Australian media have highlighted the plight of Sue Abbott, a cyclist who refuses to wear a helmet and who has been fined for not doing so. The fine is $67 which goes into a special fund to support victims of crime. Consequently, her drivers license has been cancelled and she is now threatened with having a baliff auction her belongings to pay the fine, now totalling $213. In an earlier court hearing she argued that damage to her head would be greater if she wore a helmet and a judge agreed. The judge’s decision was overturned by a new law and she appealed to the Attorney-General who agreed that the government’s amendments were unjust and had been changed but could not be applied retroactively. She still had to pay the fine. Her final argument is compelling: “Ms Abbott replied in vain, writing: ”There was no victim in my particular Australian crime and if I had paid the levy, as you demanded, I would have conceded that I was responsible to the many victims who require assistance from the compensatory fund.” She included in her letter her cancelled driver’s licence, writing ”I have no further need for it”. Now she is waiting for the state to remove her property.
Editors comment: I am entirely in agreement with the law but a large part of me admires her steadfast opposition and the lengths she has gone to oppose it.