Quarterly Advocacy Update: March 2020

Advocacy is one of three pillars of Bicycle Queensland’s activity (along with membership and events). Here’s a snapshot of the last three months of advocacy work that our team has been involved with. Not included in this list is the regular interactions via phone and email with BQ members and other bike riders on safety and infrastructure issues across the state.

Events

  • BQ advocacy manager and CEO were invited by Cr Fiona Hammond, Chair of Brisbane City Council’s Environment, Parks and Sustainability Committee to assist her at the opening of the new bikeway section along Riverside Drive, West End. Channel 9 covered the event. The project formalises the section of Riverside Drive from the dead end of Hill End Terrace through to Victoria St as a bikeway. Other sections towards the CBD from there continue to be informal but vital bikeway links.
  • BQ CEO attended the “sod turning” ceremony at Demeio Cycle Park, Demeio Rd, Marsden.  Rebecca was joined by the Minister for State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning, the Hon Cameron Dick MP, members of the Transurban projects team, Logan BUG and representatives of the local community. This project is an initiative of the Logan Enhancement Project and is all about getting our youngest road users up to speed on basic road safety.  Designed to resemble a real road, the park will allow kids to interpret and understand different road signs, experience travel at different speeds and learn how to give way and share the road safely.  BQ has provided input for additional resources to be made available at the park including education posters on helmet fitting and a bike workstation.   BQ is being kept up to date on the project from the Transurban team and look forward to attending the opening which is scheduled for late 2020.

Meetings 

  • BQ advocacy manager met with TMR’s Metro bikeway designers re options for the V1 at Worrell Street, Macgregor. This is the only remaining ‘on-road’ section of the V1 bikeway, so completing it will be a final piece in the puzzle. The key design challenges are about improving the sightlines and safety of riders as they transition from the motorway-adjacent path to the proposed new path along Worrell St. There are two (or maybe three) other V1 upgrade projects in the pipeline ahead of this one, so it might several years away.
  • BQ advocacy manager met with the Eastern Transitway team re bicycle facilities on Stage 1 of this project. The Eastern Transitway will improve bus facilities on the Old Cleveland Road corridor from Creek Rd, Carindale to Coorparoo. A high-quality shared path is planned for Stage 1, but the project team admits that the restraints of the corridor won’t allow for dedicated bicycle facilities along the full length. BQ will continue to advocate for a high-quality bike facility through Camp Hill and Coorparoo.
  • BQ advocacy manager met with Tim Mitchell from Redland City Council, for an update on the Redlands Coast Transport Strategy. Bicycle Queensland strongly supported the Redlands planning team’s approach to this document, which prioritised walking and cycling and public transport, over other modes. The strategy will hopefully see Redland City move from a ‘business as usual’ approach will only leads to more car-dominated suburbs, to a transport system that gives people the option to travel actively and safely to all their destinations. We heard back recently from Redlands City transport planner Tim Mitchell that the strategy has been adopted. He said in the email: “As a key organisation in advocating active travel across Queensland and in particular informing broader transport policy I would like to once again thank you for being involved in the project and look forward to continuing the strong working relationship between Bicycle Queensland and Council.” We’re keen to see Redlands reintroduce a Council active travel committee, with BQ and local cycling representatives able to meet regularly with Councilors and key staff.
  • BQ advocacy manager and CEO met with Transport and Main Roads Minister, the Hon Mark Bailey, and senior TMR staff including Deputy Director General and Translink boss Matthew Longland, re Bicycle Queensland’s on-going relationship with the department. This is a crucial relationship for Bicycle Queensland. BQ proposals on the ‘Bike With’ program, Bike-Friendly Towns, and Community Harmony Alliance were very well received, and will be part of ongoing discussions.
  • In February, BQ advocacy manager was the cycling community’s representative at Transport and Main Roads’ Active Transport Investment Program’s grants assessment panel. Local councils across the state submit projects for 50-50 funding. Some of the projects are in the planning or feasibility phase, others are closer to construction. As long as the proposed project is on the state-wide Principal Cycle Network Plan (preferably as a Highest Priority or Priority A route), and it passes the ‘value for money’ test, then it stands a good chance of being funded. The PCNP was developed in consultation with councils, and bike-riding groups, and is regularly updated. There were dozens of projects submitted by councils, and the panel also assesses cycling projects from the TMR districts. And as a result there are some excellent projects in the pipeline. Some are a few years away from pouring the concrete, but others will be here sooner rather than later.
  • BQ advocacy manager met with TMR’s North Brisbane Bikeway project officers, re options for the next stage (stage 4). Works have just completed on Stage 3, which is a great separated link through Albion, along Bridge Street / McDonald Rd alignment. This project has taken a long time to get to this stage, and every step has been a battle. But we believe the outcomes are very positive for people from the northside who want to commute to the CBD.
  • BQ’s advocacy manager and CEO hosted BQ’s first ever online meeting of regional bicycle user groups. We had representatives from Cairns, Innisfail, Townsville, Mackay, Rockhampton, Capricorn Coast, Bundaberg, and Fraser Coast — all of the active regional BUGs were represented, except Toowoomba which comes to the metro forums we hold. It was an excellent discussion about how BUGs can work collaboratively with BQ, local Councils and TMR districts towards getting the principal cycle network built. Timing was very good as new Councils will be elected this weekend, and we are keen to work with local advocates to ensure we are most effective in helping set agendas for the next four years.
  • BQ’s CEO and advocacy manager met with key people from the Department of Housing and Public Works and Sport & Recreation, Rory Parker, policy advisor to Minister Mick De Brenni, and Chad Anderson, Executive Director for Housing and Public Works. BQ presented our vision for programs which would move Queensland forward towards connected liveable communities, including the ‘Bike With’ program, and Bike Friendly Towns, and the Commuter Harmony Alliance. There was in-principle support for the Alliance, and good discussion on ways forward through the Sport and Recreation Partnerships Office, which co-ordinates the Activate! Program. This relationship has great potential for getting the cycling and active commuting message into targetted regional areas.
  • BQ advocacy manager attended a regular meeting of the Brisbane North BUG (bicycle user group), as the guest speaker. It was good opportunity to touch base with BQ members who are passionate about improving cycling in their local area, and to update NorthBUG about BQ’s strategic direction. One great local project the BUG is advocating for is an off-road pathway connection in the Moreton Bay council area, which would link into the Kedron Brook bikeway. The proposed link would route through Harry Evans Park. Moreton Bay council are surveying the park with the purpose of developing designs.
  • BQ advocacy manager met with Michael Visser, a BQ member who has been active in looking for positive outcomes on how on-road cyclists with cameras fixed to their bikes, can work co-operatively with the Queensland Police Service on enforcement of safe passing laws. Visser is a web developer, and he has also been working with the camera manufacturer Cycliq. Michael gave us a preview of Upride, an online reporting tool, which Cycliq has funded. See https://upride.cc/. Upride has the potential to take some of the “heat” out of interactions between cyclists who have been close passed, and QPS officers who feel under-resourced to deal with the issue.
  • BQ CEO and advocacy manager met with Sandy Murdoch, founder of Traction, a charity which does great work with at-risk young people, and uses the bicycle as a vehicle for change (pun very much intended, thank you). Traction’s mentors work with selected high school students on an intensive project, usually stripping down and rebuilding a bicycle. The meeting was to strengthen existing ties between the two organisations. COVID-19 has temporarily shut down our plans for Traction to provide bicycle maintenance courses to BQ members and the public, but no doubt that will return when the time is right.
  • BQ CEO and advocacy manager met with Russell White, Managing Director Driver Safety Australia, and founder of the Australian Road Safety Foundation, re BQ’s Commuter Harmony Alliance and building partnerships in the driver training area. BQ will work on providing resources in areas such as fleet training for drivers.
  • BQ’s CEO was invited to be part of a very select stakeholder group, meeting with Queensland Police Service’s head of Road Policing, Assistant Commissioner Mike Keating about changes to the Road Policing Command structures. Others in the room were senior leaders in Transport and Main Roads, including the Director-General, and CEOs and senior leaders from the Local Government Association of Queensland, RACQ, the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator, QUT research group CARRS-Q, and the University of Southern Queensland. Assistant Police Commissioner Keating briefed stakeholders on Police Commissioner Katarina Carroll’s vision for the future of policing in Queensland. Ben Marcus was introduced to the group as the contact going forward regarding all maters to do with Road Policing Command.  Ben expressed his commitment to this role and reinforced the QPS commitment to Road safety.  Ben will be actively updating stakeholders on the outcomes of the QPS strategic review and service alignment program discussions. Like Bicycle Queensland, the QPS strives to provide a professional service to all of Queensland.  The decision to place a Deputy Police commissioner permanently in North Queensland can only mean better outcomes for regional Queenslanders.   
  • BQ advocacy manager attended Queensland Rail bicycle reference group. As previously mentioned, this group has made great progress in helping Qld Rail identify the needs for secure bike parking cages and casual bike parking racks at prioritised stations in the CityRail network. That role is almost completed, especially as the station upgrades roll out as part of Cross River Rail. However, there will still be a number of older stations which have major accessibility issues, requiring multiple flights of stairs to reach the platform — tough for many users, not just people with bikes. As these are mostly smaller, less patronised stations, it becomes a balancing act as to whether the investment in upgrading the station is justified in increased patronage, but BQ’s view is that providing local access is a key to enabling multi-modal transport trips, as well as reducing car dependence.
  • BQ CEO and advocacy manager met with Paul Turner, Chief Communications Officer for RACQ, and RACQ’s head of policy Steve Spalding. The meeting was to continue to build our potential partnership opportunities with RACQ, on areas to do with e-bikes, breakdown service, insurance opportunities, and also discussions on current and proposed Compulsory Third-Party Insurance (CTP) funding models in Queensland. BQ supports the continuation of the current low-cost CTP system, which gives cyclists the opportunity to be covered by BQ’s membership based insurance.
  • BQ CEO and advocacy manager met with Mitchell Price and Ian Brouckaert from Lime, about their company’s plans for e-bikes and e-scooters in the Queensland marketplace. E-scooters bring an increase in traffic on shared pathways that places pressure on Governments local and state to provide higher standard facilities. We also discussed insurance issues, and the burgeoning privately-owned e-scooter market, and the challenges that brings.
  • BQ CEO and advocacy manager met with Cross River Rail project re designs for the station upgrades for Fairfield and Exhibition station. BQ’s feedback advocated for casual and secure bike parking at the stations, ease of access to the platforms for people with bikes (and people in wheelchairs, parents with prams and strollers, etc) and strong connections to the local bikeway network, especially for Exhibition station.
  • BQ CEO and advocacy manager met with Brisbane City Council project team for the Victoria Park Vision, specifically to advocate for extension of the ‘community hub’ concept in the draft vision to be expanded to include a physical space that community groups such as BQ and BUGs and riding groups could use for education and training, but also as a social meeting space.

Media issues

  • BQ’s CEO and advocacy manager gave multiple interviews to North Queensland media outlets in late February when a driver drove into an early morning group of cyclists, who were riding in a bike lane on a wide, flat arterial road in Townsville. Five cyclists were injured, and two of them were BQ members. There is never any upside to these incidents, but the BQ team does our best to represent the cycling community in terms of our outrage that people simply riding their bikes are put at risk by these anti-social actions, and also to continue our advocacy towards safer paths and places to ride, right across this very large state.
  • BQ’s advocacy manager sent advice to bicycle users groups across the state about appopriate measures for bike riding groups during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • BQ’s advocacy manager took over the Cycling Brisbane Instagram @cyclingbrisbane account, for Brisbane City Council, for the week leading up to our planned first event of the year, the Bike With Brisbane active commuting day. Because BCC are in caretaker mode in the lead-up to the local government elections on Saturday 28th March, all posts had to be pre-approved by the Cycling Brisbane team.
  • In response to  COVID-19, BQ CEO published a response statement on 20/3/2020.  This statement is published on the BQ website and announced over our social media pages.  In addition to the BQ marketing has launched a #RIDEWELL campaign which will sit on our social media platforms over the coming weeks.  This campaign is designed to provide members with up to date information and guidelines regarding their cycling behaviours and choices in response to COVID-19.  Embedded in this campaign is support messages and tips to #ridewell through these exceptional circumstances.

Advocacy through story-telling

  • We’ve been working with our marketing team and the CEO to embrace video storytelling as an advocacy tool, and to share stories of success that are about the transforming power of riding a bicycle. As we worked with BQ’s events team towards the planned first public announcement of Bicycle Queensland’s Commuter Harmony Alliance, we identified ambassadors who had personal stories to tell.
    • BQ’s advocacy manager has filmed and edited video stories featuring:
    • Cathy Peel from Brisbane Chicks Who Ride Bikes, who has a inspiring story of how getting into cycling gave her confidence and improved mental and physical health.
    • David Sallows, from the University of the Third Age, Redlands, still riding several times a week in his mid-80s, who says that the social and communal aspects of cycling have kept him going strong.
    • Renee Dikeni, “Fit Aussie Sista”, a teacher and mother who is living car-free for a year, and who rides 300km a week on her cargo e-bike.
    • Ellen Armstrong and Sarah Reedman, physiotherapists who work with children and young adults with balance issues (e.g. Cerebral palsy) to enable them to be active on adapted bicycle-type devices, called ‘race runners’.
    • Hand-cyclist Graham Walters, who hasn’t let an accident which put him permanently in a wheelchair be the end of his cycling life. He has ridden BQ events including Brisbane to Gold Coast.

The video stories are being used on our social media channels, and are also be available as a playlist on Bicycle Queensland’s YouTube channel:

We’ve got others coming up as well, including Andrea and Richard Herklots, who have morphed their e-bike business into a way of providing adapted bikes for people with mobility difficulties.

— Andrew Demack, Advocacy Manager

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