Writing submissions is an excellent way to communicate the needs of bicycle users and to show politicians that there is a large demand for bicycle infrastructure. By writing plenty of submissions we highlight the size of the bicycle-riding population, which is particularly important given that Governments make decisions based on the weight of public opinion.
Bicycle NSW sees great value in providing feedback to Government on pending plans and projects by writing submissions. Click here to view the submissions written by Bicycle NSW or read more about Government Plans & Projects here.
Learn How to Analyse Plans & Projects
Bicycle NSW has prepared a Guide to Analysing Plans & Projects which provides a wealth of information on the sort of information to look for when reading Government Plans & Projects.
Learn by Example
If you are keen to support bicycle riding by writing submissions, it is a good idea to look closely at the submissions that have been prepared by experienced advocates at Bicycle NSW (click here to view recent submissions) and by your local Bicycle User Group. By reading these submissions you will learn how to structure your own submission and you will get a good feel for the issues that are important to cover.
Understand the Political Landscape
Considering the many benefits of bike riding, sometimes it is difficult to understand why Governments don’t do more to support cycling. While bicycle-friendly policies seem like the obvious solution to a myriad of societal problems, the political decision-making process is never so simple. There are many demands on Government budgets and, therefore, the choice to fund bicycle projects will always come at the expense of other worthwhile causes.
In order to influence Government Policy, we have to consider what the Government is trying to achieve. They may be interested in improving health, improving the natural environment, improving transport or improving the community. By looking closely at the motives of the Government, it is often possible to create submissions that help them achieve their goals while also creating a better environment for cycling.
To gain an understanding of the political landscape and the planning process, it is a good idea to contact your local Bicycle User Group, talk with relevant council officers (eg. traffic engineer) and even talk to politicians such as your local Councillors or Members. Be mindful that it is often difficult to gain acceptance for new ideas and that it is often better to form good relationships than to try to force an idea that, while sensible, may not meet the objectives of your audience.
Writing in Support
An easy way to make your voice heard is to write a short submission in support of a more comprehensive submission prepared by Bicycle NSW or a submission made by your local Bicycle User Group. You may choose to write in support of a whole submission or in support of a particular recommendation.
Preparing your Own Submissions
Submissions may provide specific recommendations regarding a particular project or may seek to influence Government plans, projects and policies. To maximise the impact of your submission, consider the following tips:
- Use a letterhead if possible.
- Start with a paragraph introducing yourself and your relationship to Bicycle NSW and other Bicycle User Groups.
- Include a summary of recommendations.
- For each recommendation, put the reasons, justification, evidence of community need, supporting quotes from council policy, etc. Refer to targets and objectives specified in other Council policy documents. For example, the State of the Environment report might have references to air pollution targets, or the Social Plan might refer to the need to improve access for youth to local facilities.