riders, advise bike shops, organisations.

NOTE: This is not a fund raiser...if you cannot ride and wish to make a memorial donation send it to Amy Gillette Safe Cycling Foundation with a note that your financial support is in Honour of all Riders who have died and ROS.



My online response:
We're interested in a helping out with any media strategy of sorts,ie: basic reasons why such a ride was created really needs no further explanation to many cyclists. The nub is *other road users* and after the Womens Road Team incident in July 05, the media probably will be more open to the notion of RoS.

After attending the Melb Connecting Cycling Conference and hearing various presentations about modial shift, behavioural change and bicycle infrastructure, to me the most important aspect was *attitude*. When someone goes for their German license, 30% - 40% of the questions pertain to interactions with peds/cyclists. The onus is totally upon the vehicle operator. A similar situation exists with most European driving licenses. Appropriate bicycle infrastructure is vital, but simply pandering to aggressive road culture is a cop out that limits any available options.

Back to the Connecting Cycling Conference, I'll attempt to translate my copious notes + provide a link to John Puchers presentation. Incidentally John is co-presenting two talks at the Sustainable Living Festival at F(r)ed Square this weekend:

Health and Transport: Prof. John Pucher, Dr. Jan Garrad, Dr. John Merory, Elliot Fishman (host) Think stage:Saturday 18th | 2:30pm - 3:30pm

Re-imagining Our Cities: Prof. John Pucher, Prof. Peter Newman, David Engwicht, Dr. Jan Garrard (host) The edge: Sunday 19th | 12pm - 2pm

Monday, February 13, 2006

Feb 13: Herald Sun: New hit-run penalties today [13feb06]

Refer to the link to Brendan Saul link in the righthand column of this blog for further background to these new penalities.


Herald Sun: New hit-run penalties today [13feb06]
A NEW offence for hit-and-run accidents comes into force in NSW today, with a maximum penalty of up to 10 years' jail for motorists who leave a victim to die at a crash scene. The law, introduced by the State Government, compels a person who stops at an accident to remain there until it is reasonable for them to leave.

"These new penalties were introduced following the tragic case of young Brendan Saul, who died following a hit-and-run accident in Dubbo," Attorney-General Bob Debus said in a statement today.

"When a driver leaves the scene of an accident, leaving in his or her wake a dead or badly injured person, without attempting to render assistance, the fundamental code of civilised society is breached."

The laws force drivers to render all necessary assistance to an accident victim. Hit-run drivers face up to 10 years' jail where death results from the accident, while those who leave an accident which results in grievous bodily harm face up to seven years in prison.

Mr Debus said existing laws provided for up to 18 months' jail - and two years for a second offence - for failing to stop at an accident scene. "When such a relatively low penalty for failing to stop is balanced against the higher penalties for crimes like dangerous driving, there seems to be no incentive for drivers to stay and render assistance," he said. "

The legislation, to be known as Brendan's law, gives true recognition to society's abhorrence of those who injure their fellow citizens and then abandon them to die." Brendan's family had campaigned for changes to the law governing hit-run accidents after his death, Mr Debus said.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Feb 11: The Advertiser: Still work to do, says Pallaras [11feb06]

The Advertiser: Still work to do, says Pallaras [11feb06]: "Still work to do, says Pallaras. 11feb06

DIRECTOR of Public Prosecutions Stephen Pallaras says his office's strained relationship with the State Government is far from fixed. Mr Pallaras, since taking over last April, has clashed with the Government on such issues as the Paul Nemer case, the Kapunda Road Royal Commission and sentencing appeals.

'We're still working on it,' Mr Pallaras says. 'Things have been difficult and things need to be improved.'

Mr Pallaras, however, says he will not give the Government a wishlist before the March 18 election because he believes it is 'well aware' of the challenges facing the courts. In a move to quell 'uninformed criticism' of his office, he held an open day to give the SA community an opportunity to make up its mind about the office and its role in the state."

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Feb 6: It's just not fair

The Advertiser: It's just not fair

THE PARENTS of champion cyclist Amy Gillett, who was tragically killed in a road accident in Germany last year, have criticised an "appalling" penalty for the driver of the car that ran into her. Stefanie Magner, who lost control of her Volvo before ploughing into the Australian Institute of Sport road cycling team, has been fined $2300 and had her licence suspended for eight months.

The accident, on a country road on July 19 last year, left Gillett, 29, dead and badly injured five teammates. The 18-year-old Ms Magner was expected to face involuntary manslaughter charges. However, a German prosecutor said on Friday night a judge had signed off on the fine and licence suspension.

The decision was met with disbelief and anger yesterday from Gillett's parents, Denis and Mary Safe, still coming to terms with their daughter's death.

"We are absolutely staggered by the generosity to the girl," Mr Safe said.

"It is appalling that she could go out and kill our beautiful daughter and maim the other girls, some of them seriously for life, and walk away with not even a slap on the wrist.

"Any fair-minded person would think the sentence was ridiculously light.

"We are not looking for revenge, but one would hope for justice and there is no justice in this.

"We think about Amy every minute of every hour of every day and when this sort of situation comes up the grief is even more painful, if that is possible."

The prosecutor claimed the investigation had found no drugs involved and the inexperienced driver had not been speeding.

But Mr Safe said he could not believe Ms Magner had not been speeding.

"The surviving girls saw it unfolding in front of them. They saw a speeding, out-of-control car coming down the highway and they saw it kill Amy and then plough into them," he said.

Mr Safe said, despite the family's devastation, they would not appeal as it would not do them "any good".

He also said there were similarities with the Eugene McGee case – McGee was fined $3100 and disqualified from driving for killing cyclist Ian Humphrey in a hit-run accident near Freeling in November, 2003.

"It springs to mind how cyclists can be treated so poorly," he said.

"Someone goes out and kills my daughter and gets nothing."

Ms Magner's grandfather previously had said she remembered nothing of the crash and was full of sadness and remorse. Magner had only been driving for two weeks before the crash.

Australian cyclists Alexis Rhodes, Louise Yaxley, Katie Brown, Lorian Graham, and Kate Nichols – all on a training ride with Gillett – were badly injured.

Brown, who suffered a severed kneecap, ruptured tendons, broken ribs, collapsed lung and nearly had her left leg amputated, said Magner would be serving a life sentence of her own.

"She has her own issues to think about in remembering what she did," Brown said.

"Our lives have been turned upside down and Amy's life has been taken, so Stefanie has to live with that."

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

WoJ January News

WoJABAmysRideTicketHi all, hope 2006 finds you happy & healthy! Now, a roundup of WoJ related news....

1. Sam Powries letter published in Cycling News

2. Euan & I working on a planned 'cycling wiki'. Any contributions most welcome. Including hosting...more on that soon!

3. Elizabeth Wynhausen: Brazen displays of the unAustralian way. A rather acerbic review of unAustralian goings on - with a sizable mention of one Mr Eugene McGee..

4. Melbourne: SMS death driver gets her licence back :: aus.bicycle discussion thread

5. This Saturday (7/1) in Geelong is Amys Ride. The organisers are still taking entries up until the day. We are having a combined WoJ/aus.bicycle team. Also we have designed a 'team ticket' to be placed on your jersey ie: similar to a race ticket pinned to the back.

Should have laminated a.b spoke cards by Friday. If you want one, or both, please email or ph me: / 0407 825 467

Travel to Geelong - Steve & I have space for one more person + bike. Leaving mid-morning on Friday. Can also arrange for accommodation, safe storage space and showers at a friends place in Geelong East (near Geelong Showground/Racecourse). This is very near the Botanical Gardens. If you want the address details - call/email me directly. cheers,

Chris ;)

Saturday, December 31, 2005

Dec 31: Elizabeth Wynhausen: Brazen displays of the unAustralian way

Elizabeth Wynhausen: Brazen displays of the unAustralian way

December 31, 2005

IT is a truth universally acknowledged that the reticence once prized by Australians no longer gets you anywhere. In light of such a historic shift, this columnist proposes to honour those whose brazen behaviour has succeeded beyond their wildest dreams - let alone ours.

The "unAustralian of the year award" (and possibly of the decade) must go to former NSW premier Bob Carr. In August, seeming moments before the you-know-what hit the fan over the latest Sydney toll-road disaster, Carr quit as premier, saying he and his wife Helena liked the idea "that we could spend more of our time in a nice way".

Just 10 weeks later, Macquarie Bank, which had been involved in big-dollar tollway deals with Carr's former government, announced that Carr had been taken on as a consultant. Nice! Neither the bank nor its new consultant has denied he will get half-a-million a year, twice what he earned as premier. Carr keeps his $160,000 pension but has had to move out of a taxpayer-funded retirement office in the presciently named government office block, Governor Macquarie Tower.

Of course Carr is far from the first politician to accept a job involving the appearance of potential conflict of interest. Take the squad of former Howard government ministers - Peter Reith, Michael Wooldridge, John Fahey and Richard Alston - who soon after quitting parliament had accepted lucrative consultancies (or other well-paid work) with companies or organisations in fields which they had overseen as ministers. Some other Western countries require waiting times such as two years.

All this did not seem to worry Prime Minister John Howard, the unrivalled master of the official perquisite, who has found time, within his hectic taxpayer-funded travel schedules and his pilgrimages to Lord's, to pass legislation to ensure that all perks can be stripped from the employment contracts just now foisted upon the mugs who voted for him. Emerging again and again in the polls as preferred prime minister, Howard undeniably gets away with it, as did former Fairfax chief executive Fred Hilmer, who left with a cool $4.5 million, as Fairfax was saving money by thinning the ranks of journalists - offering scores voluntary redundancies.

Hilmer no sooner left Fairfax than he walked through the revolving door of the vice-chancellor's office at the University of NSW. It has to be said that as a former academic he surely knows more about universities than he knew about newspapers.

Though he didn't get away with it, the "Brendan Nelson award for showing your face in the media once too often" goes to Giuseppe "Joe" Barbaro, whose baby daughter Montana was abducted in Melbourne last year. Thus alerted to his double or triple life, the Canberra woman who is the mother of two of Barbaro's other children held up a wedding dress on television and said her engagement was off now she had learned he also had two children with Montana's mother, Anita Ciancio.

Barbaro's woes only got worse when NSW police who saw his face in the papers had him extradited to face drug charges. This year Barbaro was sentenced to six years in prison on those charges. He should have listened to advice and we know where he can get it.

The "Sol Trujillo award for unwanted advice from an expat pest" goes to Germaine Greer, who seldom stops haranging us. Greer recently responded to the troubles in Cronulla, 20,000km from her perch in Cambridgeshire, by anticipating "a bloody summer in Australia".

In what is always a strong contest, other professional expats have been beaten out by award sponsor, Mr Trujillo, the boss of Telstra,

who had just landed on our shores to flog off what remained of our once unique (and uniquely annoying) Telco when he and his imported lieutenants sent the share prices south by suggesting that the value would suffer if the Government failed to restore elements of the Telstra monopoly.

But Trujillo will have to share the "over-reacher of the year" award with Gunns, the logging company with the Government of Tasmania onside and a former Tasmanian premier on its board. Gunns, the largest logger of Tasmania's old-growth forests, is suing 20 environmental organisations and activists, including Greens leader Senator Bob Brown and a raggle-taggle group of students and others, for $6.9 million in damages, claiming that their campaign against old-growth logging has harmed its business. Gunns' first two statements of claims have been struck out of court. Last August a Victorian Supreme Court judge described parts of the second statement of claims, a 360-page epic, as embarrassing and unintelligible.

Confronted with hundreds of pages of other legal documents, former NSW roads minister Carl Scully, now Police Minister, seems to have murmured "take me, I'm yours", before signing off on the toll road agreement that gives one of the richest guys in Asia effective control over Sydney roads between William Street and the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Scully, a vegan, gets the "Billy McMahon award for self-delusion" for claiming that he would bring "sparkle" to the position of NSW premier. This claim seemed a shade less far-fetched when the job went to Morris Iemma, a droopy-eyed man few had heard of before he became premier. Confronted with the Cronulla riot earlier this month, Iemma threw his hands in the air and told people not to go to the beaches.

If Mark Latham, whose diaries gave a new dimension to the expression Labor rat, can be considered the year's political loser, the winner has to be Phillip Ruddock, the former federal minister for immigration, known for his zealousness in putting kiddies "of Middle Eastern appearance" behind barbed wire. Not only did he dodge the flack when it became clear that his former department had also deported an Australian citizen and put a permanent resident into immigration detention, but Ruddock had meanwhile been appointed Attorney-General.

Ruddock was far from being the only lucky lawyer but the luckiest of all has to be Eugene McGee, the South Australian barrister who escaped going to jail despite leaving the scene of a fatal accident. McGee was fined $3100 and given a 12-month driving-licence suspension after the judge accepted psychiatric evidence that he had avoided police for more than six hours after killing cyclist Ian Humphrey in 2003 because the accident had triggered partial amnesia related to a post-traumatic-stress disorder. The trauma had not stopped him telephoning his wife, his brother and a lawyer soon after the accident. Nor did his amazing escape from prison inhibit him from voicing concern that he wouldn't be treated fairly at a subsequent royal commission. Now there's boldness for you. But it's not over yet. McGee and his brother Craig have since been charged with attempting to obstruct justice.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Dec 21: The Advertiser: Courage in face of cowardice [21dec05]

The Advertiser: Courage in face of cowardice [21dec05]

PASSIONATE cycling bunch La Squadra Adelaide has vowed to continue riding undaunted by a reckless and cowardly attack by a motorist that could easily have killed them all. On a recent Sunday morning ride 10 cyclists were riding in a bunch on Bridge Road at Para Hills when a utility slowed so the passenger could smother them with the suffocating cloud from a a fire extinguisher.

Peter Larvin, a cyclist of more than 40 years who founded the group in 1986, said it was a miracle no-one was killed by the "reprehensible" stunt. "I was in the middle of the group.

"All I saw was this white cloud and it got into my eyes and my lungs - how we never came off is a miracle," Larvin, 57, said. "It's amazing nobody was seriously hurt or killed. We could've gone under cars." Larvin said first the men were "very angry" but later were just disappointed people could deliberately set out to so gravely endanger others.

"I just can't believe that with all the hype with the (Eugene) McGee case someone would be so stupid. With all that publicity you'd think people would give cyclists a wide berth.

The Grange computer technician said this attack was the most serious of a long line of on-road incidents. "You get the idiots who abuse you but this thing would be one of the worst. This was blatant because this guy must have been ready and waiting for somebody.

"But we'll just brush it off until the next time, I guess," Larvin said.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Letter to Adelaide Advertiser, 16/12/05

Posted on behalf of Sam Powrie

Letter to Adelaide Advertiser, 16/12/05. Adelaide cyclists might consider writing in with their own stories! Sam Powrie, BISA.

Is Adelaide really Australia's 'Cycling City'? Is it indeed a worthy host for Australia's 'Tour Down Under'? On Wednesday evening a colleague was attacked while cycling home on Prospect Road.

A laughing mob of hoons pulled alongside, threw a lump of wood at him and then sped off. He was knocked down at high speed, hit a parked car and suffered significant head trauma and shoulder fractures amongst other injuries. He could well have been killed! He is left with weeks off work and months away from his bike.

Earlier this year rock-throwers nearly killed car driver Damian de Wit on the Southern Expressway. After the culprits were caught we might have suspected a lesson had been learned. But it looks like the thugs are out there again, now attacking vulnerable road users. Throwing objects at cyclists is illegal under the Summary Offences Act yet anecdotal evidence within the cycling community suggests that it is a common occurrence.

Many cyclists have contacted me today with such stories and I note a recent anti-cycling letter from a reader declaring 'We're bigger than you, so get out of our way'. I appeal to all Adelaide road users to recognise that people on their bikes should not be 'targets' for either objects or motor vehicles!

Cyclists are the same and you or I. Over 70% of adult cyclists are car drivers. They are mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters and many of them are our children. They are simply travelling by 'human power', something that many more of us may soon have to consider!

Why should they face risk of injury or death at the hand of others simply due to their choice of transport? I remind Adelaide that the Tour Down-Under starts in 3 weeks away. As Chair of South Australia's community cycling organisation I challenge our Premier and Politicians to stand up and be counted in support of S.A's right to cycle on our roads in safety! I want to see our `hoon legislation' covering this sort of behaviour and for such drivers to understand what is at risk.

Think what will happen to Adelaide's image and reputation if an international racer is hit and killed by one of these idiots! All cyclists - local commuters as well as visiting professionals - must be assured they will be safe from such behaviour otherwise Adelaide could lose this important event and cycling development set back for years.

Sam Powrie,
Chair, Bicycle Institute of South Australia.

Bicycle Institute of South Australia - An Open letter to all South Australians. November, 2005.

Following posted on behalf of Sam Powrie

Bicycle Institute of South Australia - An Open letter to all South Australians. November, 2005.

South Australia faces challenges to its health systems (from runaway obesity, diabetes & cardiovascular diseases), to our environment (pollution, climate change) and our transport systems (increasing fuel costs, congestion & demand). Cycling can reduce the impact of all of these challenges on individuals and our community. However, maximizing the benefits of increased cycling requires support from Politicians and Government.

BISA feels that the community needs to know where our aspiring politicians stand on cycling issues. We are therefore asking the following questions of all those standing for State Election in 2006:

Problem: Many South Australians would cycle more if they felt it was safer to do so:
1. What initiatives will you seek to introduce to improve the safety of cyclists on our roads?

Problem: Obesity, cardiovascular disease and other activity-related problems are generating overwhelming pressures on our health systems. Involvement with cycling has been repeatedly shown to confer considerable health benefits for people of all ages.
2. What initiatives will you implement to improve the health of South Australians through cycling?

Problem: Rising fuel prices and associated costs of living are raising the profile and importance of cycling in our community.
3. What actions will you undertake to ensure cycling is encouraged and promoted as a viable and alternative means of transport in South Australia?

Problem: Changes are occurring that significantly threaten the environmental future and well being of all South Australians.
4. What commitments will you make to ensure that the role of cycling in reducing the environmental impacts of transport can be maximized?

Problem: The South Australian Government currently spends $1.50 per capita on improving conditions for cycling. The Australian per capita average is $3.00. Western Australia is currently spending $5.00 per capita.
5. Will you be prepared to increase South Australian funding for cycling to that of the Australian average of $3.00 per capita?

Details of all responses received will be made available on the BISA web site as they become available prior to the State Election on 18th March 2006.

Please address all correspondence/comments/questions to

Thank you,

Sam Powrie,
Chair, Bicycle Institute of South Australia.

SA: Survey of Cycling Policy & Program Initiatives - South Australian State Government Elections, 2006

Following posted on behalf of Sam Powrie

Sam Powrie,Chair, BISA Committee,
Ph:(wk) 8348 6000
GPO Box 792, Adelaide, SA. 5001

Survey of Cycling Policy & Program Initiatives:South Australian State Government Elections, 2006.

Dear State Election Candidate - 2006,

South Australia faces serious challenges over the coming years if it is to effectively address:

· escalating health costs -
· (generated by obesity and inactivity-related medical problems etc,)
· environmental degradation -
· (arising from air pollution, land use patterns, urban sprawl, road congestion etc,) and
· increased car private dependence -
· (which further reinforces the negative impact of both of the above)

While each area will require significant input from a range Government Departments to resolve, research has shown that cycling can significantly reduce the negative impact each of these issues has on our community.

In Europe, cycling accounts for up to 30% of all personal travel in some towns. This is in stark contrast to Adelaide where cycling accounts for only 1% of all private travel.

BISA believes that increasing the level of cycling trips taken by South Australians will contribute to addressing the above areas. However it will require that those elected to govern South Australia support initiatives that:

· promote the benefits of cycling via substantial and practical strategies

· provide infrastructure and supports that facilitate everyday cycling for all South Australians; and

· monitor Government and Departmental strategies, designed to address aspects of the above issues, to ensure they include cycling elements.

Ensuring that elected Members are responsive to issues facing society is important for the long term future of South Australia.

To ensure the public has information on these important matters, BISA is putting the following questions to all those standing for public office in the State Elections in 2006 to ascertain their views and support for the remedial actions required. We would appreciate your response.

· Many South Australians consider that they would cycle more if it was safer to do so:
1. What initiatives will you seek to introduce to improve the safety of cyclists on our roads and encourage more people to cycle?

· Obesity related problems are generating pressure on our health systems. Involvement with cycling has repeatedly been shown to have considerable health benefits to people of all ages.
2. What initiatives will you seek to implement to improve the health of South Australians through cycling?

· Rising fuel prices and associated costs of living are increasing the importance of cycling in our community.
3. What actions will you undertake to ensure cycling is encouraged and promoted as a viable and alternative means of transport in South Australia?

· Environmental changes are taking place that significantly threaten the environmental future of South Australia.
4. What commitments will you make to ensure that cycling and cyclists are supported to perform a greater role in strategies to address this matter?

· South Australia currently spend $1.50 per capita on cycling related activities. The Australian average is $3.00. Western Australia is currently $5.00 per capita
5. Will you be prepared to increase the level of South Australian funding to that of the Australian average level of spending per capita on cycling.

BISA will circulate a summary of your responses to these questions to cyclists and members of the general public, as they are received, prior to the 2006 State Elections.

Time spent responding to the questions will be valued and appreciated by the people of South Australia and contribute to them making an informed decision at the ballot box around important social issues such as health and transport.

Please send your response to me at or by mail to the above address.

Thank you.

Sam Powrie,
Chair, Bicycle Institute of South Australia.
Date 9/12/2005

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

WoJ Team for Amys Ride - Jan 7th 2006

WoJlogocutdown copyFor those in Melbourne and Victoria, who's interested in organising a Wheels of Justice team or volunteering to help with Amys Ride in Geelong, 7th January 2006? Refer to further details via website: Amys Ride and the Amy Gillett Foundation
Australian Cyclist: Sporting Stars line up to support Amy Gillett Foundation Charity Ride

At Goat on last Friday night, Suzie mentioned participating in the 45km ride, plus there are further options for MTB/Road rides.

I can explore further options for cheaper accommodation if required - and approaching potential sponsors. *Time is short*, so please let me know what you can organise in the next few weeks. Email:

Nov 27: Liberals consider establishing anti-corruption body

Liberals consider establishing anti-corruption body: ABC News Online

The South Australian Opposition says it will consider establishing a permanent inquiry into corruption by public officials if it wins the next state election.

The Opposition Leader, Rob Kerin, says cases including the so-called stashed cash affair, the Ashbourne inquiry and the Eugene McGee hit and run case have prompted the Liberals to consider the move.

He says anti-corruption bodies have been established in New South Wales, Queensland and Western Australia.

However Mr Kerin says other states have experienced costly problems introducing their respective anti-corruption organisations.

"You learn from their mistakes, you work out what is the best cost benefit way of going and then look at a final decision on whether you establish a body which looks at corruption within public officials," he said.

Nov 30: Tougher penalties for reckless drivers

Tougher penalties for reckless drivers
From: AAP November 30, 2005

SOUTH Australia's most dangerous drivers are facing up to life in jail, with State Parliament approving new penalties for the most serious offending, including hit and runs. The new laws, approved overnight, represent a 15-fold increase in the penalties for some offences.

People who cause death or serious injury in a crash risk having their offence declared aggravated – a fare more serious offence – if they try to escape police, are driving under the influence of drugs, are driving while disqualified or if they are exceeding the speed limit by more than 45kph.

In such circumstances they face a maximum penalty of life in jail.

Even for a non-aggravated offence a reckless driver who maims or kills faces a maximum penalty of 15 years for a first offence or life for any subsequent offence.

Premier Mike Rann said public tolerance of those who recklessly cause death and serious injury by dangerous driving had hit an all-time low.

"We want South Australians to be reassured that these type of offences will be treated the same as manslaughter," Mr Rann said. "In some hands, a car can be as dangerous as a weapon such as a gun or knife."

The new penalties follow the controversial Eugene McGee case, in which the prominent Adelaide lawyer ran down and killed a cyclist and then failed to stop but escaped without a jail term. His case was subject to a royal commission to determine if it was handled properly by authorities.

Monday, November 07, 2005

To know what is right and not do it is the worst cowardice

Sunday, Palm Beach in Sydney, a young woman and man were riding their bicycles. For what specific reasons I don't know. Maybe they were returning home, visiting family or friends or on a training ride. But somewhere along Barrenjoey Road at 4.45am the young woman was struck by a 4WD towing a boat. The driver failed to stop and render assistance.

She died at the scene. Her cycling companion escaped injury. God only knows the terrible emotions he experienced as his friend was mortally hit and lost her young life in front of him. There may of been mitigating circumstances to this fatal incident. These I will not speculate upon. But ostensively this driver showed a utter callous disregard for humanity. Even though he did later turn himself into police. But this question remains - how could ANYONE strike another human being, and then brutally leave them to die?
Victoria has recently experienced a cluster of hit-run deaths, news article from October 31:
A 44-year old woman is fighting for her life after the sixth hit-and-run in Victoria this month, acts which have appalled Victoria Police. Major collisions investigation unit officer Steve Ashley said the number of incidents this month, three of which were fatalities, was unbelievable. "I'm really quite ashamed that we're living in a society like that at the moment," Sergeant Ashley said. "To find that number in a month is terrible."
Queensland: Driver jailed for maiming triathlete Kellie Moule
A Triathlete hit while training last year by an unlicensed motorist affected by a sleep disorder has urged road users to show more respect for cyclists to avoid more families being torn apart in similar tragic circumstances.
Quote from Kellie Moule: "The laws are fairly tough . . . but I think if the attitude of people changes and there's a lot of pressure put on them to have respect for cyclists, then we have really won," Moule said. "Even if, as a motorist, you are angered at a cyclist you think has done the wrong thing, just remember how big and how powerful your car is and how small, fragile and unprotected the cyclist is," she said. "The cyclist is always going to come off second-best, and you don't just impact the cyclist, you impact their friends, their family, everyone."
Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity. - Martin Luther King Jr.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Oct 19: The Advertiser: Hit-run drivers face life in jail [19oct05]

The Advertiser: Hit-run drivers face life in jail [19oct05]
By Political Reporter JEMMA CHAPMAN. 19oct05

DRIVERS in South Australia who cause death or serious injury by dangerous driving in hit-run smashes or "aggravated" circumstances face life imprisonment.

Premier Mike Rann yesterday said the government would change the law to ensure "drivers get life imprisonment for killing or seriously maiming another" in "aggravated" circumstances, including the driver fleeing police, having a blood alcohol reading of 0.15 or more or driving under the influence of drugs. The maximum penalty for leaving the scene of an accident would rise from one year to 15 years for a first offence and life for a subsequent offence - up from 10 years. Mr Rann said that made the penalty for such an offence equal to that for manslaughter. "When it comes down to these hit-and-run merchants, it's going to be manslaughter from now on," he said. For non-aggravated offences, the maximum penalty would rise to 15 years.

The announcement came after Attorney-General Michael Atkinson revealed he had asked the Director of Public Prosecutions to appeal against last week's suspended sentence to a teenaged ward of the state who, in April, 2004, killed Riverland man Johnny Miller while drunk and driving a stolen car.

No Pokies MP Nick Xenophon and the Opposition called for an independent inquiry into the death and adequacy of sentence.

Mr Xenophon said the Government "needs to go much further" than increasing penalties. "If they want to remove any incentive for anyone to leave the scene of an accident, there needs to be a presumption that if you leave the scene of an accident, you've been driving dangerously unless you prove otherwise," he said.

Oct 19: Hit-run deaths to attract manslaughter charges. 19/10/2005. ABC News Online

Hit-run deaths to attract manslaughter charges. 19/10/2005. ABC News Online
Any person found responsible for causing a hit-and-run fatality will be charged with manslaughter, under moves announced by the South Australian Government. A 15-year maximum sentence will apply to a first offence of causing death by dangerous driving.

A life sentence will apply if there are aggravating circumstances, including fleeing from police or high blood alcohol levels.Attorney-General Michael Atkinson says licence disqualifications of 10 years will also be imposed on convicted drivers after they serve a sentence. "When an offender comes out of prison he's free to drive again the day he comes out of prison," he said.

"We're changing that to say that the licence suspension starts the day he comes out of prison." Premier Mike Rann says the new laws are based on the recommendations from the Kapunda Road Royal Commission into an accident involving prominent barrister Eugene McGee.

"We are now going to endorse and enact legislation to put Commissioner James's recommendations into law," Mr Rann said. "Manslaughter will be the charge - we're simply not going to muck around with this. "A car can be a lethal weapon. A car can cause in the wrong hands driven recklessly can wreck other peoples lives."

But shadow attorney-general, Robert Lawson, says increasing maximum penalties does not achieve anything. "Simply increasing maximum penalties all the time in reaction to particular events is not the solution to the law and order problems of this state," he said. "That is the cheap solution. It's the rhetorical solution of the Premier.

"That's his reaction to every sentence where there's any concern." Meanwhile, the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) is expected to respond within three weeks to the State Government's call for an appeal against a suspended sentence for a hit-and-run driver.

The driver was a still a youth in April last year when he stole a car while on bail. He collided with 47-year-old motorbike rider John Miller, who died.

The State Government believes the suspended sentence given to the offender was manifestly inadequate. DPP Stephen Pallaras says his examination of the sentence will not be influenced by public comment.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Oct 7: McGees answer charges 'under protest'

McGees answer charges 'under protest' Friday, 7 October 2005. 17:41 (AEST)

Adelaide lawyer Eugene McGee and his brother have been excused from attending their first Adelaide Magistrates Court hearing on charges of attempting to pervert the course of justice. Eugene Norman McGee, 51, and 55-year-old Craig Patrick McGee were charged after recommendations made by the Kapunda Road Royal Commission.

The lawyer for the pair, Jon Lister, told the court his clients were answering the charge "under protest". He requested the Director of Public Prosecutions provide him with a full summary of evidence against his clients.

The McGee brothers are alleged to have attempted to pervert the course of justice in the hours after Eugene hit and killed cyclist Ian Humphrey in November 2003. It is alleged Craig McGee conspired with his brother to evade authorities before police arrested Eugene more than six hours after the fatal hit-run.

Magistrate Joseph Baldino ordered the McGees present themselves to the court within seven days to sign a bail agreement, and adjourned the matter until next month.