BQ’s response to BCC’s Draft Strategy on Off-Road Cycling

Bicycle Queensland supports Brisbane City Council’s draft strategy on Off-Road Cycling. You can read our response to the draft strategy here.

Brisbane-based BQ members, we welcome your support for the draft strategy too. We encourage you to contact your local BCC councillor to express your support for more sustainable mountain bike trails in Brisbane. 

Here are some key points you might like to make into your local Brisbane City councillor:

  • Bicycle Queensland endorses the draft strategy’s guiding principles of sustainability, diversity, diligent planning, collaboration, accessibility, optimal use of facilities, safety and mitigating risk, and education and engagement (p7). 
  • We affirm the need for environmental preservation (p8), community stewardship (p10), and supporting businesses (p12). 
  • We strongly support Brisbane City Council opening up more forest reserves to sustainable mountain bike trails and closing unauthorised unsustainable trails. 
  • We support the development of local trails for local people. Bicycle Queensland is especially concerned with the lack of off-road opportunities for younger riders within Brisbane City Council’s boundaries. 
  • We support well-designed, sustainable mountain biking trail networks being built in Toohey Forest, Glider Forest, Karawatha Forest, Brisbane Koala Bushlands, Bacton Rd Reserve, Whites Hill, Keperra Bushland, Gold Creek Reserve, Kholo Bushlands, Changing Mountain and Dandys Reserve and Shelley Road Park (as identified in the draft as opportunities for consideration in the short and long term, pp15-23). 
  • The main focus of the strategy should be providing sustainable well-designed trails for mountain biking in Brisbane forest reserves. A secondary focus is allowing bike access to existing fire maintenance trails within reserves. Other off-road cycling uses such as skills parks, pump tracks and cyclocross venues are a lower priority in our view. 
  • Brisbane needs more green space, and we encourage BCC to invest in land for rehabilitation and recreation.

This draft strategy gives a way forward for developing MTB trails in Brisbane. Mountain bikers have been waiting for many years for this step forward. Let’s encourage our elected representatives to make this vision a reality!

2020 in Review

Without question, 2020 has been a been difficult year as we faced the challenges of COVID-19.  Whilst our events and activations were disrupted, we worked tirelessly in the advocacy and education space to assist more Queenslanders to ride their bike more often.

Bicycle Queensland prides itself on providing a high standard of service to our members and the team remained committed to that in 2020. Despite the setbacks that came with the pandemic, we promptly adapted to a new normal and achieved several milestones this year.

Servicing our members

  • To date, we have welcomed 502 new members in 2020
  • We launched a new member software to make joining, renewing and updating your details easier for our members
  • We introduced a new BQ support membership
  • We continue to provide the best priced and most comprehensive bicycle membership insurance in Australia
  • Supported 128 members after they had accidents with advice, legal assistance, insurance, reporting and hazards

Championing the cause

  • We introduced five BQ ambassadors from across Queensland to help spread the word about the benefits of bike riding
  • We successfully launched the new BQ brand and website which have received wonderful feedback from members and stakeholders
  • We spoke on behalf of Queensland bike riders over 600 times in the media on issues such as cycling infrastructure, the development of new bike lanes to help people ride during COVID-19, the health benefits of cycling and how bikes can reduce climate change
  • We provided our members and friends with 400+ articles and news pieces to keep them informed and help them ride more confidently
  • We created a new educational library, including Bike Basics videos and Where to Ride resource guide
  • We launched our Commuter Harmony Alliance campaign and grew our government and non-government stakeholder map by 450%
Proposed artist impression of the CityLink Bikeway from June 2020, which is now a project under construction.
Anna Beck, one of our five BQ Ambassadors of 2020.

Provided great events and experiences

  • Sadly, COVID-19 meant we had to cancel our proposed 2020 events. However, we found new ways for people to ride via our online Pedal Queensland event
  • We welcomed a new charity partner in Orange Sky
  • We re-introduced and improved upon our bike maintenance workshops, with a great turn out of 115 attending throughout 2020 and all workshops selling out. Our 2021 waitlist for workshops is currently 300 people and growing
  • We created an online maintenance workshop platform to service regional members and partners

Making it easier for people to ride

George, Bicycle Queensland’s new office dog.
  • We were the driving force behind the construction of the Brisbane CityLink bikeways
  • We continued to meet with bicycle user groups across our state on a quarterly basis, providing them resource packs to local and federal funding for infrastructure projects as part of the economic recovery package

Keeping our team together

  • Our team were successful in adapting to working from home and have now all returned to the office
  • We welcomed George our new BQ office dog

On behalf of the BQ team, we wish you a safe and festive season.  May your Christmas stocking be filled with cycling-related gifts and you find time for bike rides with friends and family.

Happy riding,

Rebecca Randazzo

Regional Active Transport Update

Cycling and walking should get greater prominence in three of Queensland’s leading regional centres as councils draw up new strategic plans.

Bundaberg Regional Council has just released its new Active Transport Strategy 2020-2025, which has been approved by the full Council. 

Townsville City Council has its Townsville Integrated Transport Plan out for consultation at present. The plan does have ‘develop and implement a City-Wide Cycle Network’ as one of its key initiatives. 

Rockhampton City Council is also consulting with local groups and other state-level stakeholders (including Bicycle Queensland) on the development of the Rockhampton Region Walking and Cycling Strategy. Surveys of Rockhampton residents found that more of them were regular bike riders (17% ride weekly) than the state average (13% weekly riders). The research also indicated that the Council would place greater weight on developing recreational paths.

The Bundaberg document can be found here, for those who want to take a deep dive into Council plans. The highlights are significant pathway projects including the Bundaberg to Gin Gin Rail Trail, and a proposed Bundaberg to Bargara cycleway that will require partnership with the State Department for Transport and Main Roads.

The document also commits Bundaberg to $5.8 million worth of pathways in the next three years (not including the major projects mentioned above).

Pictured: Bundaberg Regional Council’s Cycle Reference Group

Categories
Advocacy

Riding the Revolution

Bicycle Queensland recently attended the launch of Riding the Revolution: A New Approach to Active Transport in South East Queensland. CEO Rebecca Randazzo spoke on a panel at the event about the importance of infrastructure and incentivising active travel.

The report details how the rise of e-bikes and increase of cyclists due to the coronavirus pandemic could assist in long-term active travel change. As stated in the report, ‘the paper outlines a new approach to active transport planning, one that will capture the current opportunity and create a new policy and administrative framework to drive change for years to come.’

Pictured: Kirsty Kelly (Chief Executive Officer of the AITPM), Rachel Nolan, (Executive Chair, The Mckell Institute Queensland), John Brannock (Adjunct Professor & Course Coordinator, Advanced Planning Practice, UQ), Rebecca Randazzo (Chief Executive Officer, Bicycle Queensland)

Categories
Education

Why it’s important to track your hearing health

New research suggests that a staggering one in two people know someone with a hearing loss, yet it can take years of struggle for many of us to do something about our hearing health.

John Swete Kelly, 65, had noticed a gradual deterioration in his hearing that constantly left him puzzled in group conversations and avoiding crowded venues, as “it was easier to disengage than engage”. As an avid cyclist, John found himself starting to miss other cyclists’ communications when out as a group.

John has seen major changes in his day-to-day life from his hearing aids. The aids are specially programmed to assist him while riding his road bike.

“Hearing loss or not, staying safe on the road is critical,” said John.

“My new hearing aids are specially programmed to automatically adjust depending on the environment I’m in. I also have a specific manual program added for my cycling, which I can activate via an app. This allows me to hear everything around me and has also helped with reducing wind noise.

I can now hear cues from other cyclists very clearly when I’m riding, whereas before I may not have known what was being said.”

Regular check-ups could save your hearing

Hear and Say Adult Hearing Rehabilitation Program Manager, Georgia Cambridge said that because a hearing loss could occur at any age and often progressed unnoticed, adding a regular hearing check to the to-do list was vital.

“Your hearing health impacts all aspects of life, particularly when you’re out on the road riding with friends or on your own,” said Georgia.

“It’s common not to notice a hearing loss until it begins affecting your lifestyle or interactions with others. In a sport like cycling it’s especially important to ensure you’re proactively staying on top of your hearing. It makes a world of difference knowing what options are available if an issue is identified.”

For John, his hearing aids have reopened a world of sounds that had started to slip away.

“It’s made a huge difference, allowing me to fully engage in conversation again. Rather than switching out of a conversation because I couldn’t hear the whole story, I’m fully immersed.

I would strongly recommend that people take the opportunity to get their hearing tested. Once you actually find out about what technology can enable now, it’s quite amazing.”

Bicycle Queensland’s Director of Education, Patrick Trowse, said that staying safe while cycling should be riders’ number one priority, and commended riders like John for keeping on top of their hearing health.

“There is a misunderstanding that people with hearing loss can’t cycle, but John is a perfect example of defying that. With the right gear and support, John can continue to ride a bike safely just like anyone else,” said Patrick.

Until the end of October 2020, Hear and Say are offering Bicycle Queensland members one free 30-minute hearing screen. To book your screen, please call Hear and Say on 07 3850 2111 and mention this offer. 

Categories
Advocacy

Bicycle Queensland – Priorities for 2020 State Election

The 2020 State Election, to be held in the midst of the most serious public health crisis in a century, highlights the importance of active transport and regular physical activity in improving population health.

Bicycle Queensland’s priorities for the 2020 election fall into three areas:
  1. Funding for the Principal Cycle Network
  2. Safety of vulnerable road users around heavy vehicles
  3. Cycle tourism and rail trails

Read through BQ’s 2020 State Election Infographic below and our letter to the premier here.

Categories
Advocacy

Transurban COVID-19 survey reveals an increase in bike usage

Queensland’s major toll-road operator Transurban has forecast a major increase in bike usage as society recovers from COVID-19.

Transurban commissioned a study which surveyed 4500 people in Australia and selected urban areas of North America. (https://www.transurban.com/content/dam/transurban-pdfs/03/Urban-Mobility-Trends-from-COVID-19.pdf)

Brisbane’s most exciting stat out of the whole survey shows up in how people expect their transport use will change. In Brisbane, use of the bicycle as a transport mode is up 36%, which is great. What is more surprising is the expected (future) use of the bicycle is up 71%.

In comparison, the expected use of cars and motorcycles is to stay the same, with train and bus public transport is expected to be down 15%.

Brisbane specific statistics highlight a major increase in bike usage as a mode of transport.

Data from road and public transport authorities show both private vehicle and public transport use was down during the lockdown stages of the pandemic. Sadly, private vehicle use has rebounded close to previous levels. Public transport use remains around 35-40% of previous levels.

The survey found that ‘personal health and safety’ has moved ahead of convenience in as a determining factor for the choice of transport mode.

Of the six factors influencing transport mode choice in the survey, sustainability remains the bottom of the list.

Transurban is not a neutral observer in this process. Their report reflects this, urging Governments to bring forward major road projects in response. They say these projects must include active transport options, saying “our survey showed an increased of up to 27% in cycling in most cities”.

Bicycle Queensland sees these results as confirmation of the findings of the survey we ran during the pandemic. Similarly, our survey found that 80% of respondents said they planned to cycle the same or more after the pandemic.

In conclusion, these survey results highlight the need for greater investment in active transport. For instance, it highlights the need for a safer environment for people switching from public transport, but also to provide those people driving motor vehicles, trapped in even greater congestion, to have another option to save time and money while boosting sustainability back up to its rightful place as a transport choice factor.

Categories
Uncategorised

Victoria Park August Closures

Please note extended changes to the temporary closures of Victoria Park pedestrian and cycle path. The UNITY Alliance has notified Bicycle Queensland the following statement:

The UNITY Alliance wishes to advise cyclists and pedestrians that intermittent off-peak closures of the Victoria Park shared user path behind Brisbane Girls Grammar School will be undertaken until late August 2020.

These intermittent closures will be implemented outside morning and afternoon peak periods between 9:00am and 4:00pm between Monday and Saturday.

See Works Notice PDF here for further details.