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Putting bikes on the agenda for the 2024 council elections

There are 128 local government councils in NSW. Each council has 5-15 councillors, including a mayor, who serve for a four-year term. The NSW Electoral Commission will be conducting elections on Saturday, 14th September 2024 to elect councillors.

Head here for more information about how local government elections work.

Bicycle NSW would love our community of friends and Members to reach out to candidates.  Ask them to promise improvements to bike infrastructure to secure your vote, and encourage them to to take a pledge to be a #CouncillorForActiveTransport2024.

The run up to an election is a great time to put active transport front and centre in the hearts and minds of both candidates and voters. Many politicians don’t regularly hear from bike riders or understand how much community support there is for safer streets. This is not so surprising.  If your local area doesn’t have quality bike infrastructure, most people won’t think to ask for it.

Why walking and cycling should be a priority for councillors

NSW COUNCIL ELECTION CAMPAIGN 2024

Making it easier to walk and ride will address many of the issues that overwhelm councillors’ inboxes.

Cost of living pressures, parking problems, congestion and traffic woes, and unsafe streets around schools are constant themes in local government.

In addition, many councils have signed up Net Zero targets.

Transport is the second largest source of CO2 emissions and it is growing. Without bold actions to facilitate active and public transport, it will be impossible to meet targets

Our Asks

The NSW Government is responsible for much of the funding and decision-making that affects our transport network. However, councils control local roads, how rates are spent and can advocate to state and federal governments for funding.

The Bicycle NSW council election campaign focuses on actions that councils can control and work towards:  

Dedicated investment

  • Councils need to apply for all available NSW Government grants to ensure that their areas are not overlooked. 
  • Operational budgets should have strong targets to improve streets each and every year with best-practice paths, new crossings and trees. 
  • Council policies must be updated to ensure that upgrades to walking and cycling infrastructure occur every time a road is re-sheeted.

Safer streets

  • Safety is key to increasing bike riding and walking. We want every street to be a Better Street that prioritises people not cars.
  • Residential streets and town centres need low speed limits, restricted through traffic, high-quality footpaths and crossings, and more tree canopy. 
  • Councils must support the development of separated cycleways on busy corridors where traffic is faster.
  • It is essential to create safe routes to all schools in the council area with a razor-sharp focus on new raised crossings, wide, continuous footpaths, and low speed limits on key routes used by students. 

An active culture

  • Education to help everyone share the road safely is critical.   We want councils to lead effective awareness campaigns and training courses that help all road users develop skills and knowledge to interact safely in our public spaces. 
  • Every council should have a walking and cycling advisory committee or strategic reference group to guide projects and investments.
  • E-bike subsidies, loans and trials are proven to nudge many people into trying this transformative transport option. We urge all councils to develop and fund a program.

What Bicycle NSW will do

As the peak advocacy body in NSW, we will write to all candidates to introduce Bicycle NSW and our key asks. We will encourage each candidate to take a pledge to be a #CouncillorForActiveTransport2024.

All responses received will be published on our website and shared on social media.

Candidates can use the pledge graphic in their own communications to let voters know that they will fight for the very best active transport outcomes.

This will help voters decide which boxes to tick on election day!

What you can do

We rely on our incredible community of friends and Members to advocate for projects and initiatives in their areas. Please get involve during the run up to the council elections and:

Write to your local candidates. Ask them take the Bicycle NSW pledge to be a #CouncillorForActiveTransport2024. Amplify our Asks but add personal stories and request action on local projects. A sample letter template is below. 

Communicate to friends and neighbours about the council election. Ask 'What's important for cycling and walking in your suburb?'  Prompt them to share an idea or a picture with candidate.

Engage friends in dialogue about Bicycle NSW campaigns and encourage them to canvas candidates in their respective suburbs. A network of grassroots advocates will make our collective voice very loud!

Share articles and stories about active transport on social media to inform friends and community groups about topics such as 30 km/h speed limits, e-bike subsidies, local infrastructure projects, walkable neighbourhoods and safer streets. 

Join Bicycle NSW in advocating for better infrastructure.  Become a Member during the election campaign and get 20% off your membership.

Sample Letter Sections

These sections can be used to compose a letter or an email to your local candidates. Mix and match! Pick the bits you want to use.  Don't make it too long.  Be positive about cycling and praise any recent progress to deliver safe infrastructure for bike riding in the LGA.

Make sure you mention that you are a resident of the area and a voter.  Use personal experiences and examples to make your point individual and local.

You may like to share articles and data about active transport and safer streets to help candidates understand why these issues should be their priority.  The Bicycle NSW articles below provide some excellent resources to get you started.

Resources

From car guy to #CouncillorForActiveTransport
In the run up to the 2024 Council Election, Bicycle NSW is reaching out to candidates to explain how they Read more
ACTIVE TRAVEL WINS AT WILLOUGHBY PUBLIC SCHOOL
Bicycle NSW volunteer Nicolle Kuppens has found bike riding in Sydney a challenge after many years of everyday cycling in Read more
MAKING LOCAL STREETS SAFE FOR BIKES
Protected cycleways that separate bike riders from both vehicles and pedestrians are gold standard facilities. Great examples of these cycleways Read more
Australia’s best town centres
Recent decades have seen ‘the death of the town centre’ in many western countries. Many factors are at play. These Read more
Are e-bikes really so expensive?
Not compared to car ownership! At Bicycle NSW, we regularly hear that people are put off buying an e-bike by Read more
Do great places need parking?
Not according to urban planning experts! Australian cities have an abundance of affordable, subsidised and often free homes – but Read more
Bike paths and pedestrian-friendly streets have much more to do with improving our economy than many people realise! Pitt Street in Read more
Police tape across NSW road
Road trauma statistics have trended in the wrong direction over the last few years. 370 lives were lost in the Read more
Nicolle and her daughter in Amersfoort
Nicolle Kuppens is an urban planner who lives on Sydney’s lower north shore and loves riding bikes. Two years ago, Read more
Two bicycle riders are thrust into sydney traffic as bike lane abruptly ends
An interim report from BikeSpot 2023 has revealed the worst and the best places in Sydney to ride your bike. Read more
Three Roads to affordable housing and better transport
There's a golden opportunity along three of Australia’s oldest roads  Parramatta Road is Australia’s ugliest, noisiest, dirtiest road. Half of Read more
Western Distributor
A transport model is a tool for assessing the likely impacts on travel demand caused by changes in the transport Read more