April 25, 2015 Bulletin

Protest Ride Bulletin 25-Apr-2015

Its been a busy week for me and I felt the time was right to bring you up to date what’s been happening.

Boroondara Police

Sargeant Standish from Boroondara Police made contact with me after I emailed them to inform them of the protest ride.Sargeant Standish (who is a really decent man) spent considerable time explaining to me the measures that police had so far undertaken to try and capture the perpetrator. I think he was feeling a little defensive about the fact that this whole sorry saga had dragged on for so long and that the protest would shine a spotlight on him and Inspector Frost (who is leading the investigation).I told him that the cycling community was angry and getting angrier but we recognized that he and Inspector Frost had been doing their best with the resources that had so far been made available to them. I added that the purpose of the protest ride was to elevate awareness of the issue and to demonstrate the degree of anger and frustration felt within the cycling community.

He didn’t relay any objection to me about the protest or try and talk me out of it and importantly, confirmed that we would have a police escort on the day.

Media Coverage

Bit by bit the mainstream media is starting to get hold of this story. These are the things that happened during the week:
  1. Last Tuesday morning I did a photo shoot with The Age down at the Boulevard. I am waiting to hear from one of their journalists who will interview me and then publish a story in their newspaper.
  2. This coming Tuesday, I have an interview with Channel 9. They are preparing a more comprehensive news story with input from the police and other sources.
  3. Earlier today I was contacted by Richard Stubbs’ producer with a message saying that Richard wanted to interview me on ABC Radio. No date and time has been set yet.
  4. I have had contact with Matthew Keenan of SBS. He is eager for SBS to pick up on the protest, particularly because he and other commentators at SBS were discussing tacks on the Boulevard at last year’s Tour de France!
  5. I have been interviewed by Matt de Neef from Cycling Tips magazine and expect an article to appear on their website during the coming week.
What I have found out is that Anzac Day has been keeping the media busy, which is why nothing has appeared in the mainstream media yet. Given the events unfolding in Bali, I am a little pessimistic about seeing much happen this week either. I am confident however that it wont be too long before we get some really good press coverage.

The Bicycle Advocacy Network (you know who they are)

This has been without doubt my biggest disappointment so far.I wont name names here but what I can say is that I have spoken to almost all the significant players within the network; and I’m not just talking about having a conversation with the receptionist, in most cases I’ve spoken to the CEO of the organization.What I have found is that by and large, these organizations dislike each other and do not co-operate with each other wherever possible.

Moreover, despite the fact that they are supposedly representing the interests of cyclists, none of them (yet) has had the courage to publicly support the protest. Quite literally, what they are saying to me is “we love what you are doing, we just can’t say so”.

Their fear is that they will be marginalized by the police and other government entities upon which they rely. So, we here are left to fend for ourselves for now.

While this is incredibly disappointing, I am still hoping to change the minds of some of them by explaining to them that they will look ridiculous when the mainstream media knocks on their door asking them why they aren’t supporting their own constituency on what is ostensibly a safety issue.

Rest assured, when the dust settles, I will have something to say about the advocacy groups that don’t end up supporting us, and it wont be pretty.

Boroondara Council

I haven’t yet made contact with the council but expect to do so through the coming week. I am particularly keen to have the Boulevard swept on the Saturday before the ride.

Sunday’s Protest Ride

I am asking people who are attending to arrive at 8:30AM for a briefing ahead of rolling at 9:00AM. This will be an important opportunity for me to relay any last minute instructions for the ride.The details are on the website.

What can you do to help?

The single most important thing you can do is to attend the protest ride on May 3rd. The more cyclists we have on the starting line the more seriously we will be taken; and the more likely it is that someone within the network of government agencies involved will find the funds to erect surveillance cameras.The next most important thing you can do is to BRING ALL YOUR FRIENDS! The more the merrier. Reach out to your network via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Strava, email and carrier pigeon and bring along anyone and everyone that can ride a bike.There is also a petition going. If you haven’t yet signed it, you can find it here.

Bye for now.

George Mihailides



  • Jason

    Whilst I commend to taking action. Do you have any idea the cost and disruption required to erect cameras along the length of the boulevard. Not to mention the ongoing costs involved. For what will be little or no return. How is a camera going to pick up a someone in a vehicle dispensing tacks at night? In my opinion, it’s money better spent on other infrastructure projects (cycling related) awaiting funding.

    I won’t be attending your protest. Sorry, but I really don’t see it achieving anything worthwhile.

  • Gavin

    Good on you for organizing this. It’s disgraceful that the resources haven’t been provided to the police to do what is necessary to stop this. Shining a light on the issue through your protest will go some way to getting action taken.

  • Yoda

    Respect your view Jason but we will just have to disagree.

    Surveillance cameras have proven their worth many times over in other circumstances and given that every other approach so far has failed, escalation is necessary.

    One of two things will happen when the cameras go up:
    (1) The perpetrator may fear being caught and will stop. That would be a fantastic outcome, or
    (2) The perpetrator will probably think just like you and believe they can’t be caught (and keep dropping tacks). Eventually they will be identified.

    In any case, if you are a cyclist, I’m not sure you wouldn’t want to voice your concerns over what is happening and attend the protest ride. The more cyclists we have there on the day, the more pressure there will be on the authorities to do more.

    Would love to have you there.

  • Marco


    For a long time, nothing has been undertaken to stop these tacks. The tacker knows that he/she can get away with it and cause trouble amongst the cycling community, for whom the Boulevard is an important part. Too many have already surrendered and started to shun the Boulevard.

    No one knows why the tacker is doing this, but we know that it is directed at us cyclists.

    We no longer want to live in fear to have a dangerous accident, but neither do we want to give in to such criminal behaviour.

    That is why we need to demonstrate our collective disagreement with this. This is not about blaming anyone other than the person who is endangering people’s lives.

    We try to raise awareness amongst the population to show that there has been a criminal offence going on for more than a year – an offence that not only endangers us cyclists, but also kids, pedestrians, pets, the tax payer and the environment.

    Dropping tacks under the protecting veil of the night is a cowardly act that we can no longer tolerate.

    If there is someone particularly worried about how we cyclists affect the neighbourhood around Kew Boulevard, we dare them to come forward and take APPROPRIATE measures.

    Dear tacker, come to the protest ride and tell us your story. We’ll gladly hand you the microphone. Go start your own petition!

    Over 1,300 people have signed our petition and clearly prove that the tacker’s actions cannot be condoned.

    Let’s end this once and for all and do what we like most: being able to ride, run and walk the Boulevard in peace without fear of being injured or killed.

    I agree with George, Jason:
    Think it over – we’d like to see you there!


  • Cliff

    I suspect the tacker (attacker?) is on foot. Nearby trails with no road access have also been targeted. As far as I can tell all (or most) tacks are dropped on the side adjacent to the foot path. Perhaps this information will assist in catching the person(s).

  • Steve

    I’m not surprised that none of the cycling groups will put their name to a protest directed toward the police, they’d be stupid to do so. I won’t be attending any protest endorsed by the non-existent Australian Cycling Alliance at non-existent website cycle.org.au.

    • Yoda

      Rather than focussing on what the police think of them, the advocacy groups ought to think about the very people they are supposed to be representing…that is us cyclists.

      The ACA responded to my tweets promoting the protest ride and offered their assistance. Given that I am a one man band, someone offering help was welcome and everything they have done since then has been in the interests of the protest.

      I’m not sure what your beef is with them nor can I understand why your sentiments about them would prevent you from voicing your disapproval at the lack of a resolution to tacks appearing on the Boulevard. If there is something I am missing here, please feel free to send me a message via the website.

  • Otto


    Agree with all your points except the one about the tacker coming to the rally and having their say. If they had that much confidence in their position and cause then i would have expected that they would have engaged with the council and Police long ago to rationally sort out the issue and come to a compromise with riders. Maybe they did do that long ago and got rebuffed, so they took it up a step to make their point. Suffice to say they will stay underground and maybe people need to look at an anonymous way this person could step back and try to negotiate a truce, because going public now I am sure would just see them targetted by some brainless person who seeks retribution for a couple of punctured tyres.

    Well done George for organising this and trying to get some action

  • Rick

    Little do most like to realise but it also impacts on the local residents of Kew and surrounding suburbs who decide to ride Kew Boulevard. What about your neighbours? Your kids at school? The kids I have seen having to push their bikes with their backpacks to wherever they are going…it is a senseless act and it needs to stop purely for the fact that none of us are any better than another person.

    I am fed up with the tacks and I’m also fed up with the motorists on Kew Boulevard who believe that they are more important than another road user. I will not tolerate some impatient person passing way too close to me or honking their horn because they feel like they’re more important…it is a quiet road…it is a shared road…and I will not stop riding Kew Boulevard.

    Well done and thank you for bringing our frustrations and situation to a head. We will not be defeated – it is not a fight.

    • Yoda

      Don’t forget the money its costing the local ratepayers to have the road swept…which has been up to $20,000 month.

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