Last weekend at the Yarraville Festival, I was assaulted by a maniac with anger-management issues.  I believe this was because I had a bike.

On the day of the Festival, Feb 11, I was due to start work at 11am.  My place of work is close to the intersection of Ballarat and Anderson Streets - smack bang in the centre of the festival district. I ride my bike to work.
On arriving at Anderson Street I saw a large crowd across the middle of the road.  First instinct is to avoid the people, so I manoeuvred my bike behind the marquees and displays along the footpath.  At one point, the footpath became too overcrowded with stands and equipment, and I had no choice but to negotiate my way through the crowd.  I walked through the crowd of people with my bike, wearing a bright yellow safety shirt, and lights blinking.  I would have been easy to spot by anyone pedestrian paying attention.
Once through the crowd,the street was clear for a distance. I sat back on my bike and proceeded to peddle slowly and carefully through this gap, when I suddenly felt a series of violent pulls on my backpack - as someone was trying to pull me off my bike.  The fact that I was going so slowly saved me from serious injury, as I was able to remain stable.
When I turned to look at what had caused this, a man was screaming abuse at me and accusing me of riding my bike blindly through the crowd and running over his foot in the process.
I got off my bike and went back and confronted him about the assault, and he continued to abuse, intimidate and bully me in front of hundreds of witnesses in the middle of the street - again accusing me of riding through the crowd and running over his foot.  I told him that even if my bike had accidentally come in contact with him at all, that did not give him permission to assault me. He continued his verbal abuse, and I moved away to the footpath to contact the police.
Due to his attack, my phone was actually in pieces, and I struggled to get the battery back in place before I could call the police as I was traumatised and shaking.
Two "officials" from the Maribyrnong Council approached the man in the street, spoke to him, and then came to me. They both took the defensive stance of the irate idiot standing in the middle of the street, who realised by now that I DID in fact contact the police, and started taking photos of me with his phone camera.  I corrected these two as to what really happened (No, I was not riding my bike through the crowd, I walked it).  The woman who introduced herself to me as the "Risk Manager" of the festival trivialised the situation, and eventually goaded me into dropping the assault charge and letting this criminal continue his enjoyment of the festival. 
Imagine if a pram had bumped this man (a grey-haired guy around 55 years, who should have more emotional intelligence) - would he attack the mother pushing that pram?  There were unmuzzled dogs wandering through that crowd - some were bull terriers and greyhounds.  What happened if one of these dogs bit him in a crowd?  Would he attack the owner?  I don't think so.  The verbal diahorrea emanating from this man's mouth was punctuated with the words "YOU CYCLISTS ..."
I believe that the events involving Shane Warne last month, and the media's ridiculous attempts to support him in the face of a civil case have incited hatred against cyclists in Melbourne.  I did not sleep for two nights after this attack, and became quite ill.
I drive, and I ride.  I see, and am affected by, more stupid drivers both when cycling and driving, than I am by cyclists.  Pedestrians are also not blameless by blocking lanes in both directions on shared paths, refusing to move to let a cyclist past, and walking their dogs on long leads.
I have emailed my complaint to the Maribyrnong Council, the Yarraville Festival organisers and the Footscray Police.  Will let you know what response I get ...

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Hi Debra-Jane,

Sorry to hear about the ordeal. The best way to collect evidence is to record all your trips using a spy camera built into your sunglasses. This is very discreet, e.g. nobody will even know they are being recorded. I have bought a high definition camera from Hong Kong at an awesome price, see link below:

I have already collected some useful evidence. If all of us do this then we can post to a website where the public can have a peek at all the idiots in our society. Let me know if you are interested to get a pair of these sunglasses and I can help where I can.



I like that idea.  Such a shame that it will come down to this.  Will look into it.  Do you have any of the hi def camera recording posted anywhere that we can see?  How good are the glasses?  I use darkest possible/UV and polarised lenses as my eyes are quite sensitive to sunlight.  

I can't tell where the lens of the camera is from the pictures.  Is it built into the bridge?  If so, the camera probably can't be repositioned on some other pair of glasses, hey?

Just reading through this, that's an appalling way for that man to behave, especially over reacting to simply moving through a crowd. Invariably some people have very low impulse control & even lower thresholds, funnily enough I've seen, as no doubt many others have too, worst behaviour from people on foot, in queues or at festivals.

Let us know how you go with follow up, regardless of what the council staff said, I would of documented what occurred, obtained witnesses and proceeded with an assault charge.The likelihood of charges being made is low, but reporting such events is important, i.e.: don't allow people to intimate you or get away with immature & inappropriate behaviour.

Well, initially I received an email from the council saying they would refer my complaint to the very female person who was involved in the incident.  I wrote back and told them I was not interested in a response from that particular person (I already know her position on the event ...), so today I received an invitation from her supervisor offering to meet and discuss.  In the interim, my email to the police bounced back as incorrect address (which I got from the website). So I forwarded my complaint to a police officer I know there, and he has spoken to the Sgt in charge of the festival - who will apparently raise the matter at a debrief with the council in a bid to improve pedestrian movements.

I'll meet with the council guy on Friday and let you know further then.

So I met with the council guy.  He told me the police had brought up my incident at a debriefing meeting, using it as an example of the lack of free-way lane for people who need to access the place for reasons other than the festival in a safe manner - but more importantly, to allow emergency vehicles to move around the festival.  He told me there were several issues that day, and there was insufficient safety personnel around.  The festival is run, unbeknowns to me and probably the rest of Yarraville, by the Commercial Hotel owners, not the council.  They run it as a commercial concern.  That sucks, in my view.  So the council will take it over from here on and make sure it is safer for all to enjoy.  Incidentally, despite the assaulter's apology and admission of being in the wrong on the day, it appears he actually sent the council a complaint about me!  Bring on the camera, I say.  I don't care about legalities of recording people.  The assaulter certainly didn't ask my permission to photograph me!

Fact, Federal Privacy Laws affect evidence gathered by unnotified cameras. It can be classified as eavesdropping, even if you are a party to a conversation, if other parties are not informed you are recording them. If you record evidence, have a GoPro or similar, VERY visible on your helmet and point to it saying you are recording your ride and any conversation. If they ask you to turn it off, you may make the case that you are entitled to gather evidence to prove your case, but if they still insist on turning it off, you must turn it off. This law overrides any state law. Cameras are very useful, but you may find yourself faced with charges if you don't comply with privacy laws in their use. Essentially, if you wear a camera as part of your ride, and evidence is gathered on an accident incidentally, that's probably admissable, but if you record a conversation without permission, it's likely to be ruled inadmissable and will be ruled so if you are told to stop recording it and you don't.

Steve, which part of the act says this? I would be interested to see it. The Office of the Australian Privacy Commissioner says: "The Privacy Act does not cover individuals acting in a personal capacity,"

The Victorian act says you can't do it without the other persons knowledge unless:

"the installation, use or maintenance (of optical surveillance devices)
 is reasonably necessary for the protection of any person's lawful 
interests." 1999 Sect 7, 2 (ii)

Which is easily used to allow recording, particularly in this case.

I've just bought a Kaiser Baas video to record my commute so I am interested in this.

Cheers, John

Yes, I'd also be interested in this clarification.

This might impression is that Federal privacy laws pertain to organizations and authorities, not individuals. Much of the Victorian law does too, but (from a blog so it is not the final word):


You can't use an optical surveillance device to view or record a Private Activity. Whether the place is a 'public place' or a 'private place', or whether public or private property, is not relevant in Victoria.

 Private Activity is any activity which is carried on inside a building in circumstances where you may reasonably assume the parties to it don't want to be seen by others, unless the parties should reasonably expect that they may be seen.
  • If you are a party to the activity, surveillance by you is not restricted. No consent by the other parties is required.
  • If the activity is happening outside, surveillance is not restricted.
  • If the parties should reasonably expect they may be seen by people other than themselves, surveillance is not restricted.
  • If the circumstances indicate the parties don't care if they are seen, surveillance is not restricted. 

Seems to me that you're ok to video anything outside in a public place. Not sure about case law, but if you are really worried about it then talk to a legal service.


I'll stand corrected.

I only know what I've been taught in my media job for the past 25 years. (Probably gives away who I work for, too. Oh well.) If the other party says stop recording, you must stop recording, whether you're a freelance recording on spec or there on assignment from an organisation. In that training we were given examples of case law which included security video. Also, there's a huge difference between incidental recording, like installed CCTV, and personal recording, which most privacy and media law sees as being like photography. (Which, as an example, there are cases of photographers being charged with assault for taking a photo when requested not to.) Fixed CCTV is usually remotely monitored and can't reasonably be turned off or gain consent from the control room. A camera on a person can reasonably be turned off on request and isn't subject to an editorial process - essentially a "loose canon" which could be used to unreasonably undermine another's reputation.

Of course, public interest may be a valid defence but, if you're charged, the burden of proof for public interest is on you and not guaranteed.

Oh, and thinking about the aspect of video on a bike helmet. By all means have one, just cover yourself (in both senses of this term ;-) with indication that you are recording your journey so that others may give thought to their next action. Your video will have a much better chance of standing up in court. Lets hope it never comes to that for anybody.

Hi Steve, I think your training is correct and you are right - the only difference is that  you are acting for an organization rather than as an individual, thus are subject to those laws. As an individual with a a camera on your helmet I don't think you have to respond to someone asking to you to turn it off as you are carrying out a private activity. You can take a pic of anyone you like in a public an individual, but not if you represent a news organization. I wonder where foot-in the-door journalism sits with this?


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