[CAMWEST-discuss] Two pieces for CAMWEST website

Nick Urbanik nicku at nicku.org
Wed Aug 30 00:54:43 UTC 2006

Dear CAMWESTies,

On 30/08/06 09:11 +1000, Ian Macindoe wrote:
>Hi Nick
>Both Rob K and Mark R are okay with the two pieces attached.

Good work, Ian.  Thank you very much for your effort and inspiration.

>but it's accurate.

Well, I think the concept of "membership" is still too fuzzy; the
issue remains as confusing as it was when I first tried to "join".  I
have added a few comments futher down, below the text that I refer

>What is cycling advocacy? And how is it done?
>A cycling advocate points out what is needed to make cycling better,
>safer and more enjoyable. The advocate also asks for action to make
>the improvements.
>Because improvements for cycling are usually done by the Roads and
>Traffic Authority (RTA) or the local government councils (or both
>working together) the advocate needs to become familiar with how
>those organisations work and who are the best people to approach.
>Often the cycling advocate will need to make a proposal in writing;
>and often this needs to be followed up by meeting with RTA or council
>staff to discuss matters further. Many councils have bicycle
>committees, so cycling advocates should be members of such
>As a cycling advocate gets more experienced he or she often become
>more effective in representing cyclists' interests. It helps to
>gradually get a reputation with staff-whether they are council staff
>or RTA staff-that you, as an advocate for cycling, are a reasonable
>person with whom the staff can work. Staff are often grateful for the
>insights that a good advocate can give them, as not all staff are
>cyclists and may not fully understand what is needed for effective
>cycling. Staff also generally want to be able to say that they have
>consulted community users, and cycling advocates can fill that role.
>While a cycling advocate need not be a road engineer, it helps to be
>familiar with the latest standards for cycling routes and
>paths. Various publications are available that the cycling advocate
>can study in order to get a basic understanding of design
>standards. These designs and standards can then be discussed sensibly
>with staff engineers and designers.
>Advocates also need to practice the three Ps: persistence,
>perseverance and particulars. Sometimes an advocate's good idea is
>not taken up right away (organisations, by their nature, are often
>slow to move) so that it becomes necessary to persistently follow up
>the idea and not allow it to become lost in a bureaucratic 'black
>hole'. By persevering with matters that need attention the advocate
>gains a reputation as someone who will not be going away; so staff
>know that they will be reminded of the project or idea the advocate
>is pursuing. And an effective cycling advocate will also have the
>particulars of the idea or project well in mind. A too general or
>'wooly' idea or project will not impress staff designers and
>engineers; they want to know precisely what it is that you expect of
>The main way to become a good advocate for cycling is to work at it
>with other advocates who are already experienced and effective. Then,
>as you gain more experience and learn from colleagues, you find
>yourself becoming an effective spokesperson for cyclists' needs.

That is well expressed, Ian.  Can we suggest how they can find out
more about getting involved?  It could be helpful to suggest a next
step for someone who is interested in becoming an advocate.  Would it
be useful to suggest that they could join the CAMWEST-discuss mailing
list to be able to talk with other advocates to learn more about the

I have added one more sentence at the end: "One way of doing this is
to join the CAMWEST-discuss mailing list."  Please see the result at
http://camwest.nicku.org/advocacy/what-is-advocacy.shtml and let me
know if you think that is appropriate.

>What is CAMWEST?
>Cyclists' Action Movement WEST (CAMWEST) is a group of cyclists in
>western Sydney who are keen on advocacy for cycling. CAMWEST also
>conducts community rides from time to time.
>CAMWEST was formed in 1987 to advocate for better cycling
>conditions-both on road and off road. Advocacy by CAMWEST has been
>done with the Roads and Traffic Authority and with local government
>councils to improve the safety and pleasure of riding bicycles. Much
>of the on-road cycle routes and the off-road cycleways that now exist
>in western Sydney have resulted from representations made by
>CAMWEST. While CAMWEST is not the only cycling advocacy organisation
>in western Sydney, it is the oldest and best known. By 2006 most of
>CAMWEST's advocacy is done with local councils such as Parramatta
>City Council, Blacktown City Council, and Holroyd City Council.
>As more infrastructure has been built for cycling it has been
>possible for CAMWEST to lead more rides for people in the community
>who would like to become familiar with cycle paths and routes.
>CAMWEST's website is its most vital communication channel, although
>new members can also be contacted through the email listing.

The point above is not as clear as it could be.  Although the website
is currently a *one* *way* communication channel, it will probably be
a two way channel in the future, but we're not quite there yet.

It is probably good to point out that there are two mailing lists, one
is read only, the other is a two-way communication channel that
*anyone* can join, even if they don't want to do any actual advocacy
work, or work organising rides, or contribute to the web site, or
contribute in any particular way to CAMWEST at all; they can just
"lurk" there, listening to what we say and do, and that's alright by me.

Although Rob and Mark have suggested that subscribing to this mailing
list consitutes "joining" CAMWEST, I think that many others would be
surprised at such a suggestion.

There are many other mailing lists that I subscribe to (about 57),
such as the Linux kernel mailing list, but that does not, for example,
make me a member of the core Linux kernel development team.  It is the
contributions that people make that then distinguish their standing
within the Linux kernel development community.

If "membership" of CAMWEST is required by any regulations that for
example, determine whether people are covered by insurance when they
come on a CAMWEST ride, then we need to look into that.  If there is
no official requirement or specific reason that people be a member of
CAMWEST, then I think we should talk about "involvement" with

>Occasionally a social gathering is organised, such as a barbecue, so
>that face-to-face communication can occur between members.
>A separate email listing is also available for those cyclists who
>wish to be kept informed of rides and other activities although they
>may not want to be members of CAMWEST.

Again, I think that it is okay for people to subscribe to both mailing
lists without encumbering them with any duty of membership.  People
become involved when they want to, and I am happy for people to listen
to what we do without requiring them to do something themselves; they
may just be too busy.

Where do you think we should put this "What is CAMWEST?" intro?  Would
you like to put this on the front page?


I am interested to get any feedback on the issues Ian or I have raised
Nick Urbanik   RHCE         http://nicku.org        nicku at nicku.org
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