Apparently Bicycle Network came to Sydney - from what I can see from their facebook page they appear to have set up their pitch on the north side of the bridge. Bicycle Network have some controversial views - they oppose the minimum passing distance, pushed for the equalisation of fines for cyclists in Victoria and staunchly oppose any repeal of MHL. Will they be any better at advocacy than BNSW? What do people think?

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thats good to hear  .Liverpool could do with better bicycle structure .All the outer suburbs flat ,ride into liverpool station ,good bicycling parking ,goodness it could like like Assen if it tried real hard

Are they giving away h-words as well, to make it "safe" for anyone to ride them?

Happiness Cycle is a crock. I can understand why BNV got involved: they get to register a whole bunch of potential new members and there's the additional benefit of all the media puff pieces I've seen in the past few months. It'll hardly do anything to get more kids riding bikes (gimmicks like this rarely do)  but geez, doesn't it look all so nice and caring.

Why not the 1m rule, surely thats something Sydney needs badly. Having recently visited Brisbane and ridden a couple of times while there, I noticed either people know about their law or they naturally give space to cyclists compared to Sydney.

I don't think there is a need for a separate thread on the helmet issue.  In relation to BNSW v BN we have canvassed the issues exhaustively enough, and given that the BNSW Board are unlikely to change their spots it's likely that change in NSW will come from elsewhere on this issue. That's a pity for the reasons outlined by Kathy and others, so a change of policy would be welcome.

Personally I'm doing what I can to help BNSW because in many respects they are a better organisation than BN. BN have been very counter-productive here in Victoria and they have a history of muscling in to other States (WA, Tas are examples, not sure about QLD) and ru(i)nning advocacy from Melbourne. In Perth the Bicycle Transport Alliance continues but diminished because the BN octopus took over Bicycle WA, formerly a sport cycling organisation, and advocacy in the West has suffered as a result.  If we are left with only one "peak" organisation their stranglehold will be very tight and they will have no competition, no comparison and their cozy alliance with Government, Motoring organisations and car companies will continue to make cycling advocacy a low priority for them.

I'll tell you a recent story about BN advocacy. Well, first some older history - the membership fee was increased a few years ago in response to feedback from members that they wanted to pay more in order to fund more advocacy. This year at a meeting of Victorian BUGs, the BN speaker told the BUGs that their advocacy was stretched very thin, because they had to cover the whole of AU and had only a few people in advocacy positions.  I wonder what the members, mostly in VIC, still paying more to support advocacy, think about that?

I wonder what the members, mostly in VIC, still paying more to support advocacy, think about that?

Do the members in VIC ever actually question anything about BN? Personally I don't know anyone who is a member or even likes the organisation so it's hard to tell.

My message to BN:

Bicycle Network,

I'm writing to express my dissatisfaction with the type of Advocacy
that BN has demonstrated recently and the implications for your
desired expansion into NSW.

Advocating for equal fines for unequal offences for cyclists is itself
offensive.  I'm at a loss to begin to understand how someone speeding
in a 2 tonne car is akin to someone riding a bicycle without a helmet
on a path in a park: these offences are nothing like each other and
yet in victoria they attract the same fine BECAUSE you advocated for
this to happen.  This is like some kind of anti-advocacy!

Advocating for continuing mandatory helmet law in the face of ongoing
debate over their efficacy as a safety device, their effectiveness as
a public policy and their deterrent effect on cycling is no help to
the promotion of cycling in Australia.  Awareness-raising of the
unique situation of Australia's helmet laws would be helpful.
Explaining the possible benefits of helmets as well as the possible
dis-benefits of helmets would be helpful.  Prompting informed debate
on the issue is what we need, not more of the same entrenched
thinking.  Anti-advocacy again.

Engaging in competitive behaviour in relation to your peers in other
jurisdictions, other peak bodies in other states, cyclist networks
etc. is ridiculous.  You should be collaborating and working with
these other organisations - not competing with them and threatening

In a nutshell, BN: you aren't welcome in New South Wales unless you
start changing your anti-advocacy into advocacy and unless you start
working collaboratively with the other bicycle organisations in

Their reply


Thank you for your message. In response to some of the issues you have, here are some explanations from evidence based studies;

Helmets have been compulsory in Victoria since 1990, and they were already in widespread use when the laws were introduced. So there is now a huge amount of statistical data from crashes and hospital admissions over an extended period. There is no disputing the data: helmets reduce head injuries significantly.

From the rider perspective, 99.9 percent of commuters in our last count were wearing helmets. This tells us that the wearing of helmets is normalised in the community. This means that that your claim—that helmets do not help in the promotion of cycling—cannot be supported. The laws are overwhelmingly supported. Those that oppose them are such a tiny number as to be barely measurable. So, the dante is over as far as the community is concerned.

Some of our material on helmet efficacy is here:

With regard to fines, Bicycle Network maintains that fines must be at a level such that they act as a disincentive to the behaviour that the laws are designed to curb. Otherwise the risk-associated behaviour will continue, and riders will continue to be injured or worse as a result. That fine level does not necessarily have to match the same offence for a driver, but it may.

Your comments suggest that you may be confused by our support for the introduction of the laws of dangerous riding, and dangerous riding causing death. These laws existed for drivers, but not for riders. We sought an equivalent law for bike riders. When dangerous behaviour by a rider caused a death, there was no penalty available to police which was appropriate form the crime. This was an injustice. We strongly stand by our call for the introduction of a similar law, with similar penalties, to deal with dangerous riding.

As for New South Wales, we already have many members in NSW and have for many years. The reason we are expanding further into NSW is that riders in NSW want us there, and want us to use our proven approach to improving rider conditions. Using our evidence-based approach we have been very successful over several decades and probably have the highest membership per capita of any bikeriding organisation in the world. If you want better conditions for riders, and want to increase the number of people riding bikes in NSW, then you should join Bicycle Network and help us transform bike riding in the state.

Signed, sealed and delivered by Garry Brennan. He responds with the same patronising crap to anyone who bothers to write to him. This is what you can expect to put up with now that this ghastly organisation is moving into your state.

99.9 percent of commuters in our last count were wearing helmets. This tells us that the wearing of helmets is normalised in the community. This means that that your claim—that helmets do not help in the promotion of cycling—cannot be supported.

How can you argue with this kind of "logic"?

Well, for super tuesday (for the commuters) and super saturday (for the other types) they don't ask you to tally the numbers of riders with and without helmets so the 99.9% must be right.

I would have to find the last 3 tues and 1 sat counts because I have counted the withs and withouts. Round here I did not make the 99.9% so this makes me sad.

My guess would be 25% without. The very first count I did was in the Sydney CBD with around 20% without.

Wow Baa Baa.  Such poor compliance rates in Sydney are truly depressing (think of the brain trauma). This is just one more reason you need Gary Brennan and BNV to sort out you reckless NSW scofflaws.

He's right about one thing: helmet compliance is very strong when it comes to work commuters here. It's hardly surprising given (a) the fines are bloody huge, (b) the police enforcement of the law is very strict compared to other states, and (c) enforcement is mainly concentrated along popular cycling routes during peak hours. If you ride to work without a helmet here then you'll stand out like a normal person beacon of scofflawism and you will get caught eventually. That's normalisation, BN-style.


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