Wear your helmet in Fremantle. The Police are coming to get you …

street watch Fremantle Gazeette jan 22 2013

Fremantle Gazette, January 22, 2013, page 23

Once again the WA Police in Fremantle are all about “protecting” cyclists, not from motorists mind you in their two tonne+ vehicles; no from them silly selves. It seems that if you don’t wear a helmet you are putting your “own safety and livelihoods” at risk according to the “informed” Sergeant Mish Iskra at Fremantle Police going by her statement in the weekly Street Watch segment in the Fremantle Gazette, January 22, 2013, page 23.

However, if a motorist decides to pass you dangerously close, an act that one cyclist describe as being like having a gun fired over your head (and I agree), intimidate you with their weapon vehicle or worse that is okay going on the past response from Fremantle Police and from the now Deputy Commissioner Stephen Brown.

Why do I get the feeling that Sergeant Iskra has her priorities wrong? Personally I don’t bother reporting dangerous driving (with video evidence) to Fremantle Police because I know they will not act; heck they would rather book me for not wearing a helmet than actually do something to address driver behaviour.

So you can guess that I am I not surprised we don’t get a Street Watch article from Sergeant Iskra on driver behaviour towards vulnerable road users.

Whilst personally I prefer to wear a helmet and have no problems with the enforcement of the law in itself, I am not convinced that helmets are be all and end all and from what I have seen of the research, there is no clear evidence to support the position taken by Sergeant Iskra or this continuing blitz nor do I suspect the Police’s and hospital data on cyclist serious injuries and deaths does either. I guess informed policing is to much ask for.

Heck I see far more ninja cyclists, cyclists without lights, which is damn more dangerous than not wearing a helmet. Why not a blitz on that if we must have a blitz on cyclists or here is a thought do something positive and have a program giving out low cost but effective lights to cyclists.

I would go further and suggest Sergeant Iskra needs to takes steps to get properly informed about cyclist safety before making any more of these questionable Street Watch statements and actually gets out there and enforces the WA Road Traffic Code in full and acts to protect ALL vulnerable road users.  You know she could take a leaf out of the book of her colleagues at Joondalup Police who seem to have a handle on road safety.

Maybe Sergeant Iskra would also like to get along and have a chat to cyclist groups locally such as the Fremantle Bicycle User Group or engage with cyclists online in the cycling safety forum at the Australian Cycling Forums. I would suggest that Fremantle Police and in particular Sergeant Iskra would gain a lot from getting informed about what cyclists actually experience on the road and maybe get a feel for what they should be doing as Police Officers employed to act on behalf of ALL the community and in particularly the vulnerable members of the community.

4 Responses to Wear your helmet in Fremantle. The Police are coming to get you …

  1. perthbiker January 29, 2013 at 10:41 PM #

    A good summary of the situation. Fremantle can now expect 20% drop cycling numbers.

  2. equineocean July 18, 2014 at 11:27 AM #

    Hi Andrew, I came across this post while trying to work out whether helmets are indeed compulsory in Freo. I’ve just moved back here after 5 years away and had heard rumours that there was a non-compulsory helmet trial underway in Fremantle – plus I see a heap of people cycling without helmets, far more than in Melbourne, so I wondered if the laws had been relaxed. Your post would suggest that this trial is just a rumour, and I can’t find any more about it beyond the initial suggestion of it in 2012. Do you know anything about it?

    • Aushiker July 18, 2014 at 3:52 PM #

      No change in the law and no trial. It is still illegal to ride without a helmet here in Fremantle, however as you observe ignoring the law is not uncommon.

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