So here's a discussion topic for the morning.....

 

There's a lot of angst here about what Bicycle NSW do, what they don't do, who's firing who and what's going on.

 

I know a lot of people got pretty disillusioned some time ago and let their membership lapse.

 

But I started thinking about it last night and the question that is top of my mind is "what do people want from a body like BNSW" ?

 

Is it an advocacy organisation that can speak for cyclists issues to govt or the media ?

 

Is it the insurance ?

 

Is it the big multi day cycling events ?

 

Is it the smaller one day events ?

 

The magazine ?

 

An umbrella organisation for the local work done by the BUGs ? 

 

Something else ? Something else you ARE getting  ? or something else you'd LIKE ?

 

I think it would be really interesting to know what it is people are actually looking for in an organisation, and whether BNSW can deliver it, or whether those things actually already exist and we're just mourning the memory of what it used to mean to people.

I ask that this stays on topic, I feel it's an important one.

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And do you want it NOW?

The BUGS expect BNSW to do advocacy work, but BNSW expects BUGS to do the work since they have local knowledge. That's an infrastructure-centric view of course.

 

This might be OK if BNSW did achieve things at the state level, relating to budget, networks, utility, bridge, safety standards, rules, policing, driver behaviour yada yada in my view.

Well, in a nutshell, i think my "ideal world" list is what I want them to be.

MB are your point numbers in the order of importance to you?

I think ranking may help in this discussion.

No they're not baa baa.  I should have written into a word doc and edited.  I will delete the post and re-write.  Sorry for confusion.

ahh I love you guys.... 

more meta discussion posts than input :)

MB, your post was fine, and exactly what I knew you'd write... :)

Advocacy. Financially independent from Govt. Transparent, showing us what they are doing.

 

And if they don't do it make it very clear that they are not representing us.

What I want and what I think the current Board, the skeleton staff and relatively poor financial status of the organisation can deliver are two very different things.

However, in answer to the question of “What do I want from BNSW?”, it is this:

  1. High-level lobbying of governments (at all levels of government) in a pro-active way to make more things happen for cyclists across this state - including rail trails, urban infrastructure, promotion of cycle-tourism, etc.  Be seen in the media at every available opportunity.  Be the “squeaky wheel” that won’t shut up until we get some change.  (ie. ADVOCACY).
  2. Running or at least the oversight of a variety of cycling events, ranging from Ride to Work, Ride to School, one-day intensive rides like Round the Bay, multi-day social rides like GVBR, etc.....
  3. Offer insurance.
  4. Work more with the BUGs, because that is the only resource we have left.  Use the BUGs to represent BNSW at local government level, at least - including in regional areas.  I know some work has been done in this area, but I think there needs to be more community engagement (non-BUG like Rotary, Apex, local Progress Association type groups).  BV did this very well in developing the rail trails, by engaging with local communities and supporting them to really do most of the work. (A win-win situation).
  5. Run the organisation like a business, with financial accountability and transparency - no free lunches.  The CEO should be present as much as possible in the office, with limitations on travel.  The CEO should have a clear understanding of who is doing the hard work in the office and who is just drawing a salary.
  6. Stop dishing out bureaucratese to us instead of straight talking.  We, the cyclists of NSW are not stupid and we want actions, and powerful words, not glib, banal motherhood statements.

There is much more I could say but I had better give someone else a chance.  :-)

 

There is a desperate need for a decent state based advocacy body because most of the issues facing cyclists are from the state government. These are either directly due to the governments failure to fund some of the key links like Harboulink or the city west cycle path, or indirectly through the RMS's sole dedication to allocating space for cars.

There are a few cycle friendly councils appearing but they appear to be roadblocked by the unwillingness of the RMS to make any concessions to cyclists. It is for this reason that it is not possible to solely rely on the local BUGs. If there was an effective state based Advocacy body that was able to convert the mindset of the state government then I think that there would be a flow on effect to the local councils.

Sometimes it helps to see what other people are doing.

The bike movement in NYC is really hot at the moment. There are several organisations but the two sites I visit a lot are

http://transalt.org/

http://bikenyc.org

If you have 10 minutes, do have a look. I believe the current New Your City bike movement show the way forward for BNSW. Certainly we need more activism. But also more engagement, relevance, modern thinking, big thinking, positive thinking, problem solving and leadership.

And London Cycle Campaign (http://lcc.org.uk/ ) , as mentioned in the London Protest topic, seems to be active, effective and different. I especially like the comparison of Mayoral candidates which is something BNSW would never do (too "political"?), it seems to be activist in the Getup mould.

Noel, Thanks for the links.

I think the idea of a transportation alternatives advocacy group is a fantastic idea. Cyclist are a minority in this country and alone will always struggle against the big motoring organisations. However, if you add walkers and public transport users you will get a much more politically influential group who are all (generally) after a similar result.

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