Statement regarding Moggill Ferry delay on Great Brisbane Bike Ride

May 16th, 2016

To all 110km riders on the 2016 Great Brisbane Bike Ride, we sincerely apologise for the delay with the Moggill Ferry crossing that most of you had yesterday. We were absolutely gutted to see this happen. As bike riders ourselves, who worked 15-hour days yesterday trying to give you all a great cycling experience, we were caught out, and we are bitterly disappointed.

What went wrong? Well, a number of small things that added up to a perfect storm!

After relatively successful use of the older Moggill Ferry in 2014, and being unable to use the new ferry in 2015 due to weather conditions, we were excited to finally use the new ferry in 2016 which we thought would be better as it had a wider loading gate, increased deck capacity and faster river crossing times.

Unfortunately though, new ferry regulations reduced the number of people allowed per crossing, due to safety concerns in the event of a rescue situation. We are discussing with the ferry operators, along with Translink (who provide the service) and the State Government (who set the rules of maritime operation) to see if this means 65 people, or 65 plus with vehicles.

Regardless though, the ferry conditions demand that cars are loaded first (for safety reasons). We understand this, but disagree that this means that riders had to wait for multiple trips while newly arrived motor vehicles were loaded in preference. Prioritization needed to occur in terms of their arrival time, as happened to some degree when police attended. But it was still too slow.

If you’re aware of the purpose and function of Bicycle Queensland as an organisation, you may know that we work every day of the week to reverse the commonly held perception that bicycle riders should come second! Yesterday, we were dudded.

Now we don’t expect much sympathy from riders out of this – and we offer ourselves as targets to you to vent your totally understandable frustration! But I will say that in my 20 years with Bicycle Queensland, we have organised around 100 events including 20 Great Brisbane Bike Rides, and always try our hardest to get everything right. Even when trialling the ferry with our bikes, we saw the loading and disembarking procedures were hindered by the lip of the ramp that lowers when the ferry lands, and we designed and constructed ramps to allow riders to ride on (if they wished) without the bump. We took water, first aid, toilets, lollies and sunscreen to the site in case of a wait, but had no idea the ferry would be so slow this year.

Those 10 helpers who attended the ferry stop (all bike riders, or volunteers from Diabetes Qld) copped some abuse on the day, and wore it and remained helpful from 6am till the end at 12.30pm, before packing up. It made for a pretty hard Sunday, but they gave their time willingly to give the best bike riding experience to as many people as possible. Thanks to Barb, Scott, Riccardo, Sean, AJ, Marilyn and Kyle at the ferry, and to the 100 other volunteers and BQ staff involved yesterday, as their day was that much longer and more trying for them too. I also thank our professional providers, the Queensland Police, for their efforts to improve the situation, along with the traffic controllers, road closure crews, first aid and medical support teams who also extended their day to help get all the riders back safely.

For next year’s ride, we will be looking at all options to ensure delays like this do not happen again, which may include scrapping the ferry from the route altogether. More information on the route will be released closer to the 2017 event.

It was a day that saw a great 40km ride, a fantastic 75km ride but an awful hot wait for way too many on the 110km out at Moggill. But well done to everyone for doing it – it is a hard ride, we know!

Again, our sincere apologies for the long ferry waits, but thanks to those who did manage a smile through it all!

We hope to see you back in the Great Brisbane Bike Ride next year, or on another Bicycle Queensland event.

Ben Wilson

Bicycle Queensland CEO

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