Bike North plays an active role in engaging with decision-makers at all levels of Government.

As an example, prior to the December 2021 local government elections, Bike North’s advocacy team established an innovative process to engage with candidates across the nine LGAs in our area.  Here is the page that was active for that election, showing how we engaged with candidates.  Watch out for the election page for the 2023 State election appearing in early 2023.  

The local government elections take place on 4 December this year.  Local government has a major impact on cycling and particularly cycling infrastructure. 

  • Would you like to know what your candidates think about cycling?
  • Would you like to show them how great cycling is for the community? 
  • Would you like to show them what would improve cycling in your area? 
  • Would you like to tell them about BN?

Member’s Kit

Here is a “members kit” to help you participate in the council elections on 4 December.  The “kit” includes:

  • Sample text for possible use in emails, letters or social media posts to candidates or talking points when you bump into the candidate at the shops! 
  • Contact information about candidates in your area. [available early next week]

Sample content for a letter or email

Below are some issues and phrases that you might like to include.  Also below is a sample letter to your candidate.  Mix and match!  Pick the bits you want to use.  Don’t make it too long.  Be positive about cycling (try hard not to whinge)!   

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

Your local advocacy Convenor has written to all candidates in your area.  It may be useful to know what they have written, to either reinforce their points, or to know how to add new points.  They can provide a copy of the letter at willoughby@bikenorth.org.au, hills@bikenorth.org.au, hunters.hill@bikenorth.org.au, etc

This information is also available in a WORD doc here.

Contact information

Contact details for each candidate are available on the righthand side of this page. Search for your local electoral area or search by party. Email address, and sometimes phone number and Facebook page are available. Lead candidate contact details are shown. Click on their name to see further details.

To find which council area and council ward you are in, go to the “find my electorate” page at the Electoral Commission, then just type your address.  This is the link to that page; NSW Local & State Government Elections – NSW Electoral Commission 

You can provide further input to your local election by participating in the Bicycle NSW #BikePromise2021 campaign. Go to their page here: Bike Promise 2021 – Bicycle NSW and add your voice to their campaign in this election.

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Sample letter or email content

Opening [be complimentary about them standing for election] 

Congratulations on standing as a candidate for election to XYZ Council on 4th December.  We commend your commitment to the local community in seeking public office.  OR
Congratulations on standing as a candidate for election to XYZ Council on 4th December which is an important and honourable thing to do in our community, and in our times.

Increase in cycling [springboard from the increase in cycling in the last 2 years] 

Have you noticed how many more families are cycling recently?  Wouldn’t it be great if council could support them continue to cycle? 
There has been a 43% increase in cycle sales in the last two years.  More bikes have been sold than cars in the last two years.  Twice as many adult bikes have been sold as children’s bikes. 

Benefits of cycling [There are many benefits they may not have realised]  

Cycling is healthy for families.  Cycling reduces road congestion. 
Cycling is part of our efforts toward Net Zero emissions.   Cycling is a sustainable form of transport. 
Cycling, either road cycling or BMX is a form of recreation, we need to fund all healthy pursuits. 
Cycling helps get kids outdoors and being active. 
Cycling around our local communities gives a real awareness of what is happening, as opposed to rushing around in enclosed little steel boxes.  More cycling leads to more connectedness in our community.
For short trips a bike is more convenient – no parking issues, no walking from your car to the shops.

Progress by Council [A positive statement about council’s progress on cycle projects – if applicable!]

It is great that council has completed [planning and consultation for the Beecroft to Cheltenham cycleway and construction is about to commence].  Many residents will benefit from this work, and it will be great to continue this momentum. 

A positive future [paint a picture of how good it would be with increased cycling]  

44% of trips in Australia under 2km are taken by car.  Wouldn’t it be great to allow more residents to bicycle or walk safely to the shops or train station? 
Wouldn’t it be great if families could continue to ride safely around the streets of XYZ as life returns to normal? 
Cycling can greatly benefit a sustainable future and help council do its bit to reach Net Zero Emissions. 

Please commit [Ask the candidate to commit to support cycling]  

What our members are interested to know in the lead up to the forthcoming Council elections are your views on whether bicycles have a role to play in addressing Ku-ring-gai’s transport challenges.
I would appreciate your providing responses to the following questions, for the information of our members and other voters:

[choose three or four at most]  

  • Do you support cycling?
  • Would you support an increase in funding for cycling?
  • Do you support better liaison between Councils and bicycle user groups ?
  • Do you support the construction of infrastructure that makes bicycle transport, as opposed to over-reliance on car usage, more viable throughout XYZ Shire ?
  • Given the limitations on council budgets, do you support the idea of Councils seeking and availing themselves of State Government grants for cycling infrastructure construction ?
  • Do you support an increase in the funding for cycling in XYZ from the current less than $20,00 to $200,000pa? 
  • Do you support funding for project A and project B.  
  • Do you support seeking funding from the new Net Zero Emissions fund to be used for cycling funding?  
  • Would you insist council officers pursue all funding sources for cycle funding? 
  • Do you support funding cycle projects that provide safe routes to stations / shopping centres?  
  • Would you support the creation of a Bicycle Advisory Committee for council, as exists in most councils? 
  • Would you support funding the implementation of 20% of Council’s approved Bicycle Plan? 

I am a local resident and voter in the coming election and

Contact me
I would be pleased to provide you more information over the phone or in person. 

[your name]
[resident of XYZ council area]
[your email address]
[your phone number??]
[and if you like] member of Bike North

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SAMPLE LETTER

North Sydney Draft Letter to Candidates

Jill Johnston
Candidate for A Ward
North Sydney Council
Dear Ms Johnston,

Congratulations on standing as a Councillor candidate at the North Sydney Council election on Saturday 4th December, 2021. We commend your commitment to the local community in seeking public office.

Bike North is raising the issue of the scarcity of safe places to walk and ride a bike in the North Sydney area, with you and other candidates for this upcoming election. Bike North is a non-profit community based bicycle group of over 500 members which is affiliated with Bicycle NSW. We promote the safe use of bicycle for transport and recreation and work closely with local councils, including North Sydney Council for safer places to ride and walk.

North Sydney Council has built some great streetscape, such as between Merlin Street and Young St, Neutral Bay. This does provide safe separated space for people walking and riding bikes, for some residents. This has been possible due to the availability of funding and support from Transport for NSW’s Active Transport department together with Council approvals and funding. But unfortunately, the momentum from Council has slowed down over the last few years and the most important route, connecting from the Sydney Harbour Bridge to the Willoughby LGA border, remains a major blackspot. Meanwhile, support and funding from the state and federal governments continues and North Sydney Council is missing out. 

Walking and riding bikes are healthy activities which many local residents undertake for recreation. While these activities have always been popular, there has been a large upswing all over Sydney, including North Sydney. So many people  bought new bikes, such that bike shops were cleared out of stock. E-bikes have been very popular as they flatten the hills, making North Sydney much more accessible for all.

Walking and riding bikes are also healthy ways to get to places in North Sydney, especially for local short trips. Riding a bike is more than just a recreational activity. It’s also the most efficient, healthy, cheapest and congestion busting form of transport.  As stated by Infrastructure Australia:

‘With more people walking or cycling as part of their daily travel routine, prioritizing and accelerating investment in active travel will pay health dividends for individuals and create less congested urban communities’1

Motor vehicles funnel through North Sydney to access the Sydney Harbor Bridge and Tunnel. Similarly North Sydney is an important connection for bike riders from neighbouring areas, such as Willoughby and the City of Sydney, where there are some wonderful safe and popular bike paths, and more planned. We consider it is critical to accelerate safe and separated bike routes linking our neighbouring areas, not just for local and neighbouring bike riders, but also to ensure there are safe spaces for walkers. Naturally we would expect Transport for NSW to largely fund these more regional routes, but Council support is needed for these projects.

Our members and other people who ride bikes in North Sydney would like to know more about your position on providing more safe spaces for riding (and walking) in North Sydney. In particular:

  • Will you actively support projects that will enable and progress the priority routes in North Sydney Council’s Integrated Bicycle Strategy as quickly as possible?
  • Will you ensure no existing bike route is removed, before an alternative separated, safe and effective bicycle route is completed?
  • Will you encourage and support  North Sydney Council working with Transport for NSW on  completing a safe and separated bike route
    • between Alfred Street South and the Willoughby Council LGA border at Naremburn/Cammeray ?
    • along the Pacific Highway between North Sydney and St Leonards?
  • Will you support Transport for NSW plans to build a linear ramp from the Harbour Bridge Cycleway to Bradfield Park North and upgrade that connection to Middlemiss Street for safe riding?
  • Do you support the existing Sustainable Transport Reference Group, or an alternative group, as a forum for engagement between Council and Bike North and other local community representatives with respect to cycling and other transport  matters?

I would be pleased to discuss these matters with you, in person or by phone. 

Kind regards,

[your name]
[resident of XYZ council area]
[your email address]
[your phone number??]
[and if you like] member of Bike North