Taupo Cyclist Threatened With Lock-up By Police
Press Release Wednesday 3 December 2003. For immediate release.
Taupo Cyclist Threatened With Lock-up By Police.
"Do you want me to lock you up?"
A Taupo policeman threatened to lock up cyclist and Cycling Health member Graeme Trass, after stopping him for bicycling without a helmet. The threat was made on State Highway 1 on the Taupo lakefront yesterday at 12:45 p.m.
Mr. Trass had provided his name and details to the officer and asked him, as is his usual practice, to mail him the $55 ticket for bicycling helmetless. When Mr. Trass informed the officer that he was going to leave, having provided all the details required, the officer responded "Do you want me to lock you up?". Mr. Trass responded to the effect that the officer could do what he liked, and left. The officer took no further action at the time, but Mr. Trass expects to receive a ticket in the mail.
Mr. Trass was shocked by the threat of being locked up over a very minor offence, with a normal penalty of $55.
The bicycle helmet law has failed to do what it was meant to do; make cycling safer. Trends in head injuries as a proportion of all injuries for cyclists have continued without any measurable impact of the law.
Cycling is a safe and healthy activity which shouldn't need special safety equipment. In the Netherlands, nearly everyone cycles; people see no need for special safety equipment. All the New Zealand bicycle helmet law has achieved is to make a fun, healthy and convenient transport mode less comfortable and seemingly more dangerous
The police officer's threat was excessive, considering the minor and victimless offence committed. The incident demonstrates the detrimental effect of the bicycle helmet law on police public relations. As the police enforce a foolish and harmful law, they lose the respect and support of ordinary New Zealanders.