Parliamentary Friends of Cycling
Parliamentarians standing up for cycling - a platform for progress
We Ride Australia established a Parliamentary Friends of Cycling group in late 2020.
It was the culmination of more than a decade of federal advocacy by We Ride. The Friendship group marks a coming of age for bicycle riding in federal Parliamentary circles.
The opportunity to host and facilitate expert discussions on riding bicycles in Parliament House amongst federal Members and Senators from all parts of Australia is an important win for bicycle riding in this country.
The Friends of Cycling group provides a non-partisan federal forum for Parliamentarians to meet and interact with riding and active transport issues and benefits.
An initiative of We Ride Australia’s Stephen Hodge and Dave Sharma, the Member for Wentworth (Liberal), the group is Co-Chaired by Dave Sharma, the Hon. Dr Andrew Leigh, federal Member for Fenner (Labor) and Dr Helen Haines, the federal Member for Indi (independent).
A further nineteen Parliamentarians signed up within hours to support the group’s establishment – see their names below.
At a time when bicycle riding is booming, as Australians re-discover the joys of two wheels for transport, staying active and healthy during the COVID pandemic, this group demonstrates our Parliamentarians are also clearly very interested in a greater engagement around the benefits of riding bicycles in this country.
The benefits of increased bicycle riding include better physical and mental health, improved community liveability, equitable and sustainable transport options and economic development opportunities in regional Australia through destination marketing and visitation built around bike facilities and trails.
We Ride Australia’s Stephen Hodge coordinates the group’s activities.
“I was delighted to get such a positive response to the idea from Dave Sharma when I approached him about championing bicycle riding in Parliament,” said Hodge.
“Andrew Leigh and Helen Haines also very quickly expressed their support and we were on our way,
“An email from Dr Leigh to the entire Parliament resulted in enough support from MPs and Senators within a couple of hours to set up the Friends and I think it showed we had really captured the moment for bike riding in Australia” Mr Hodge said.
The Parliamentary Friends of Cycling is led by three Co-Chairs with support from across the political spectrum.
“We’ve seen a massive increase in cycling during COVID-19, for both transport and recreation. As an enthusiastic rider myself, I’m keen for the Parliament to get behind this trend and do more to encourage people to lead active lifestyles,” Dave Sharma, the Member for Wentworth said.
“From Mulga Bill to Anna Meares, cycling is intertwined with the Australian story. And no part of Australia loves cycling more than my home city of Canberra. From the 6am bunch ride to mountain biking with my kids, cycling is one of life’s true pleasures, and I’m keen to encourage its uptake nationwide” said Dr Andrew Leigh, the Member for Fenner.
“Like lots of people, I have strong memories of learning to ride a bike. The thrill of finding my balance has lasted a lifetime. The Parliamentary Friends of Cycling is all about the love of cycling and the real benefits it can bring to people and to our environment when we leave the car in the shed and jump on the bike instead,” said the Member for Indi, Dr Helen Haines.
“In regional areas like the one I represent, the economic benefits through cycle tourism are really important and will continue to contribute to our communities as we emerge and recover from the COVID lockdown,” said Dr Haines.
The first event for the Parliamentary Friends of Cycling was a showcase of the latest e-mobility trends. The latest electric-assist bicycles, family e-bikes and a range of utilitarian and freight bikes were showcased and available for test rides by Parliamentarians in the House event.
The Co-Chairs work with Stephen to determine topics of interest to MPs and develop the program of events. All MPs and Senators in Parliament are invited to attend Friendship Group events and hear from subject experts and network with colleagues and invited guests. Parliamentary Friends of Cycling was launched in front of Parliament on Thursday, 8th October 2020.
The second Parliamentary event was focused on the regional economic benefits of cycle tourism and Key Noted by Minister Mark Coulton and Shadow Attorney General Hon Mark Dreyfus QC. A well attended event saw MPs and Senators with an interest in regional rail trails and destination marketing and MTB parks join to hear the latest data from Rail Trails Australia and Tourism North East (VIC).
- 16 February – Two Wheeled Tourism – transforming Australia’s regions – fact sheet
- June – an event focusing on the national economic benefits of the boom in cycling during COVID
- August – event theme to be determined
- October – Ride to Work Day event – theme to be determined
2020 event: 3 December – e-bike showcase – fact sheet
The MPs and Senators who supported the establishment of Parliamentary Friends of Cycling are –
|Hon||Kevin||Andrews||MP||Member for Menzies||Vic||Liberal|
|Dr||Katie||Allen||MP||Member for Higgins||Vic||Liberal|
|Hon||Terri||Butler||MP||Member for Griffith||Qld||Labor|
|Mr||Milton||Dick||MP||Member for Oxley||Qld||Labor|
|Hon||Mark||Dreyfus||MP||Member for Isaacs||Vic||Labor|
|Hon Dr||David||Gillespie||MP||Member for Lyne||NSW||National|
|Mr||Luke||Gosling OAM||MP||Member for Solomon||NT||Labor|
|Dr||Helen||Haines||MP||Member for Indi||VIC||Independent|
|Ms||Madeline||King||MP||Member for Brand||WA||Labor|
|Mr||Andrew||Laming||MP||Member for Bowman||Qld||LNP|
|Hon Dr||Andrew||Leigh||MP||Member for Fenner||ACT||Labor|
|Ms||Gladys||Liu||MP||Member for Chisolm||Vic||Liberal|
|Dr||Fiona||Martin||MP||Member for Reid||NSW||Liberal|
|Ms||Julie||Owens||MP||Member for Parramatta||NSW||Labour|
|Senator||Janet||Rice||Senator for Victoria||Vic||Greens|
|Hon||Scott||Ryan||MP||Senator for Victoria||Vic||Liberal|
|Ms||Rebekah||Sharkie||MP||Member for Mayo||SA||Centre Alliance|
|Mr||Dave||Sharma||MP||Member for Wentworth||NSW||Liberal|
|Hon||Warren||Snowden||MP||Member for Lingiari||NT||Labor|
|Hon||Angus||Taylor||MP||Member for Hume||NSW||Liberal|
|Senator||David||Van||Senator for Victoria||Vic||Liberal|
|Mr||Bert||van Manen||MP||Member for Forde||Qld||LNP|
|Mr||Ross||Vasta||MP||Member for Bonner||Qld||LNP|
|Mr||Andrew||Wallace||MP||Member for Fisher||Qld||Liberal|
|Mr||Tim||Watts||MP||Member for Gelibrand||Vic||Labor|
|Mr||Josh||Wilson||MP||Member for Fremantle||WA||Labor|