Making Brisbane more Cyclist Friendly

Looking at ways to encourage Brisbane citizens to hop on their bikes (Liana Walker)

Brisbane citizens are often encouraged to opt for riding bicycles over other modes of transport. They’re better for the environment and are a great way for people to stay fit. But how do you encourage more people to swap their car keys for a bicycle helmet?

Councillor Adrian Schrinner has proposed the answer may be making the helmets optional.

Currently in Queensland failing to wear a helmet will set you back $126 and for some this hefty fine discourages use of bicycles for smaller routes. However since the introduction of the mandatory helmet laws in the early 1990’s cyclist have accounted for between two to five per cent of all road fatalities annually, significantly lower than countries without mandatory helmet laws.

Why do we have mandatory helmet laws?

Will relaxing helmet laws result in more riders? (Liana Walker)

Wearing a helmet reduces serious injury by nearly 70% as found in an  international report into helmet safety presented at the Safety 2016 world safety conference in Finland.

RACQ Spokesperson Lauren Ritchie says helmet laws were initially brought into Australia because of their proven record of protecting riders from serious had injury or trauma.

“Helmets have been proven time and time again to save people from death and from serious ongoing trauma or brain injuries,” she says.

“So to relax (the laws) even on some routes is not a good idea in our minds.”

However CEO of Bicycle Queensland Ben Wilson says most bike users already choose to wear a helmet so relaxation could encourage more riders.

“In Australia in the medical world we’re getting very few head injuries because people are wearing helmets,” he says. 

“In most cases helmet wearing rates vary between 60-80 per cent.

“So we could actually take off the law that has gained more and more acceptance as time goes by and replace it with more of an international standard and get slightly more people riding bikes.”

He says the laws need to reflect the bicycle infrastructure available.

“The helmet law has to address the fact that helmets generally are not compulsory with the basis being in countries where there are far better bike facilities than what we have,” he said. 

“Or they’re in countries with even less bike facilities than what Australia has and in those cases its very high injury rates, such as third world or developing countries where the injuries are quite catastrophic.” 

How do you make cycling safer?

Safer riding facilities overseas (Paul Krueger – CC)

When the question was put out to Brisbane Residents on Facebook on if Brisbane City Council should be doing more to encourage safe cycling, overwhelmingly users were in support of using building separated bicycle lane infrastructure.

Notorious cyclist black spot Stanley St, Woolloongabba, is one of the first spots in Brisbane to undergo separated bike lane infrastructure. Other projects include the Kingsford Smith Drive, Hamilton and Sylvan Road, Toowong.

Mr Wilson agrees separated bike lanes is the best way to get people on their bikes.

There’s no better solution than separated bike facilities, that’s a proven fact that’s out there,” he says. 

Has the smart phone replaced the SLR?

The short answer is no, and it won’t be anytime soon. However in digital journalism the smart phone definitely has a place.

I hear you asking, why Liana? Why are you so persistent that a smart phone can’t do the same job an SLR does? Do they not both take photos?

Well random reader, you’re right. They do both take photos. Here let me show you some I took on my phone.

Isn’t he such a good boy?

But look how good he looks when I took the same photos on my SLR.

What’s that? These second photos look infinitely better than the first?

How is that so?

Well, in the first image on my iPhone I had the choice of shoving my phone in the sleeping dogs face or using digital zoom. I opted for the second option because what sort of cruel human wakes a sleeping dog? And realistically you’re much more likely going to need to use zoom at events such as press conferencing where you might end up sitting closer to the back.

This is as opposed to the SLR where I was able to use optical zoom and get just as close a picture from much further away with far more detail than the first.

Looking at the second one, there’s probably less difference other than the lighting. Given the natural lighting was good in this scenario it wasn’t hard to get a decent picture on my phone. But with my camera I was able to manipulate the amount of light let in to really bring out the vibrant colours of this Good Boy’s™ fur.

Here’s where it get’s interesting…

Night time.

Look I really tried to find a good example of a night time photo. This is really the best I could find because smart phones are yet to be able to manipulate aperture and shutter speed and until that day comes this is what night photos are going to look like. Paired with digital zoom they’re basically trash.

Okay yeah at this point I might be showing off a little, but look at what the right aperture, shutter speed and ISO can do even in the dark.

Okay we get it, SLR’s are the best smart phones suck. But you said smart phones do have a place, where is it?

Social media.  As explained in basically every QUTOJ1 lecture, social media posts with photos have much higher engagement than those without. It’s no surprise really.  But think about it, these photos taken on SLR’s are HUGE files. I’ve had to actually seriously decrease their sizes to even be able to upload them to this post.

There’s also the process of taking them from the camera, moving them to a computer and then taking the photo to whatever the destination is (whether it is online or to print).

In a world where speed is just as important as accuracy, there’s actually no time to waste with this whole process. If you want to get a tweet out with a picture, use a smart phone! Want to utilise Instagram stories? Smart phones are great for that too!

What they haven’t replaced is high quality imaging in both print and websites.

Online Journalism Live Blog: John Oliver

For those of you like me who haven’t heard of John Oliver until around 50 seconds ago, my 2 minute search on google informs me he is a comedian most well known for his show Last Week Tonight. The 40-year-old English man was also in the Smurfs so that’s kind of cool. But if his face is familiar it’s probably because you saw him in Community.
Today, we shall dive into Oliver’s critique on Trump (comedian talks about Trump – how original) with a live blog on an episode of the show.
(PS fun fact old mate John is a taurus so I sort of already don’t like him)



To summarise:

Trump is easy to make fun of because he just continues to say stupid things without actually fact checking.

Thanks John Oliver for letting me know something that hasn’t already been told to us in hundreds of other political commentaries.

10 Minutes of me surviving Survivor

Ahh yes a survivor challenge where survivors survive and but the real survivor is me suffering through this 10 minute immunity challenge, as seen below.


After watching this 10 minute immunity challenge, I still don’t want to watch this show.

Bachelor in 2 Minutes

That’s right, 2 minutes of the bachelor and I’m here to watch it.

Below peer into my thoughts as I watch this short segment of a show I’ve never given the time of day


Okay…. yeah now I know why I don’t watch this show

Look What You Made Me Post

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past 24 hours you would have either heard this song or at least heard of it.

It appears – and to quote the lyrics – the old Taylor is dead. Which kind of sounds like something I would have said at the ripe age of 14, but never mind.

What’s interesting is the different types of news organisations who have decided to jump on board the Taylor train.

We have the usual crew sharing their opinions including:

And of course,

However, the release of Taylor’s new single has done this weird thing where what would be usually be considered pop culture news, has managed to slip it’s way into more serious news sites including:


Taylor Swift drops new single Look What You Made Me Do

And more surprisingly:

Taylor Swift’s new single Look What You Made Me Do lists Right Said Fred as cowriters

It’s not the first time pop culture and hard hitting news have collided, most commonly seen in celebrity deaths. However it’s paramount to the fact that news is becoming more and more click driven. I mean, why else would the ABC be running this story?

Generally speaking if I’m interested in finding out about music news I would be heading straight to the music websites (or more likely letting them appear on my facebook feed).  Brisbane Times isn’t exactly where I’d expect to hear about an artist dropping a new single, and it’s certainly not something I’d be looking for on their website.

But there it is, both Fairfax and the ABC jumping on board the Taylor train in hope of getting even just a small slice of the revenue pie. And considering I clicked on and read both of these articles, I guess it’s working.

Life’s a pitch

It’s 6:55 at night and I’m sitting at a bus stop madly typing away on my phone as I’ve finished a long day at work as a capitalist slave, when I realised two things:

  1. I have a pitch to do.
  2. I need to write a blog post for #QUTOJ1

Fortunately for me that pitch happens to be for everyone’s favourite Buzzfeed alternative Junkee which, in case you never changed from dial-up internet, you’ve probably heard of.

And so if you’ve heard of Junkee you’ll know that it is in fact a website on the internet.

How fitting that I have to write a blog post about online journalism as I am preparing myself to pitch for some online journalism! Which I also left until the last minute?

Pitching is this weird thing that I guess you sort of touch on at uni but it’s not until you’re out and working you really realise how important it is. And it kind of feels like pitching for online has a whole different art to it.

For example, I spent two weeks working for ABC Wide Bay where every morning started with me chatting to the producer about what I was going to chase for the day. Although it was important to keep the audience in the back of my head it never really crossed my mind as to whether I’d care or not if they liked my stories?

However for Junkee, it’s like there’s this need to not only impress the editorial team but also the readers?

Will anyone actually click on this?

Does my style really suit?

Is this even a good story?

What will the internet trolls say?

What if the editor hates my idea?

I guess you never really think about these things in broadcast journalism because at the end of the day, most of the people who are tuning in just have to accept whatever you present to them.  But with online, they’re actively choosing to read your story.

And that my friends, is why life is a pitch.

Top 5 worst things people have actually said to me on a date

1. “You know you’re meant to try impress people on dates”

And here I was thinking I could just really on my good looks.

2. “I don’t really approve of tattoos”

Yeah right after he asked me about the tattoo on the back of my leg….

3. “I’m not anti-shark, I just don’t like them”

Side note, sharks are my favourite animal so…..

4 “…”

As in I don’t think this guy actually said a single thing beside “yes” “no” and “mmm”

5. “You need to drink more”

From a guy who turned up 2 hours late and totally wasted…. goodbye.

Better things the government could spend $122 million on than a postal vote for same sex marriage which could literally just be passed in parliament

But also anyone who hasn’t registered to vote yet please do so!

1. Protecting the Great Barrier Reef


You know, that reef that is valued at $56 billion dollars and is currently being harmed by crown-of-thorns starfish and mining giants? What if we just… did more to protect it? Classic.

2. Housing for the homeless


The 2011 census states there are over 100,000 homeless people in Australia, but more recent data suggests there could be up to 300,000 people sleeping rough. Imagine if we built more social housing to help home some of these people?

3. East Coast Railway


That train which for years everyone’s been like “we’re gonna build it! we’re gonna do it!” Yeah it’s gonna cost a lot more than $122 million but what if we actually started to invest in it?

4. More airports


I don’t know why, but I hear people talk about it a lot. So why the hell not, lets get some more airports.

5. A new space station


While we’re on the topic of flying, why not just go into outer space while we’re at it. (Except the moon, don’t go there)

6. Flying monkeys


Because that’s equally as ridiculous as spending $122 million on a NON-BINDING postal vote for marriage equality which is something that could just be passed in parliament because that’s literally what we elect politicians to do?

7. The big rainbow


Like all the other big things we have but it’s a rainbow.

Was it in the stars?

Being in your twenties is a complicated time. It’s a time where you’re starting to discover who you are while often juggling work, study, family, friends and relationships. It can start to be a bit overwhelming.  

Any new relationship can be scary, fun and enticing at the same time. But if there was any clue as to the likeliness of your relationship working out, wouldn’t you want to know it? 


For some, they choose to look to the star, to see if the astrology of their potential partner is an indicator of whether or not they are compatible. Sometimes it is just an afterthought, like when you break up with someone and say to yourself “oh well, he was a Taurus, so it’s no wonder things didn’t work out!”

However, there really is no substantial evidence as to whether astrology is accurate or not. Vlogger and biologist Hank Green took to Twitter saying “astrology is not a thing, but if it helps people analyse themselves and ponder their decisions and their future.”

Although Hank Green has a science background, he has no specific knowledge in Astrology. But with a large online following his words always have a wide reach. Other well known scientists, including ethologist Richard Dawkins, have gone out of their way to publicly pronounce there is no scientific evidence that links the placement of the cosmos to the likeliness of life events. 

Professor at The University of Essex, Nick Allum, adds that it is common for people to confuse astrology with science. He argues there is often a confusion between astronomy and astrology, not just because of the similar names, but also due to the similarity in the study.


For professional astrologers, scientific evidence is not necessary, as astrology is largely regarded as a belief system.  For each astrologer, how they go about this belief system simply depends on their own undertakings of the study.

Professional astrologer Ashtara, says her work is deeply psychological with a spiritual undertone.

“I like to work with my clients on a soul level rather than superficially,” she said.

Her knowledge on the compatibility between different signs makes her an asset to those trying to figure out their own compatibility.

Given the chance to know the likeliness of a potential relationship working out, six eager volunteers agreed to go on blind dates to find out if what the stars say is true.

Alex, 19, Engineering Student + Chloe, 19, Design Student

Sagittarius and Leo  – The Perfect Match


“First thought for me was he looks a lot better than the photos,” Chloe said with a laugh after her blind date with Alex.
“From the start he was really easy to talk to.”

Alex, an engineering student described Chloe as ‘colourful’ after seeing her bright pink hair for the first time. Initially he was taken aback by Chloe, but when the conversation started flowing everything changed. 

“Once we started talking we had a lot in common,” Alex said.
“It was a surprise.”

“I feel like on an intellectual level there was a very good connection, and he was pretty cute,” Chloe said with a big grin on her face.  After going on what both of them considered to be a good first date, Alex and Chloe were stumped to think of things they disliked about each other. Alex looked up to the right in recollection, but failed to think of anything. Similarly, Chloe couldn’t fault Alex. 

“I guess, there’s nothing I don’t particularly like, it’s the just the fact that, I don’t know what will happen next?” Chloe said. “If there’s something about him that I don’t like, then not yet.”

From just one meeting Alex was able to speak of Chloe in high regard, describing her as smart but ‘not just textbook smart’.  Chloe admired Alex’s commitment to detail.

“He had a trait that I really liked. He tried, he tried to dress himself nicely,” she said.

“[I like] people who present themselves nicely, they [and] put effort into their lives,

“I like people who know what they want and go for it. That’s something I like about him, and in general.”

Astrologer Ashtara says the two fire signs, Leo and Sagittarius can easily generate a love.

“Sagittarius will need freedom to explore whereas Leo may want to lead the exploration,” she said.

“The two together can get on well provided each respects the other’s personal space, and spiritual and religious beliefs.”

Saxon, 19, Creative Industries Student + Danni, 21, Photographer

Libra and Taurus – The Wild Card Match


When Danni and Saxon met there was an instant connection. However unlike Alex and Chloe, this connection was not of the romantic nature.

“I thought she was pretty cool, chill, relaxed,” Saxon said speaking of his initial impression of Danni. They found they were able to get along well from the get go. 

“He’s very open, he’s very friendly,” Danni said regarding Saxon.
“I think we are definitely compatible, we have a lot in common a lot of the same interests, we are both very easy going and have a similar sense of humour.”

After spending time together Saxon described Danni as nice and relaxed.

“[Danni’s] not one of those people who were just jumping all over the conversations,” he said.

Despite admiring many of Danni’s qualities, Saxon didn’t feel as they could be anything more than just friends.  He reflected on what differed Danni from the sort of person he would normally date.

“It’s hard because I’ve never really thought about that sort of thing,” he said after a long pause.

Danni’s reaction was similar. After stopping to think for a while, she said she preferred to date people who were more independent. Saxon being her junior by two years definitely had an influence on her impression.

“Humour is definitely a big one, I can’t date someone without a sense of humour… I like people to be really friendly and not uptight,” she said.

On terms of compatibility, they sat on the same page.

“As friends yeah, anything more than that no,” Saxon said.

As for seeing each other again? “Yes! Probably not in a romantic aspect, just as friends,” Danni said with a laugh.

Ashtara says the earth sign, Taurus, and air sign, Libra, have the ability to get along really well.

“[They] can experience a harmonious and balanced relationship, especially when their values are aligned,” she said.

Jacob, 20, Content Producer + Lizzy, 20, Speech Pathology Student

Virgo and Aries – The Bad Match


Just like any two strangers meeting for the first time, Lizzy and Jacob were eager to see how their blind date would go. 

“I was just really scared,” Lizzy said nervously laughing. 

Both Jacob and Lizzy were really stuck for words to describe their date.

“It was fun,” Lizzy said without much else to elaborate on. Jacob described the experience as “pretty chill” but didn’t offer any further detail. It was obvious the two of them were trying to be nice, but there was no obvious connection.   

Initially Lizzy didn’t have much to say about how compatible she felt with Jacob.

“It’s so hard to make that assumption from just looking at someone,” she said.

“He just seemed really kind.”

Similarly, Jacob couldn’t find the words to describe how he felt initially.

“I honestly couldn’t say, it wasn’t something that crossed my mind at that point,” he said.

Although Lizzy didn’t have anything bad to say about Jacob, she barely had anything overtly positive to say.

“I don’t know, I thought he was cool,” she said, unable to think of anything else.

In spite of Jacob not feeling a strong connection with Lizzy, he didn’t want to completely rule out the possibility.

“I wouldn’t say fully [compatible],” he said.

“The conversation sort of died off towards the end, but I suppose that’s normal for someone you just met,

“I didn’t feel like there was really anything special there, but it was still a nice time.”

In terms of whether they would want to see each other again, neither had a definitive answer. Lizzy said she would maybe want to see Jacob, whereas Jacob said maybe in a social context.

Ashtara explained that Virgo and Aries have very different personalities.

“Virgo, an earth sign is usually practical and efficient, absorbed in task,” she said.

“Aries, a fire sign, can be impulsive and think only of self,

“The relationship could work well if Virgo works with the detail and routine of everyday living while Aries pursues activities.”