End-of-Year Forum wrap up

06 Dec 22 | By pp-admin

On 1 December Pedal Power members gathered to share dinner and discuss future directions.

It was an opportunity for members to meet the new Pedal Power Office Team, Executive Director Simon Copland and Communications Manager Ilaria Catizone, but most importantly members listened to Pedal Power’s plans for the new year and contributed their opinions.

The forum opened with Simon outlining the strategic plan for 2023, based on four main goals: getting more people on bikes, advocating for a more bike-friendly Canberra, providing value to members and running a sustainable organisation. Simon explained the intent of running a large campaign called ‘Let’s Ride’ to encourage a broader demographic on bikes, more often and of ensuring our advocacy efforts are more publicly visible.

To further guide Pedal Power’s plans for 2023, Simon then opened the panel discussion followed by a Q&A session involving the rest of the members present.

On the panel were Pedal Power’s Board member and founder of Canberra by Bike Paris Lord, former Pedal Power Board president and long-time member Rosemary Dupont and new member and e-bike user Sehrish Hussein. The panel led the discussion on core topics, which was then followed by members giving extensive feedback on what they want the organisation to focus on in the new year.

The panel and present members unanimously
agreed that better infrastructure is key to
encouraging more people to ride

The panel and present members unanimously agreed that better infrastructure is key to encouraging more people to ride, more often and identified secure bike parking as well as safe, extensive and well-maintained bike paths as key to achieving this goal. Paris provided insight from his recent trip overseas, describing how cities like London and Amsterdam made cycling more accessible to all.

Reducing speed limits to 30km/h in residential areas was also raised as an important measure worth advocating for, given lower speed limits severely reduce the risk of death or major injury when cars collide with cyclists or pedestrians.  

While leading advocacy for substantial changes, quick and easy changes can also be implemented to improve the experience of people on bikes. Extending the time lights are green for bikes and pedestrians, for example, would be one such simple change.

Despite all these ideas, however, members articulated that they often weren’t aware of the advocacy work Pedal Power does. There was a call to be more vocal about our positions and how we are pushing the Government to make changes. The panel, and Pedal Power staff, largely agreed, and our Simon Copland took on board a project to develop more consistent communications about what we are doing in this area.  

The discussion then moved to events that Pedal Power should host and all agreed that the most important events are the ones catering to beginner and less confident riders. Continuing and enhancing our learn-to-ride courses should be high on the list, as well as events and services where people can learn about types of bikes and bike accessories that would make bikes a more practical transport for a wider variety of needs, such as using cargo bikes for grocery shopping. An issue that was consistently raised by members and panelists alike is that we need to expand the demographics both of our membership and those who regularly ride a bike. It was agreed that we want to run more family-friendly events that can appeal to a broader cycling audience.

The panel expressed strong support for events implementing temporary road closures to cars to give people a glimpse of what it might be like to live in a city that is less car-dominated. This was something Pedal Power used to run regularly in the 1980s and that could be resumed.

Members’ benefits were also a prominent topic of discussion. One common suggestion was that we pursue partnerships with other local groups, building the range of benefits available to Pedal Power members. Simon said he was already pursuing this and we will hopefully be able to start rolling things out in the new year.

 Finally, the recent loss of the Canberra Cyclist magazine was felt by most attending members. Simon clarified that Pedal Power does not currently have the budget to re-instate the printed magazine, but the team is considering ideas to provide similar member value at a lower cost. Stay tuned as we come to a decision early in the new year!