Executive Announcement

craig photoBicycle NSW is delighted to announce that Craig Meagher has been appointed as the new CEO, effective immediately.

After representing Bicycle NSW in the role of CEO since February 2015, Ray Rice has decided to step back from fulltime employment, effective Friday 12 August. He will remain an advocate and member of Bicycle NSW, and continue to assist the organisation to ‘Create a Better Environment for Cycling’.

Bicycle NSW would like to thank Ray for providing the organisation with a strong voice with Government.

The Bicycle NSW Board commented that “whilst it will be sad to see Ray stepping down from a full time role with the organisation, we are excited to have Craig join Bicycle NSW as we celebrate 40 years of representing and supporting all bike riders across NSW. Craig’s experience across Membership, Events and Sponsorship will ensure the organisation continues to grow and best represents our members as we campaign for a better and safer environment for cycling.”

New CEO of Bicycle NSW, Craig Meagher says, “I’m excited about the challenge and opportunity to represent this organisation and its members. With 1.2 million people on a bike at least once a week in NSW, becoming a member and having a voice is now more important than ever.”

“We also have a fantastic annual community event called the Spring Cycle that gives everyone the unique chance to ride our famous Sydney Harbour Bridge car free. I want to build this iconic community event and ensure it is the pinnacle event for all cyclists each year. I encourage everyone with a bike at all levels to come and join us on Sunday 16 October as we all pedal together.”

To become a member or to join us at the Spring Cycle, visit bicyclensw.org.au.

Watch for cyclists sign

NSW Bike Riders Conference Program Announced

Watch for Bicycles sign

Bicycle NSW and Newcastle Cycleways Movement have teamed up to present the NSW Bike Riders Conference - a gathering for BUGs, by BUGs!

Local Council's are amalgamating, our neighbourhoods are changing, and we want bike riders to have a say in the way bike riding is included in their suburbs. Come along and meet other bike riders, discover what our Bicycle User Group network are doing across the State and share your experiences and ideas for the future of cycling.

The conference will focus on sharing the why and how of engaging with your local Council and your local community, and give you the tools to help create a better environment for cycling. Held in Newcastle and hosted by local BUG, the Newcastle Cycleways Movement, a great example of community led action will share the strategy and successes of the CycleSafe Network and how similar projects can be made reality in other parts of NSW.

An expert panel will lead a hands on workshop exploring the new Community Strategic Planning process which will be rolling out across NSW Councils this year. Walk away from the NSW Bike Riders Conference confident in how you can play a role in ensuring better biking infrastructure, planning and engagement occurs in your home town.

Book your place for the two days that will give you the power to make a difference, see more people riding bikes, and secure better biking for the future.

The NSW Bike Riders Conference runs from 8.30am Saturday 13 August until 1pm Sunday 14 August at Travelodge Newcastle and includes the celebratory dinner marking the 40th Anniversary of Bicycle NSW delivering the peak advocacy work and member representation in the State.

Time Session Presented by
Friday 12 August




7:30pm onwards


Pre-conference registration and Happy Hour at Travelodge Newcastle, 12 Steel St, Newcastle

A 10 - 15km Night Ride around Newcastle, based on the Bathers Way Loops, will depart from Travelodge Newcastle at approximately 6.30pm and proceed at a leisurely pace, and return to The Star Hotel.

Bike Hire available from Metro Cycles, just a short walk from the venue. Call or email ahead to book a bike for the night or the weekend. 

Drop in for a social drink at The Star, perhaps grab a bite to eat, and a catch up with friends old and new in an informal get together before the conference.

Bicycle NSW

Newcastle Cycleways Movement


Saturday 13 August
7.30am Conference registration at Travelodge Newcastle
8.30am Official Welcome to the NSW Bike Riders Conference Bicycle NSW and Newcastle Cycleways Movement
9.00am The Newcastle CycleSafe Network : a community-based initiative Newcastle Cycleways Movement
9.30am Influencing the new NSW councils’ community strategic planning process : vision to reality for a more bike-friendly NSW Peter McCue, Fiona Campbell
11.00am Morning Tea
11.30am Lessons from London for big and small communities Mark Ames, Strategic Cities
12.00pm Creating a cycle-friendly NSW together : How BUGs and Bicycle NSW can work together effectively to create a better environment for cycling Ray Rice and Bicycle NSW Council
1.00pm Lunch  

Your choice of sessions to attend

Stream 1: How to ride a Tandem with Vision impaired
Limited spaces, booking required.
John Domandl
Peter Lee, Newcastle Cycleways Movement
Stream 2: BUG skills, a mini seminar

Learning to talk Engineer Speak - it needn’t be Double Dutch

Making change through action - using social media to normalise plain clothes riding

Planning longer BUG rides - breaking the 7 day barrier; a case study of the Hub&Spokes rides

Warren Salomon, BIKEast
Sarah Imm, Velo-a-Porter
Adrian Boss, BIKEast
3.00pm Afternoon tea

Your choice of rides

Led Ride 1: Facilities inspection tour – a 20km tour of Newcastle bicycle network facilities – the good, the bad and the beautiful. (Easy pace – 1.5 hours) Newcastle Cycleways Movement
Led Ride 2: Two City Circuit – a 55km of the established circuit through Newcastle. (Fast pace – 2.5hours) Newcastle Cycleways Movement
Own Pace Ride: Use the maps and suggestions provided by the local BUG to explore Newcastle at your leisure Self-guided
7.00pm – 11.00pm Bicycle NSW 40th Anniversary Gala Dinner

Guest Speakers:

Peter Duncan, CEO of Roads and Maritime Services
Jon Leighton, President of the Bicycle NSW Board

Sunday 14 August
9.00am BUG Brag time! Come along and share your successes your BUG has had with rides and hear and learn about what other BUGs are doing with led rides, Discovery Rides and other fun activities. This is your time to shine and share! Bicycle NSW

Any BUG members attending

9.45am Rail Trails in NSW – towards tourism led recovery. A presentation with question and answer session about Rail Trails developing in NSW Tim Coen, Rail Trails for NSW

David Atkinson, Richmond Vale Rail Trail Inc

10.45am Morning tea
11.15am Cycling for Change – building people power to hold government representatives to account

Australia’s cycling movement has won major gains through research, submissions and diplomacy. When political circumstances have required other approaches, cycling advocates have also built people power to hold representatives to account, protested and fielded election candidates.

James Whelan,The Change Agency
12.45pm Closing session Ray Rice and Bicycle NSW
1.00pm Conference close

Members of both Bicycle NSW and their local affiliated BUG can book their place at the conference and dinner at a discounted price of $95.
Members of one of either Bicycle NSW or an affiliated BUG can book their place at the conference and dinner the discounted price of $110.

This conference would not be possible without the additional support of Bike North and the City of Sydney.

A social rides program and activities for family and friends of attendees will be announced shortly.

Bicycle Summit election campaign update

With the federal election rapidly approaching, the Cycling Promotion Fund, on behalf of the Australian Bicycle Summit organisations, including Bicycle NSW, has written to the major parties seeking their election commitments for cycling and walking. Today the Greens have announced realistic provisions [PDF] which will reduce traffic and pollution, improve health and well being, and make it easier and safer to ride and walk.

Central to their commitment is a $250 million annual fund to invest in cycling and walking infrastructure. This equates to approximately $10 per person per year, and is less than 1% of the $26.3 billion that was spent nationally on roads in 2013-14.

The Australian Bicycle Summit organisations, through the Cycling Promotion Fund have issued this statement [PDF]. Bicycle NSW is particularly pleased that the benefits of the Inner Sydney Regional Bike Network have been recognised. This project is now on Infrastructure Australia’s priority list, and would return $3.88 for every dollar invested.

The first steps toward police ‘hearing’ the concerns of bike riders

Bicycle NSW
We’ve taken the first steps to address the
imbalances in enforcement, evident from 1 March, by initiating open and honest conversations with NSW Police. The meeting orchestrated by Bicycle NSW was held on Monday 23 May with senior members of Transport for New South Wales (TfNSW) and NSW Police. The key concerns of bike riders were presented in regard to the recent surge in cyclist fines and the lack of enforcement of the Minimum Passing Distance.

Key outcomes and steps are:

  1. Police have agreed to publicise pedestrian/bicycle compliance campaigns in advance – as they do for other campaigns (eg Speeding; Drink Driving etc). This will be combined with education on bicycle safety and regulations.
  2. All parties agreed that better and increased publicity and education on the Minimum Passing Distance (MPD) would increase the safety of vulnerable road users, and that compliance monitoring is still required.  Police have agreed to run publicised compliance campaigns on MPD and to evaluate new technology to help monitor compliance.
  3. Importantly, Police have agreed to review video evidence of possible MPD offences.  Signed statements will be required. We note the challenges of providing proof beyond reasonable doubt.
  4. Police have agreed to meet with representatives of cycling clubs to discuss bicycle safety and compliance issues.

Bicycle NSW CEO Ray Rice said “Although not unexpected, we were extremely disheartened to hear of the steep imbalances with the release of statistics yesterday on the increased fines and minimum passing distance. It further emphasises the need for open and honest dialogue which we’ve been able to facilitate. The outcomes will remain to be seen but we’ll continue to press for the positive steps agreed by all parties above.” 

Bicycle NSW pressed for this meeting at our March Board meeting, attended by the top executives of TfNSW. Representatives from the Amy Gillett Foundation and Cycling NSW also attended yesterday’s meeting at the request of TfNSW.

At the board meeting it was recognised and agreed by both Bicycle NSW and TfNSW that cyclists need to obey all road rules. It was also recognised by all parties that the more that people are positively encouraged to cycle – the better the outcome for all road users in NSW, particularly in Sydney. The positive outcomes being better journey times for all and the underlying health and environmental benefits from an active cycling transport initiative. Therefore it was agreed to arrange a tripartite meeting between BNSW,TfNSW and NSW Police to actively work with the Police to achieve this outcome, with our objective to move away from specific campaigns that may potentially scare off cyclists and move toward better education.


$39M investment for cycling – What does it really mean?

The NSW Government recently announced a $39 million “boost” to deliver new cycleways and walking upgrades in NSW for the 2016-17 FY.     

This is not increased funding by any means, and is already part of the longer term budget.  Bicycle riders should consider some key facts:

  • This $39mil is less than the $40mil allocated in 2015-16.
  • It represents only about $5 per person in NSW.
  • The annual budget for transport infrastructure is around $10.3 billion per year (ie over $1,300 per person).
  • The $39million for cycleways and walking upgrades is less than 0.4% of the transport infrastructure budget.  
  • By comparison, London has been spending about $33 per person, just on cycling infrastructure – and achieving great results.  It is anticipated that by 2018 more people will be cycling into central London than driving.

Bicycle NSW believes that this level of funding does not show real commitment by the NSW Government to active transport.   The Government’s aim of a 5% share transport mode share for cycling cannot be achieved with this meagre level of funding.

To produce real transport, health and environmental benefits in NSW, we call on the Government to allocate 5% of the transport infrastructure budget to cycling.  Such funding will help achieve the Inner Sydney Regional Bike Network, the Newcastle CycleSafe Network, and many more worthwhile cycling projects across suburban and regional NSW.

If you agree, you can write to Andrew Constance, Minister for Transport & Infrastructure to demand greater consideration for bike riders and cycling infrastructure within transport funding.     

See the projects to be funded through the $39 million on the RMS website.

Bicycle NSW – working with Government to achieve positive outcomes

At Bicycle NSW we seek to work collaboratively with the NSW Government to achieve better outcomes for all NSW bicycle riders. A great example of this was the recent March BicycleNSW Board Meeting when the three top executives of Transport for NSW attended – including Mr Tim Reardon, Secretary for TfNSW. A range of matters were discussed in an open two way conversation.Bicycle NSW presented five major recommendations to TfNSW: 

1. Provide a stronger public awareness campaign on the new Minimum Passing Distance Rules.

Bicycle NSW have long supported the introduction of Minimum Passing Distance Rules, and commend the Government for the recent introduction of a two year trial. However, the present campaign is not cutting through, and will not achieve the objective of improving safety on our roads. We offered to work with Government on this improved campaign.We reiterated our reasoning behind our opposition to the fine equivalence and mandatory photo ID.  

2. Plan and build comprehensive networks for cycling and walking – Sydney CBD.

The comprehensive “Active Transport Access to Sydney CBD” has been placed on theInfrastructure Australia Priority List. This plan for a co-ordinated network of cycleways across the 15 Councils close to the CBD addresses urban congestion. It has a very high benefit-cost ratio of 3.88:1 on a construction cost of $175 million.Bicycle NSW recommend that the Government fund and lead the Business Case Development in partnership with the Councils, and then co-fund the delivery within the next four years. 

3. Plan and build comprehensive networks for cycling and walking – Newcastle CycleSafe Network.

The CycleSafe Network is a system of safe, easy to follow walking and cycling routes across Newcastle and Lake Macquarie. It has strong community and business support including from Newcastle Cycleways Movement, Heart Foundation, and University of Newcastle. It is estimated the project will cost around $100 million.Bicycle NSW recommend that the Government fund and lead the planning of this project in partnership with the CycleSafe Network supporters, and then co-fund the delivery within the next four years. 

4. Ensure NSW has the mechanisms to deliver its policies for cycling and walking.

While the NSW Government has many individual plans and policies that recommend that active transport be considered when infrastructure is planned and constructed, the reality is that there has been an ad hoc approach to actual delivery.Bicycle NSW recommended that an overarching policy mechanism be developed and approved that requires cycling to be incorporated into the planning and delivery of all major transport projects.Over the coming year we will continue to lobby the NSW Government on these matters and other matters so as to build a better environment for cycling. 

5. Tripartite Liaison with the Police Minister.

It was recognised and agreed by both Bicycle NSW and TfNSW that cyclists need to obey all road rules. It was also recognised by all parties that the more that people are positively encouraged to cycle – the better the outcome for all road users in NSW, particularly in Sydney. The positive outcomes being better journey times for all and the underlying health and environmental benefits from an active cycling transport initiative. Therefore it was agreed to arrange a tripartite meeting between BNSW,TfNSW and NSW Police to actively work with the Police to achieve this outcome, with our objective to move away from specific campaigns that may potentially scare off cyclists.

“Go Together” Under the Microscope

The Government’s “Go Together” campaign has now been in place for one month. While it is technically only early days, there are already fundamental and underlying issues that need to be addressed. Firstly, while the Minimum Passing Distance rules are welcomed by Bicycle NSW, we maintain that the limited public education campaign is not “cutting through”. For example, online education campaign statistics presented to Bicycle NSW by Transport for NSW indicate only a very, very small percentage of the State’s five million Drivers Licence holders have viewed the explanatory animations for the passing distance on the “Go Together” website. Fundamentally, with websites and social media forming the foundation of the Government’s education campaign – it comes as no real surprise that many drivers are confused about the details or even unaware of the minimum passing requirements. Bicycle NSW has called on the NSW Government to step up the public education campaign on the Minimum Passing Distance rules.  For instance, there are numerous interstate examples where TV, cinema and online advertising were used to successfully educate the masses. Even the new NSW “Hey Tosser” anti-littering campaign is receiving mainstream TV coverage.  The safety of NSW bicycle riders warrants a better campaign, and one that genuinely promotes acknowledgement and inclusion as opposed to just deepening the ‘us and them’ divide.

Secondly, the ‘grey’ areas that have been highlighted by the increases in existing bicycle fines need to be addressed and clarified. Especially where the application is purely subjective – eg ‘dangerous’ riding.  There is the real and publicised example of this whereby a cyclist was fined for ‘track-standing’ at a red light in Sydney, having been deemed as ‘dangerous’ by the Police. We have asked the various arms of Government to supply details of the criteria, and to date have received a range of replies. So we will continue to push for clarity on these subjective and hefty bicycle fines and also for the Government to define and publicise the respective criteria applied.

And finally, to clarify what has been yet another area of initial confusion, there is currently neither regulation nor legislation in place that requires bicycle riders to carry Mandatory Photo ID. We are told this will now effectively be introduced in March 2017.  In the interim, Bicycle NSW will maintain our position of opposing this proposal, while continuing to educate and lobby Government to shift their focus toward more tangible measures to increase cycling safety – like safe, separated cycleways and improved cycling infrastructure.

Disallowance motion in the NSW Upper House

Dr Mehreen Faruqi of The Greens will this week move a disallowance motion in the NSW Upper House to block the recent increases in fines for cyclists.

Labor’s transport spokeswoman, Jodi McKay, said the party would support the disallowance motion. The motion will also need the support of the Shooters and Fishers Party and the Christian Democrats to successfully block the fines. Bicycle NSW has written to both parties to ask for their support.

You can read the letter to the Christian Democrat MLCs here [PDF]. A similar letter went to the Shooters & Fishers MLCs.

You can write in support of the disallowance motion. Follow the links below to find contact information for the Christian Democrats and the Shooters and Fishers party.

Christian Democrat Party:
Reverend the Hon Fred Nile MLC
The Hon Paul Green MLC

Shooters and Fishers Party:
The Hon Robert Borsak MLC
The Hon Robert Brown MLC

NSW Nanny State Bike Laws – A Cost Too High For Cyclist Safety

Controversial changes to laws and their enforcement targeting bicycle riders will come into effect across NSW on the 1st of March 2016. A community run petition “A Cost Too High For Cyclist Safety” with 10,000 signatures, is part of a campaign by Bicycle NSW demanding the NSW Government immediately rescind the proposed fine increases and mandatory photo ID for bicycle riders.

CEO of Bicycle NSW Ray Rice said, “The community has come out in their thousands to say these new bike laws are heavy handed and unjustified. Regulation should be a last resort, not a first one. These new fines, a 500% increase over current ones, have no evidence basis.”

“Fines of this level for bicycle riders are unprecedented in Australia, as is the requirement to carry photo ID. NSW is fast becoming Australia’s nanny state.”

 “Bicycle NSW is demanding the NSW Premier Mike Baird halt the introduction of these punitive measures against cyclists, and insist the Government conduct an independent, transparent review. The priority is for evidence based strategies and education that create safety and mutual respect on our roads, in addition to safe infrastructure for riders.” said Ray Rice.

“With high levels of congestion on NSW roads, and high levels of obesity in the population, the NSW Government should be looking at how to encourage bike riding as a form of transport, rather than blatantly discouraging it”, said CEO of Bicycle NSW.

24 community groups are supporting the petition and campaign across NSW and state based organisations around Australia. It is not just the cycling community who are alarmed by the proposed changes. Business leaders recognise the regressive nature of these proposed changes.

“Property investors are investing millions of dollars to increase the quality and size of end of trip cycling facilities as demand has skyrocketed in recent years. Employers know the efficiencies and productivity gains of active travel in the workplace. Rather than disincentives the Government should focus on all road users, including cyclists, motorists and pedestrians doing the right thing with the focus on individual safety first and foremost,” says CEO Daryl Browning, ISPT Super Property.

The penalties will allegedly ‘equalise’ bicycle riders with motor vehicles drivers. But this ignores the hugely different risk exposures and consequences of an impact. Most fully loaded bicycles weigh less than 150kg, a tenth the weight of a small car, and a hundredth the weight of a loaded truck. A motor vehicle causes far more damage to other people and property than a bicycle.

“Only the new rule requiring drivers to leave a minimum 1 to 1.5 metre distance when passing bicycle riders is evidence based and demonstrable in improving safety on our roads. The minimum passing distance will bring NSW in line with the majority of States and Territories in Australia, and we commend the Government on catching up with this progressive legislation. However introducing laws making it compulsory for an adult rider to carry photo identification and increasing cycling fines by up to 500%, is regressive and a distraction from the real safety priorities”, says Ray Rice.

What the NSW Government is proposing contravenes its own target to double the number of people riding bicycles through improving infrastructure and encouraging broader community participation. Instead these punitive measures will put people off riding now and in future. A family out for a casual bike ride could face $850 in fines simply because their bicycles don’t trigger the traffic signal on a quiet road; and a further $106 each if they’re not carrying the required type of photo ID.

The direct impact on individuals is profound. Stephe Wilks has written to the Premier and NSW Treasurer Gladys Berejiklian to express his personal experiences. “I am a parent, a lawyer, a driver and car owner, and a bicycle rider. I cycle for health and fitness, riding to my city office. I don’t need to carry ID to walk to my office. Why do I need it on a bike? Why should I be treated differently to the rest of society?”

“The Government should be doing all it can to maximise healthy activities, minimise congestion and danger. The Premier must champion an agenda that prioritises the safety of all road users and encourages active travel including cycling. Laws which encourage sharing of the road and recognition that cyclists are a fragile road user (compared to cars, an order of magnitude heavier), is surely a better use of the legislature than creating some sort of false equivalence with fines.”

“As a State, I believe we are charting a course that will have long term negative effects on our society, our culture and our freedoms. Instead, we should be seeking to build closer relationships between road users.” Says Stephe Wilks, Bicycle NSW Member.

Bicycle NSW demands the NSW Government drop the proposal to introduce mandatory ID and increased fines for riders because they risk severely hampering the growth and safety of cycling in NSW.

Please sign the petition to support the future of riding in NSW.