A letter to our Members and Supporters

As 2020 draws to a close, we’d like to take this opportunity to share the impact you’ve helped us make in what’s been an incredible year for cycling. Thank you for your support – here’s what we’ve achieved in 2020 and where we’re headed in 2021.

Cycling in a time of COVID

The simple act of riding a bike gained a whole new level of importance in 2020 as Australians looked for ways to stay active during lockdown.

Most Australians do not consider themselves ‘cyclists’, yet nearly 4 million of us simply appreciate the opportunity to regularly get out and ride a bike! Whether for running an errand, riding to school or to work, and yes for sport and recreation, WeRide’s work supports making their choice easier.

If ever there was a time to reflect on the value of what WeRide does to secure more bike infrastructure and better conditions for Australians to ride their bikes, 2020’s COVID-19 pandemic was it!

People desperate to ride meant bike shops were stripped of stock, bike repair services had wait-lists of weeks and cycling turned out to be a lock-down champion for our families and our well-being.

2021 Impact + Projects

With your continued support, we have some exciting projects coming in 2021.

A substantial economic data project is planned that will look at the contribution of bicycle riding to the Australian economy.

This economic ‘state of the nation’ report from one of Australia’s pre-eminent economics advisory practices is critical for the work of all bicycle advocacy and we plan on leveraging the data for better outcomes for all bicycle riders – across infrastructure, safety, health and importantly, the environment.  Money talks, and we believe this economic research will have a real direct impact into future government investments.

Our Bicycle Transport Analysis tool (BTA) was launched late this year with eight capital cities mapped using data to assess the quality of their bicycle networks. Another 25 or so cities and regional centres will be completed in 2021.

This is a collaboration with one of the most successful bicycle organisations in the World, People for Bikes in the US, and the BTAs are an example of the kind of data we can produce to help state and local organisations sell the story for better infrastructure.

It is certainly proving effective in the US and Europe with an assessment undertaken on the bicycle networks of more than 650 cities allowing advocacy groups to use the data to call for better investment for bike infrastructure.

Our RideScore Active Schools program is a federally funded trial with state, Council, University and developer support that will be fully tested in 2021 after substantial COVID delays this year.

Our plan is to work with state and local organisations to roll out to schools to super-charge active travel to school. It is designed to support and complement the work they are already doing in their ride to school programs to get more kids active and riding to school.

Our Parliamentary Friends of Cycling program, guided by Dave Sharma MP with co-chairs, Dr Andrew Leigh MP and Dr Helen Haines MP was launched in November this year with the support of 26 federal MP’s and Senators.

In 2021 it will provide the platform for critical presentations, information and advocacy within Parliament House, especially important as we head to the next federal election.

Governance and Board

In 2020, WeRide’s Board entered a new and exciting phase with a very successful recruitment of talent, skills and expertise that will be focused on making WeRide even more successful in 2021.
With our new directors, Osher Gunsberg, Scott Taylor, Pete Williams (new Chair) and Laura Wilson, it will be an exciting time with new programs, energy and commitment to the cause. You can read more about our Directors here.

The last words

If we ever needed evidence that better infrastructure allows people to ride their bikes and leads to direct economic benefits for the business sector, then COVID-19 was it!

Construction of pop-up bike lanes was linked to a massive spike in demand, demand so great in fact that it led to problems with bicycle supply.

While the supply should resolve itself during 2021, the story has clearly been the link between good infrastructure, bike riding and business. WeRide works to secure the infrastructure and programs for riding, this is what your support enables us to do.

WeRide’s work to ensure bicycle riders have a seat at the federal table has never been more important! A lot of our time is spent developing the key relationships so necessary to have cycling’s voice heard.

It is vitally important that we are able to keep this work going to keep our position and influence strong. For further detail on this work can be found in the 2019/20 annual report.

Thanks for your ongoing support through these difficult times, we couldn’t do it without you.

Peter Bourke & Stephen Hodge