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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stong legal and political support for cyclists and pedestrians whom motorists, media and politicians discriminate against.

It is clear that any organisation wanting to make social change must, at times, be contraversial, must be highly media-savvy and must be forward thinking.  Taking the softly-softly, "don't rock the boat" approach, as BNSW has typically done, will not affect change - it's too easy for politicians to ignore a conservative, passive organisation.

well at that rate, i think you'd have to accept IOUs as salary.  :-)

There's always a disparity between "cost" and "value".  :-)  The big problem with BNSW is that there is no value for money being shown!

My previous post about this seems to have vanished.

Easy. I want to pay people to do things for me. Back in the day, I paid BNSW, and the only thing I got from BNSW that I felt benefitted me, were insurance, and PushOn. And PushOn was available to non-members. There was also something about "Missing Signs", and a couple of attempts at map routes on Facebook which weren't done properly.

On the other hand, I used to live in Annandale. Go west, and that's LBUG. Go to Newtown, and it's MASSBUG (before the name change). Ride to work, and it's BIKESydney. All were doing good work, and I was paying none of them (directly anyway). I can remember several things off the top of my head: several bike valets, twilight rides & other group rides, City West Link advocacy, Greenway rides, on-road bike logo advocacy, something about Carrington Road, the several Bob Moore posts and maps etc etc. Bike North, and BikeEAST I'm not sure, because I don't go to those areas as much.

Even if you look at Noel's comments about Transalt.org, and someone else's comment about LCC, they do not claim to improve the entire state (or the equivalent in the UK). And these groups accept membership fees or cash donations. If you look at Bicycle Network Victoria, most of its advocacy posts are Melbourne-related, where 70% of Victorians reside. Pedal Power ACT also only covers a small area. So, I think an alternative to BNSW, which combined the efforts of local BUGs in Sydney, which goes beyond council boundaries, which focussed on a smaller area than the entire state, which had effective paid staff, could get close to the 11,649 paying members that BNSW currently has, and be more effective in local advocacy. Riders in Newcastle and Wollongong, could then form their own paying BUGs.

Now, BNSW frequently states that their surveys show most people join BNSW for insurance. I think that's because they don't do other thing well at all. e.g. if 90% of my ex-partners said they were only with me for my looks. That's really not a compliment. If my relationship with BNSW was meant to be one for insurance only, then it's be the same as the one between me and HCF, me and BudgetDirect, or me and 1cover: i.e. a non-emotional business relationship from which I can move on from without a 2nd thought. And that, is how I left BNSW.

FWIW, I'm no longer in NSW but still own a flat in Sydney.

+1 to many of the responses thus far but one thing I would particularly like from BNSW is to ask a question like Damian's.

I've only been a member for about five years but I don't recall too many formal calls for feedback or member surveys in that time. I think they have been quite lax in actually seeking the opinions of members, something I would have thought should have been at the core of their work.

In order

  1. Hard advocacy with the State Government especially on infrastructure, laws and (driver) education.
  2. Insurance.

I think events etc would be a distraction; except perhaps for the ones that could have along term effect on cycling participation such as Ride to Work Day.

Disagree about events. I think events are what bring the community together - celebrations that reach out to others in the community and make a statement about what bicycling is.

The Sydney Cycle is one of those events. Doesn't it gain in popularity every year? It's a form of advocacy that is community related. If you win over the community then there are more voices to lend to the cause.

I'm not interested in events - I don't even know what the Sydney Cycle is. But I'd like to see BNSW doing events like a Sydney Cyclovia that are rooted in advocacy rather than strictly recreational cycling.

Yes, running events is a very time-consuming activity and should not be a priority for BNSW in the short term, given their increasingly limited resources. However, in my previous post, I said "have oversight" of events - meaning that they oversee the running of events by others (perhaps BUGs or community groups?) with minimal resources provided, and the other organisation (BUG or community group) pockets the profit - or donates it to charity.

This is what I want from BNSW
http://lcc.org.uk/articles/10-000-brave-the-rain-to-tell-politician...
An organisation that does not apologise about advocating for cyclists, an organisation whose leadership is more comfortable in the company of cyclists rather than politicians and bureaucrats, an organisation what will fight for cyclists and get up the nose of haters, an organisation that will support the friends of cyclists when they are under attack, people like Clover Moore, an organisation that sees itself as the voice of cyclists to government and not the voice of government to cyclists, but maybe I am dreaming?

Well said Bill!

Many of us have insurance through our household insurance, so that's an unnecessary duplication of expense.

Magazine is a waste of paper, and has been for some time.

Omar the Great was heading in the right direction.  Alexander the not-so-great was advancing to the rear the last time I heard.

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