The Bicycle Institute of Queensland was formed in August 1979 by some concerned professionals from planning and architecture backgrounds, and initially meetings were held informally at private residences.
There are a few minutes of BIQ meetings still in existence from the 1970s and 1980s. But it is interesting that in these minutes are topics that are either still on the agenda or in other cases successfully completed. They covered concepts like more rides, more bicycle user groups, more bikeways, more powerful letters to politicians about potholes and gravel, and much more activity (some of which would be questionable).
The early focus for BIQ tended to be on letter writing and a few mass participation rides designed to make a statement. There was also a great relationship between the similarly aged but less idealistic Brisbane Bicycle Touring Association who were off and running with a simple formula of organising rides on weekends as well as dabbling in advocacy. The BBTA is still a friend of BQ today.
One of the first BIQ Presidents was Associate Professor Phil Heywood of QUT. He had a rolling start as he was already a recognized spokesperson on city planning issues with a high media profile and gave BIQ early prominence.
In the 1980s, the BIQ membership hovered around the 100 mark, but began to grow when stalls at street fairs and the odd letter to the editor started to coalesce the people who still used and believed in bicycles. As the locations of meetings began to gravitate to the inner south area of Brisbane, a slightly more activist feel to the organisation emerged from its initial academic/planning phase, with a BIQ office loosely established under a dwelling in Forbes Street, West End.
It was the early 2000’s when “Institute” was dropped from the organisation’s title and it became known simply as Bicycle Queensland in line with a national trend toward being more accessible and less institutionally linked. BQ’s current president Bill Loveday was appointed in this era, when BQ developed a professional presence and its first firmly established offices in South Brisbane before a long tenancy in a large old house in Gladstone Road, Highgate Hill.
Today, Bicycle Queensland has over 18,000 financial members and is the state’s peak body for cycling, with a strong voice in government, media and community circles. Thanks to continued lobbying and close relationships with state and local governments, cycling is firmly on the agenda as an important item. It is recognised as a sustainable and practical form of transport and leisure activity which has attracted well over one billion dollars in direct funding through councils and the State Government in the last decade.
BQ has been instrumental in the delivery of world class bikeways and projects including the Bicentennial Bikeway, the South East Freeway Bikeway, Kedron Brook Bikeway, and the excellent bridges across the massive Brisbane River (the Jack Pesch, Goodwill, Gateway, Eleanor Schonell, Kurilpa and Gateway bikeway bridges) that have provided Brisbane residents with better bike access.
Across Queensland, BQ has been involved in the planning of the Ted Smout Bridge at Redcliffe and supported bikeways from Cairns (Aeroglen Bikeway) to the Gold Coast (Oceanway Bikeway), plus the hundreds of kilometres of on-road bikeways built throughout Queensland regional cities and towns.
BQ delivers the state’s most enduring and popular cycling events including the Great Brisbane Bike Ride, Peaks Challenge Gold Coast (in partnership with Bicycle Network), Cycle Queensland and the Brisbane to Gold Coast Cycle Challenge.
There is still an appetite and need for more investment in bike infrastructure, and there is much more to do and challenges to overcome. We are gradually filling in the missing parts of the bike map and getting more people cycling more often.