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Motorcycle advocacy sucesses and failures. Discussion

Discussion in 'Politics, Laws, Government & Insurance' started by smee, Oct 23, 2009.

  1. This is a topic and a question to our more learned brethren throughout Australia.
    What successes have we had and what made them successful in motorcycling advocacy?
    What have been setbacks?
    How can we be successful in making advocacy work better for us?
    Can we learn from our successes and our setbacks?
    The current TAC campaign has really angered me and the failure or our motorcycling bodies to be open and transparent with us has not helped.
    So how about we do something positive?
    How when why what?

  2. Oh Smee you do like the controversial topics don't you ;)

    Success: Footpath parking in Victoria.
    Success (Partial): MRA Advocacy for plastic signage at roundabaouts.
    Failure: Wire Rope Barriers (WR8) fences alongside roads.

    The first success was due to concerted public action by riders. Some riders here on Netrider were involved. The second was a lobbying effort by mainly the MRA Vic to get Vic Roads to look at motorcycle injury statistics at roundabouts. The third has been a failure, generally studies show WRBs are safer for cars, more dangerous for motorcycles but above all the magic "cheaper" than other options. This is a hard one to fight.
  3. Sorry Double Post. Google syndication slow response screws it up sometimes.
  4. How did they lobby for the roundabout signage?
    What did they do to get parking rights?
    I'm interested in the mechanics of it
  5. If I remember rightly - though I'm not sure where I heard/read it, it's probably sixth-hand information to me - the footpath parking rights were fought by a Ride to Rule, when the politicians were talking of tightening the laws re: footpath parking (presumably it was a grey area beforehand, or maybe they just didn't enforce it).

    All of the motorcycles in the known universe would simply head into the CBD each day for work, nice and early to beat all the other commuters, and park just a single bike to every car space as per the requirements of the proposed rules/enforcement. Basically, showing the utter cluster**** that could/would result if suddenly bikes weren't allowed to park on the footpath and in alleyways and whatnot.
  6. The MRA Vic has been actively lobbying for round about roadside signs to be in plastic and collapsible. This was due to the injury rate from relatively slow speed accidents when rider slid into signs. This is by no means a won battle yet but Vic Roads is trialling new types of signage in areas where there has been a high rate of injury amongst bikers. Mainly through the VicRoads Road Safety Reference Group. TonyE would probably be able to give more info on this.

    Footpath parking, I am not sure of its origins originally but at various times when it has been threatened a campaign of work to rule has occurred. One motorcyclist parking on one parking position throughout the CBD. Vic was involved in these campaigns I believe he can probably give you the low down. Just don't mention the MRA to him ;)
  7. I think their needs to be a perception shift. Sort of like the 'If you drink then drive, you're a bloody idiot' to make drink driving socially unacceptable. Except we need to do the opposite.

    We don't need safety ads, we need PR to change the public perception. Promote motorcycling as a cheap, energy efficient, 'green', form of alternative transport. (I actually hate the whole enviro nonsense personally but it seems to be where all the attention is at)

    The bicycle people seemed to manage to find a niche, motorcycles need to be seen to fill that gap between pedalling and driving. For those that need to commute further than a bicycle, but find the car wasteful, etc.

    If you can change the public perception of motorcycling, then you change the attitudes, and as a result you end up with safer roads as well.

    A challenge, I know. I don't even know how such a thing could be done.

    Perhaps an ad that depicts a tired driver stuck in traffic. Just a close up of their face through the windscreen and checking the time. Once you've established how miserable they are, pan out to see all the motorcycles flowing freely and being happy in the sunshine and rainbows and flowers... you get the point.

    Who knows? I'm tired. ;)
  8. So how do we do it?
    How do we go about advocacy?
    How was the lobbying done??? again what were the mechanics behind it?
    I posted a picture of an ad for a toy run in 1981 which was prominently placed in a public transport bus of its era, why do we not see these sort of ads anymore?
  9. The roundabout and roadside furniture was started and very effectively lobbied for by Dale Maggs (former MRA president) - more people have ben killed and injured by roundabout signs than by WRBs over the past five years. The implementation of trials of flexible signs and other such was pushed for heavily by VMAC members.

    One notable piece of lobbying was the squashing of the proposed Australian Road Rule that explicitly banned lane splitting and filtering. That was organised, run and virtually entirely carried out from Victoria.

    Most advocacy takes a long time to come to fruition. The LAMS implementation took nearly 10 years since it was first proposed in Victoria by Ray Newland (the recently retired Motorcycle Manager for the FCAI).

    It took over 18 months from when we first proposed to the minister that they could at least abolish the levy on second and subsequent bikes. We proposed the change in the placement of rego stickers so you could have them at the rear at the same meeting.

    The mere fact that we have a TRANSPORT and Safety Action Plan should not be underestimated - that has taken many years of lobbying, publications and general work.

    I was living interstate at the time of the parking rights campaig, but somewhere there's a photo of (I think) Lonsdale Street with one bike parked in each car park on a Saturday morning.

    One of the committees now is the Motorcycles in Melbourne Committee of the Melbourne City Council which meets every two months, has representation from a range of organisations and keeps an eye on the parking situation.

    Parking is still something we need to keep fighting for. I guess over the past year I've personally written in support of at least a dozen people who were booked for parking - all but one were parked legally and we managed to get the fines rescinded. I know Detlef Lamp has also gone in to bat for people as well with some success. The problem is that parking inspectors from the MCC are now (usually) aware of the laws. It's other councils like Stonnington and City of Yarra that we need to be careful of.

    Unfortunately too many people just pay up if they get a ticket on their bike and once they've paid it's almost impossible to get it rescinded and refunded.

    I'd be interested to hear of major success stories for advocacy from outside Victoria. Guy and the NSWMCC have managed a couple of things but I'm not aware of any other states that have had major successes.

  10. How did he lobby for the signs?
    Who did he see?
    What contacts were made?
    The Mechanics of effective lobbying what are they?
  11. For the signs, Dale and I made an appointment and met with the VicRoads Road Safety Director. We also brought it up in discussions with the Minister and pointed out how they were actually responsible for a lot more casualties than WRB were - both nationally and in Victoria. We also used the argument that in the long term it could be cheaper to use these signs.

    We did a Power Point presentation for the meetings showing how roundabout signage was placed right on the trajectory that riders have if they come off at roundabouts. Dale also researched alternatives and presented them to VicRoads.

    For the splitting stuff from the National Transport Council, there were a lot of indivdual submissions made to the NTC in the comments phase. We used the paper on congestion I did some years ago for the Victorian Congestion Inquiry and the work done by Marcus Wigan back in 2000 and it culminated with the ride down the Eastern Freeway. John did a lot of media appearances - he spoke on Neil Mitchell's show on 3AW several times
    (and did it very well - he's got a good face for radio :) ).

    Again, for the recent Action Plan, we used the opportunity to meet with the Minister to push this heavily. We also passed on copies of Marcus' work (not just the PTW in Victoria but other unpublished work he's done) and the Congestion Paper to all and sundry. The industry people from the VACC, FCAI etc put a lot of work into supporting this at VMAC and the united front there between industry and rider groups is slowly starting to pay off. That's been both useful and important - we've found that the solid support there has paid dividends and has achieved a lot.

    The next thing we need to do - apart from "putting out fires" and watching out for stupid decisions is to concentrate on VicRoads actually carrying out the Transport part of the Action Plan. There is a study into the use of bus lanes currently being undertaken.
  12. #13 zenali, Oct 26, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 13, 2015
    I thought this might be a good time to remind people of the Motorcycle Awareness Week that starts today in NSW.


    [media=youtube]08IV834G2-E[/media] (excellent piece of advocacy!)


    I did a quick Google, but I couldn't see a Victorian equivalent. Does anybody know if we have one? I found one for the ACT as well as the NSW one. It seems like exactly the kind of thing we should be doing - particularly when we have the MotoGP here in Victoria. I know it is a bit late now, but if we don't have one we should think about running this kind of positive awareness campaign during the lead up to the GP next year.
  13. #14 fekkinell, Oct 26, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 13, 2015

    This is exactly what we need more of. Less moaning about 'who did what to who', and more promotion of the positive aspects of riding.
  14. This is the sort of thing we need in Victoria.
  15. Damned straight.

    Look at bicycles. There are plenty of other road users (including people on this forum) who are very anti-bicycle. Just look at the Magda incident a couple of weeks ago, or the guy in Sydney who deliberately caused a massive pile-up of cyclists last year.

    Despite this, we see new bike lanes going in all over Melbourne, and safety boxes for bicycles being painted at traffic lights. How do the cyclists deal with the negative attention? Look at Ride To Work Day, which emphasises cycling as a low-cost, healthy form of transport that has the side benefit of reducing traffic congestion. They have a huge grass roots build up, where organisations can sponsor a Ride To Work Day event at their workplace. They have mass media coverage, including a breakfast at Fed Square where you can get tips on how to deal with helmet hair! Bicycle Victoria seems to be doing an excellent job at organising cyclists to be their own advocates.

    Why don't we take part in Motorcycle Awareness Week next year? The MRA could arrange a week-long series of media events - different people to be interviewed answering common questions. The themes could be safety and practicality. How can you ride safely? How can you commute to work? Where can you park? What should you wear? (For instance, I'm OK at work in my Draggins, but others I know leave a pair of suit pants at work and change when they get there.)

    One of the reasons I switched from bicycle commuting to motorcycle commuting is that it is actually more convenient for me - I don't need to shower when I get to work. It is also faster. And, given that I am travelling with the traffic instead of being overtaken by a continuous stream of cars who may or may not notice that I am there or leave me enough room, I believe that it is safer as well. I do miss the health benefits, but then again I am not breathing in exhaust fumes for as long each day.

    We need to tackle the questions and concerns that people have head on, and take active steps to address the negative aspects of the biker image. One thing that the head of the NSW equivalent of the MRA has said in his press releases for Motorcycle Awareness Week is that the next rider you see could be your brother, your colleague, or your boss.
  16. It appears that we need some sort of noisy union to push for our rights etc. Maybe an annual fee to fun it? Does something of this nature exist already? A motorcycle specific union or lobby group?
  17. I'm pretty sure that is what the MRA is supposed to be doing. $25 a year to join.
  18. To steal a quote from an article on The Age website, what the MRA currently does 'is like sending a message to capitalist fat cats by distributing a sternly worded pamphlet at a Socialist Alternative meeting.'

  19. Hahahahahahaha I love it!