Each year since 2002 We Ride Australia and its predecessor, the Cycling Promotion Fund has honoured individuals and organisations for their outstanding contributions towards a wide range of cycling-related activities.
After being held in other cities for several years, this year’s awards dinner returned to the Mural Hall in the heart of Australia’s Parliament House. Although this invitation-only venue is expensive and requires all guests to escorted in and out of this area that’s usually inaccessible to the public, it has the advantage of being right in the heart of the parliament building, directly between the lower house and the senate. This makes it possible for MP’s and Senators to attend, while parliament is sitting and still get to their respective chamber within the required four minutes if they’re needed for a vote.
The dinner was hosted by the Parliamentary Friends of Cycling which is chaired by Zaneta Mascarenhas MP (who represents the Perth seat of Swan for the ALP), the Hon. Andrew Wallace MP (who represents the Sunshine Coast seat of Fisher for the Liberal Party) and Dr Helen Haines MP (The independent member for the rural Victorian seat of Indi).
Other elected representatives present included the Shadow Treasurer, Angus Taylor MP and Senator Janet Rice (The Greens, Victoria) and Assistant Treasurer Stephen Jones MP (Labor, NSW) who launched the second Australian Cycling Economy Report, that we cover in a separate article.
The awards dinner was sponsored by Terrapin who run the Mobility Live Expo, Cyclecover Insurance and Michael Drapac.
We Ride Australia calls for nominees for each awards category. An independent panel of judges then shortlists the finalists and selects a winner. This year’s panel was comprised of Elizabeth Calleja, Senior Advisor, Physical Activity at Heart Foundation, Michael Nieuwesteeg, Program Manager, Road Safety and Design – Austroads and Bronwen Clark, CEO, National Growth Areas Alliance.
The three regular awards categories are: Leadership, Bike Culture and Built Environment. But this year’s judges also recommended a Special Recognition Award for Social Impact.
This year’s winners were:
Leadership Award – Charlene Bordley
Charlene from Addventageous made a significant impact on cycling and community development in Western Sydney. Her pioneering program, “Her Cycling Connections,” empowers women and breaks down cultural barriers to cycling.
She has successfully launched the Riding for Positive Mental Health program and overcame significant barriers to establish the Parramatta Bike Hub, all of which has contributed to a thriving biking community in Parramatta that she is largely responsible for.
In accepting her award Charlene said, “I’m a person who rides a bike, I’m not a cyclist.”
Bike Culture Award – Open Streets, Bicycle Network
Bicycle Network’s Open Street’s program is changing the way families view their daily journey to school to reverse the dramatic decline of the last 50 years in walking and riding to school. 10 Open Streets Days have been conducted in the last 3 years with more schools interested.
Reducing traffic around the schools on trial days has seen active travel increase by an average of 22%, with 91% of participating families stating they would like to see more Open Streets days.
In accepting the award, Manon Dolet, Behaviour Change Manager at Bicycle Network said, “We create save space for children and their families to actively travel to school by eliminating the car traffic around the school gate. Open Streets is part of a global movement to create healthier habits, leave the car at home and change to more sustainable forms of transportation. We measure that on average, the active travel rates increase by 22% compared to non-open streets days.”
“We can’t wait to deliver Open Streets outside of Victoria. Yes, a change is possible, there is a different way.”
Built Environment Award – The Causeway Link Alliance, Western Australia
The Causeway Link Alliance is building Perth’s stunning Pedestrian and Cyclist Bridges that will traverse the Derbarl Yerrigan (Swan River) via Matagarup (Heirisson Island) in two s-shaped curves that represent the movement of the Waugyl (rainbow serpent).
Construction will take 18 months. The Alliance has excelled at engaging with stakeholders from very early in the design process, to ensure Indigenous, ecological, economic, disability, recreation and active transport concerns have been addressed.
Special Recognition Award for Social Impact – Revolve Recycling
Revolve ReCYCLING is helping bicycle riders to give new life to old rides, as Australia’s comprehensive program to recover, recycle, and redeploy bicycles. Since inception in September 2021, Revolve ReCYCLING have gone from nothing to a viable ‘profit-for-purpose’ organisation in 24 months.
Some 5500 bikes have been kept out of landfill; 1500 bikes redeployed to riders, including around 500 for free for kids from disadvantaged backgrounds.
Guido Verbist General Manager of Revolve Recycling said, “We’re giving away close to 100 bikes per month now. We have a new program funded by the AMP Foundation to deliver bikes to children in remote Aboriginal communities.”