In December 2003 13-year-old Daniel Morcombe was abducted from a bus stop on the Sunshine Coast and has never been seen again. A coronial inquest is currently under way. There is little doubt from the evidence that he was snatched by pedophiles in what from the evidence appears to have been as little as a minute that elapsed between two busses. That’s just how fast it can happen.
About 15km (10 miles) from where this happened last Saturday, a police patrol encountered a 15 year old kid riding his bike along a road without a bicycle helmet. The usual procedure in these cases is to give a warning, caution and then fine, if the offence is persistent.
For some reason the officers decided to use their discretion in this case and made him deflate his tires so that the bike was immobilized and tell him to walk the three kilometers home. They claim they wanted an option other than to fine him, but do not go into the details of why they did not use the option of a warning or caution. They do however point out that they went to his home to notify his mother, who was not there at the time but told an older sibling.
This begs the question of why the hell they didn’t chuck the bike in the boot, and take him home at the same time then let the whole family know the problem. Had the kid’s mother been present at the time and left immediately to pick him up, he would have still been in danger for some time in the intervening period.
Some research suggests that there are benefits involved in wearing helmets but the rate of head injuries was falling anyway prior to the introduction of laws requiring them. There is also evidence that they are a discouragement to riding. Lets face it, you just can’t leave them around when you get to your destination as they will be stolen, so they are a pain in the arse.
Certainly there should be some encouragement for the wearing of helmets, but the law itself is a draconian, nanny state, one size fits all solution to a minor problem.
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