Cycling in Sydney Australia
This might sound like a silly idea, and may not work, but its something that struck me whilst reviewing this thread (in particular the letter to the radio station by Andrew K as listed on the thread):
It is also something that I have noticed happens a lot on Reddit (which is another website i use to waste time instead of doing things I'm supposed to be doing...)
I wonder whether Sydney Cyclist Forum (and other cycle forums) could develop a bit of a culture of encouraging people to email/send letters to media outlets, newspapers etc when they have uninformed segments regarding cycling. I don't mean angry, ill-thought out or abusive letters, but ones that may make the editors/producers/DJ's etc. think.
These media feed off popularity and the thoughts of the 'masses' - they generally do what they think is popular because they want readers/listeners (and in the case of radio DJ's on commercial, they want to seem funny and popular...)
So my idea is, whenever you see/hear such an uninformed article - post it here (and on other forums) along with the contact details of the manager/editor/station....
Imagine if every time one of the local radio stations mentioned something uninformed about the cycle lanes, or cyclists, or the rights of cars, they get 1000 emails and/or letters from cyclists politely explaining why they were wrong/silly/uninformed etc.
This could extend beyond media - as a CEO, if one of my staff, in a corporate vehicle (some of which have the company logo/signwriting) did something illegal/dangerous towards a cyclist (or pedestrian) and a video was uploaded to the interweb, and I then received 300 letters from cycling public saying how disappointed they were, it would make me really sit up and listen.
Maybe it might start to change the culture of stupidity
I think I understand what you are trying to say. But really this is where something like BicycleNSW comes in. We need a good orginisation with someone with the drive to push it to educate the general public.
I agree that BicycleNSW has a place in these things...definately they need to step up and be more 'out there' with this sort of stuff.
But at the end of the day, even if Bicycle NSW have one person on call fro media every morning, its still only one voice, and will be disregarded as a 'paid representative of cyclists'.
The internet, twitter and forums like this get their power from the numbers of people.
Sound like what we need is a letter writers' group.
You're on to something here Andy!
It's something I've been talking to a few people about, and hinting at here. I just need to find / make the time to write more about it.
Basically using Sydney Cyclist as a rallying point to help organise people to take action. We have good numbers and smart people here, and the site can be used to organise... stay tuned!
A couple of us (only a few known to one another beforehand, but all resident in the same area) are in the process of arranging to meet John Sidoti (our local MP, he of the sterling 'cycle lanes are bankrupting drivers in the Sydney CBD' contribution to Hansard a few weeks ago). So that organising can already be done here... stay tuned!
This sounds quite a lot like the modus operandi of GetUp which seems to work very well, although GetUp has big numbers. It also has a lot of capability built into its website - for enabling members to send emails very quickly and easily and to sign letters/petitions very easily.
Simon was on RN a few weeks ago and mentioned something about setting up instructions/infrastructure/something like that to help other setup something like getup - maybe worth following up on.
Getup campaigns make getting involved very easy. Checking their site they already have a section called communityrun for getting your own campaign up and running, hopefully using their brilliant infrastructure for campaigns and email sendings to relevant parties.
What I'd like to see is an easier way to respond to ridiculous media stories so not sure if the Getup platform would be suitable for such constantly changing targets but its worth a looksee!