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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If BNSW believes "advocacy" is primarily getting wrapped up in government strategic plans and submission processes  then I fear they are missing the point.  Instead, BNSW should be creating its own benchmarks and using the same activist tools that are proving effective for other interest groups today to push the agenda on their terms.  Proactive instead of reactive advocacy.

We desperately need a peak organization that dreams big about the future and sets that vision for us to rally behind.  Not a strategy about membership numbers, but about cycling numbers.  To date, Clover and the great folks at CoS completely overshadow BNSW when it comes to cycling advocacy (and, yes, pay the price).  Some BUG's are not far behind.  This leaves BNSW's new tag "Creating a better environment for cycling" sounding like just spin in desperate need of compelling plans and clearly articulated commitments to give it and BNSW new life and purpose.

Or are the days of the traditional state-based "peak bodies" now in fact drawing to a close?  Without the passion to be forceful advocates and affect change or an ability to rely on insurance or events for membership, can they sustain a value proposition that attracts people to want to identify with them?  Can BNSW re-invent itself fast enough?  Or has the brumby already spotted the open gate?  It is likely that the answer may not be far off.

Oh Omar - reading what you just wrote begs the question: why did they accept your resignation? 

You are so spot on in reflecting everything cyclists here are saying, one can only conclude, that as in their misinterpretation of the word "advocacy", the collective decision-making of the Board is very wide of the mark.

I've gone over the board members profiles....

 

the fact that several of them can't even be bothered to complete the "What I stand for/hope to achieve" section of their individual profiles speaks volumes to me....

 

i see it in business all the time...."celebrity" board members who may be more interested in being on a board than actually achieving the work that members/shareholders/stakeholders would hope to see.

 

no wonder so many people are leaving the organistation as members and staff...

 

I would love to see a new organistation completely.....

 

 

Well, biker1, although I have been critical of some of the Board's decisions, I am also mindful that they are all volunteers.  The three Board members that I know personally are all good people who are working hard, in their own time.  However, I think we should be looking at why some of them are there and a bit of a purge done.

There needs to be more liaison/engagement with those members who care (and that's probably a minority unfortunately) and a different focus placed on their direction. 

My vote for is competition. The BUG Council was actually formed (in my simple mind) so that could take place if required. As I have stated some BUGs actually have cash reserves, and I am sure other seed funding could be found.

Openess and two way communictaions would be a given.

Hard to do advocacy and campaigns without an Advocacy and Campaigns manager or two on staff. Maybe there is a need to examine other groups methods. Mention has been made of LCC and NYSCE etc. Maybe some benchmarking in order? And get those members who care in for a weekend session to set some goals and strategies and map out some actions. An attempt at getting a Ciclovia running in Sydney would be my first goal, then to tackle the RMS on becoming more open and transparent and consultative about providing for cyclists.
Too many Indians and not enough chiefs? Need one or two consistent voices who would have to be paid staff, unless you can find some super volunteers willing to work for nix more or less full time., and/or someone on the board who will be a media spokesman. Was happening last year, which is what got everybody enthused. I am an armchair critic I know, but have to put these ideas out at least.

Great idea John. Its exactly what the Board's BUG Committee, Carolyn New, Graeme Edwards and Paul Kean have been doing with and through the BUG Council. Its why we were able to use the suggestions of our grass roots affiliates- yourself included-in the submission I mentioned last night.

Lest I end up populating this site with too many contributions(Sorry for not having the lingo or the etiquette right here) I should say to Omar I think you are being a bit disingenuous to say BNSW or the Board are saying advocacy is"Primarily" about submissions to State Governments. Of course it has alot more that can and is being done but are you seriously suggesting that the work of the affiliated BUGS in mapping out their concerns and asperations and expressing them to a new Government which is seeking input into a twenty year transport masterplan isnt part of the advocacy task.  You may have loftier ambitions and good luck with that. We'll deal with the real decision makers because that is what BNSW has to do; just as you and those before you (including the Board)  at BNSW supported and worked with the staff at the Sydney City Council which you rightly state have made great advances for cycling.

Advocacy is a primary role for BNSW. Its why I got invovled with BNSW and the Board. Transport and cycling are wide spaces where all sorts of advocates try to progress their agendas. Bike Sydney does its thing and Camwest its, just like Cycling Australia, Amy Gillett , the Pedestrian Council and BNSW. Welcome aboard the Go Alliance. One of the themes we as a board have been trying to progress for a long time is working with like minded and motivated people and organisations.Its not about competition. Its not about the type of riding you do. its about cycling and promoting what you want for cycling from your perspective. Collectively we'll acheive more.

 

Very condescending John, "We'll deal with the real world..."?  Is this how BNSW demonstrates that it is listening?

Sorry if you read it that way Omar. I am merely pointing out that dealing with Governments- local and state is what we have to do.

JohnR.  Certainly the work the BUGs do free for BNSW is great and of course submissions have to be made to government - that's a given - not rocket science.

You do not seem to be listening to what we are saying: We want more VOCAL advocacy PUSHING for cyclists in this state - not just the armchair advocacy of answering requests for submissions to government (although of course that needs to be done too).

 

I do not recall having met you, but I must say, based on what you have written above that there seems to be a smug arrogance in the way you have expressed yourself - and in the way you still are not answering our calls.  I look forward to standing corrected on that impression.

To John Richardson:

 

in your "We'll deal with the real decision makers" reply above, can I ask what BNSW has actually achieved in taking this approach?  

( apart from alienating some members of the cycling community, presiding over a declining membership, not disclosing some financial records and expenditures and brought back a CEO who didn't exactly set the world on fire in their last term? )

 

Maybe you need a better PR person but the organisation doesn't exactly seem to do much....or any results aren't communicated well enough.

 

And sorry, your comment above doesn't win any friends either. Yes, it is the internet, but don't worry, you have some of the lingo down quite well, but people will read your input here and think......"hmmmm...not someone I want representing me"

 

hence this thread ( this discussion here ) and various questions being raised about BNSW

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