On two separate occasions this week I have been told on this site that the answer to my concerns about the alarming number of deaths/injuries in the suburb in which I live(Tempe) that the solution is to join the Australian Cyclist Party.

Going to their website I expected to see news of these events....nothing! Facebook page....nothing?

So...I went to the websites of every cycling advocacy group I could find....silence all around.

Who does represent utility cyclists?

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There are 43 councils that make up Sydney.  These councils are in control of a lot of roads but in some cases are parochial and not professional. They control a lot of parking on road. The parking requirements enforced by councils in new unit developments can be driven by locals worried unit residents will park in "their" spot outside their house. 

Perhaps the state needs to be able to overrule a council to correct this imbalance. That was the basis for state planning departments calling the shots in that area to limit the effect of NIMBY locals. State governments in NSW have been gutless on council amalgamation. So they just need another way to ensure that some of these little councils are not holding back the "bicyclisation" of Sydney.

The OP is referring to local cycling advocacy groups. 

No one here can help the balkanisation of Sydney councils. What can happen is the creation of a cycling advocacy group that speaks for an area larger than one individual council, but smaller than the entire state. 

One that is covers the “correct” sized area, and is well-funded, has a chance. But no group wants to do it. 

I have observed in the last 5 years+ the creations, and failures of social media groups when it comes to effective advocacy. All heat, no light. The pure bottom-up, grassroots effort is not going to make big change in Sydney. And also the failure of a state-based, funded bicycle group (BNSW). What is needed, is a middle ground. Otherwise, there is no way for Sydney bicycle riders to project an effective voice. 

not going to disagree but will add that in my area it has mostly been holier than thou types who want to meddle. I'd gate crashed a couple of meetings last year and when confronted with information that their pet projects had caused traffic accidents they all refused to talk about the issues. I got on the local traffic committee and when a recent meeting was called, not one of those people responded to the meeting notice nor attended, they didn't like having to listen to people they claim to represent.

More than 20 meeting with council at various levels in the last 2 years with residents, again only on 2 occasions did one of those "representatives" turn up, and then they spouted incorrect numbers to try and say we were all wrong and they should have their way. And all of these meetings were outside office hours, usually 730 or 8am

If you want to address the bad representation to council sensible folks need to get themselves involved and help look for solutions to the issues, not just complain about things.

So you know, I'm member of the ACP, so will be biased. 

What are they/we doing? The manager of the page, or as he calls it "the Facebook Hamster", is currently on a long needed break. Like Colin says, there's only limited resources. There are a couple of volunteers doing the Facebook updates. Most have day jobs, kids to look after, a bike to ride etc.

Why join the ACP? The ACP is currently your one and only chance to get bums on seats in Parliament devoted exclusively to cyclists' needs. Having someone full time there would give us some bargaining power to get some (hopefully a lot of) cycle infrastructure funding, vulnerable road user legislation etc. Lord knows with all the hate media in Australia, there is no chance of having the majority changing their minds by themselves, or the current state/federal pollies paying attention. 

Here's the Policies for the ACP. There are a lot there targeting safety, plus funding for infrastructure. If you want to add something, new ideas are more than welcome. IMO, it's good news for utility cyclists. Do a quick google search on interviews to get an idea of the direction. The owner of this website is an adviser.

BikeSydney also does excellent work in stating the real problems clearly, and what can be done about it.

What are they doing?

Nobody wants to bell the cat. 

You should ask for your money back. 

Yep.

Most disturbing, though, is the OP being told to join ACP to have these immediate concerns addressed.

ACP looks more like a social club than a credible political party to me, which is a problem for no one except ACP, but it's a bit of a worry when cyclists are told the best way to have their issues resolved is by joining a political party that doesn't seem to do anything other than sign up members.

Even when and if they win representation their ability to actually do anything will be limited and dependent on other factors. Promoting ACP is one thing, but directing cyclists seeking advocacy to join ACP as some sort of solution is silly. They won't ever be our saviours and at the moment they're not even evangelising on our behalf.

These things don't just appear out of thin air...and the ACP wasn't even an idea 12 months ago. 

The thing about becoming a political party is there are a number of hoops through which to jump. First of which is to have a membership base, hence the need to recruit members. So criticising the ACP on the basis of having only done a membership drive in the less than 1 year of existance is a little silly. Though I will admit that attempting to recruit several hundred members without really having a policy position also seems a bit backwards, but there are reasons. 

On this they have assembled an "expert panel" and put up a list of basic policy positions but the line that the ACP will take will come election time is down to the members. Membership costs nothing other than a few moments of your time then you have the ability to help steer the direction. If you don't like it then work towards changing it or leave. 

Both in this thread and the BNvBNSW one are full of people pointing out the failings of our cycle advocates but offering very little in terms of what needs to be done or what they are doing/intending to do about it. Bit depressing really but it explains why cycling conditions are the way they are here. I can't see things changing until we sort this out TBH. Thats why I became a member of (and recruited workmates/family into) the ACP. Its something that, in my lifetime at least, hasn't been tried before and if we can make it work, great! If it doesn't then we haven't lost much/anything in fact we may have gained a great "social club" ;-)

I'm not demeaning the ACP endeavour and can appreciate the necessity for the recruitment drive.

My beef is with the practice of directing people to ACP as if it were an advocacy group, as if it does attend to the issues of the day. And it's not just at SC where it happens. It has even been suggested others should put aside their advocacy that may be contentious (MHL, for example) so as to allow them clear air to establish themselves.

A noble pursuit ACP may be, but being realistic there's little chance of them being elected any time soon so the only real immediate (and perhaps long term) value of the ACP is being an authoritative voice for cycling advocacy.

Their "silence" seems like a squandered opportunity to me, but given their invisibility suggesting people's cycling problems can be rectified by joining ACP is just insulting. Nevertheless, I agree, it would be great if ACP can be made to work, but if it doesn't, it would be better to have gained a great advocacy group than a great social club.

I did noticed on the ACP's @icycleivote tweet a couple of weeks ago they were focusing on getting the numbers up for the Victorian elections which are coming up at the end of the year.

They need more than 500 members to become a party in Vic but they do need more for contingency.

I think that it is better to lobby established parties. The Greens already are very pro-cycling eg this article http://greens.org.au/magazine/vic/janet-rice-bike 

One doesn't exclude the other.  You can both lobby the Greens and join ACP.  (Vote early vote often)

Since you asked: :-)

It has been an exciting and busy almost 9 months since we began this journey as the world's first cyclist/cycling party. The fact that we have succeeded this far will have surprised many.

Others here have already done a great job, but let me also try to address many of the questions raised.

1. We are not an advocacy organisation. We are a political party intent on acting directly through the political process to enact change through legislation and enactment of laws. Sometimes nuanced through changes in policy spending priorities. Our focus has therefore been to get on the ballots in time for upcoming elections to ensure we even had a chance to do something useful!

We do need advocacy groups to be strong and capable of supporting direct community action as well as our own efforts. We cannot nor are we interested in replacing this essential role. In concert we should achieve more.

2. We may compete for votes but are not against any genuine efforts by any other party. Our members come from all traditional political leanings which is a really healthy sign as it means our non-ideologically aligned approach is creating a coalition of sorts that no other party can match. We find people are ready for parties that address pressing concerns without the additional "baggage" of ideologies or promises they won't or can't keep. Our membership of nearly 2,000 also brings more people on board than might otherwise engage in the political process. That we believe must be a good thing.

Having said that, we have also indicated from the beginning that there should be no need for a cyclists party if the other parties dealt effectively with our challenges. In Denmark transport policy is long term and signed on by all parties. How refreshing! We would love to champion that sort of thinking here.

4. All of the Committee members are volunteers. We are just 5 at the moment with two vacancies. All of our Committee have other jobs and have often had to sacrifice other commitments to help get us this far. They have also helped finance the efforts to date. None of us own mines so our efforts are modest and assisted by modest donations (capped by us at less than $1000). I am personally grateful and humbled by their level of commitment to the party.

5. We are assisted by our unpaid Experts Panel; State Coordinators (WA and Vic); Hamster Associate Editors and other members who have volunteered their time. We need more to come forward but this is where - as with advocacy - those that complain loudest often disappear fastest. We need to bridge that gap and other ones too to build a broad enough base to have a chance at success in this or future rounds of elections. Yes, election success is a very long shot but one we are prepared to take if only to raise the awareness and stakes for the other parties.

6. We do also want to build a different sort of political party that is "lite" as in it requires less of the traditional layers of branches and power brokers and advertising and huge donations. We think it is time for a party structure that removed the "Hollow Men" and used the new online tools to create a new model that is more representative, responsive and engaged without the overheads or strings attached. This is challenging and will need to evolve but the alternative model has been exposed as totally corruptable and outdated.


If you have read this far you may be curious as to where we are at then? Our members will soon receive an exciting update and we will then share that through our various other channels - including here of course.

Whether you choose to support our party or not, thanks for caring enough to find out more.

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