Sydney Critical Mass
Letters are a very powerful tool in lobbying for change. Letters to newspapers are a great way to publicise a cause, and will influence editors when deciding of what articles should be covered in their newspaper.
Letters to the editor
For some strange reason drivers of polluting motor vehicles feel they have more of a right to drive on any road than a cyclist because they pay registration fees for their vehicle. A quick check of the RTA's website to look up the 2007 Financial Statement reveals the followings FACTS that these people should bear in mind the next time they get the urge to yell abuse at a cyclist using their road:
Page 3 of 33 of the Financial Statements, Total Expenses Excluding Losses - (Consolidated), shows: $2,262,575,000.00 Revenue from Sale of Goods and Services shows = $296,292,000.00
A difference of $1,966,283,000.00
Seems to me that it is the drivers of motor vehicles who are being subsidised by all the taxpayers of NSW. If these selfish, narrow-minded, single-occupancy vehicle drivers believe they have a god given right to the road, then perhaps they'd care to pay their fair share and relieve the tax burden on the people who choose not to drive. I can imagine how they'd scream and wail at the thought of the registration fees going up a whopping one thousand per cent, judging by their recent bleatings.
I have a car, it's registered, insured and in good working order. I also have the option of catching a bus to work or cycling. Many days I choose to cycle. Why? For the simple reason that I get exercise to and from work, I don't have to wait fifteen minutes to get on an overcrowded, stinking bus with people farting, belching, scratching and yelling into their mobiles over the top of their neighbour's blaring mp3 player.
Cycling to work reduces greenhouse gases and health expenses as I am fitter and less stressed.
The people who say cyclists increase their travel time should stop and think how much more their travel time would increase if the cyclist you just squeezed past or ran off the road in your single occupancy, six-cylinder gas guzzler was in another six-cylinder gas guzzler and was in front of you! You can't squeeze past them as you've run all the cyclists off the road and into gas guzzlers, and now the roads are practically grid-locked. Who are the Luddites going to blame now for all the traffic. The last traffic jam I saw was caused by too many motor vehicles. Cyclists don't cause traffic jams as yes, quite rightly, they go onto a footpath to get around it. So would you if you weren't so lazy, got out of your tin can, got some exercise and lived a more active and happy life rather than fuming at the wheel.
I also see more cars going through red lights, which has more serious consequences than if a cyclist goes through a red light.
Finally, our new government is moving in the right direction (Tax on luxury cars fair: Swan, SMH Web, Sunday 11 May). What a pity they aren't taxing all imported cars and doubling that tax for any car larger than four cylinders. Let's be quite clear: motor vehicles are a burden on our society and our planet.
Cars kill people, they pollute the air and contribute to climate change. Imported oil and vehicles contribute to the national current account deficit. Drivers demand expensive motorways and tunnels yet complain about the price of petrol. Motor vehicles are a burden on our health system, encouraging sedentary lifestyles as well as creating road trauma. Every new car adds to the congestion on our roads.
The sooner we get over our addiction to private motor vehicles the better off we'll all be as a society.
Of course the NRMA will claim that any money spent on cycling facilities is a waste. The NRMA's prime role is to ensure that the tax payer continues to subsidise car-based transport. While they might whine about the low use of the Epping Road cycleway, it must be pointed out that it is new, and therefore deserves a chance.
Does the NRMA ever consider that the design of cycling facilities might have something to do with the slow uptake? What do roads and cycle paths have in common? Both are designed by motorists.
And while we're on the subject of the low use of facilities: remember that the low driver uptake of the Cross City Tunnel drove it into bankruptcy. Regardless of the level of use, the Epping Road cycleway is unlikely to have the same fiscal effect.
(contact dets removed in case Steve Price or some other goose is lurking)
Letters to politicians and government departments
One hand written letter to a politician is said to represent the opinions of 100 voters. It is also a great way to make yourself feel popular because politicians are obliged to answer every letter sent to them.
Hon Minister for Roads,
I was quite amazed to read your call for cyclists to avoid riding during peak hour. Do you realise what the consequences would be if all commuting cyclists were to add to our city's traffic congestion? It could easily be the final straw that creates total gridlock.
A few pertinent facts:
Cyclists rarely kill other road users.
Cyclists are saving the nation a small fortune by trying to do the right thing.
Cyclists are not polluting the air.
Cyclists don't damage the roads or demand expensive motorways and tunnels.
Cyclists are not adding to the current account deficit by buying imported oil and vehicles.
Cyclists are reducing the burden on the health system by battling obesity and staying fit.
Cyclists don't complain about the price of petrol.
Every cyclist is one less car on our congested roads.
Instead of attacking citizens who are putting their lives on the line to create a better society, perhaps your government could give them a helping hand.
Organiser: Ride of Silence, Sydney
Dear NSW Government or RTA representative,
I'm writing to see if any progress reports are available on the RTA's Bicycle Masterplan 2010, specifically items 11 and 14 from the bike network map (pages 4 and 5 for the Action Plan for Bikes) report of 1999.
These are the two major off-road cycleways promised for the Northern Beaches:
11. Chatswood to Warringah Mall, to be completed in 2009
14. Harbour Bridge to Warringah Mall, to be completed in 2009
Are there any progress reports on these two projects.
Are local bicycle groups and councils being consulted?
When will work commence?
Are detailed maps or plans available?
Community representative Manly Council Bicycle Committee
Secretary Manly Mosman Bicycle Users Group
Dear Mr McGrath
The Premier has received a copy of your recent email concerning cycleways in New South Wales.
As the matter you have raised primarily concerns the administration of the Minister for Roads, and Minister for Commerce, the Hon E M Roozendaal, MLC, it is appropriate that you have already acquainted the Minister with your concerns.
In the circumstances, Mr Iemma has taken the opportunity to request his colleague to carefully consider your email.
Assistant Private Secretary
Dear Mr Souris,
I write in regard to an article from 30th January in the Campbelltown Macarthur Advertiser, which claims you support Macarthur MP Pat Farmer's proposal for a levy on bicycles, with which to build new cycling infrastructure. Is this claim correct? As Shadow Minister for Sport and Recreation, what is your position on the relative costs and charges for trucks, buses, cars, motorbikes, bicycles, and pedestrians? Do you believe that pedestrians should also be charged for the use of transport infrastructure, and whether trucks should be charged relative to the damage they cause to the roads?
thanks and regards,
I have no knowledge of the newspaper article but certainly it must be incorrect as I did not and would not propose levies of any type let alone a bike levy, let alone in such an obscure and indirect way. The answers to the other questions are therefore not relevant.