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Westcycle Dumps on Commuting Cyclists in Western Australia

Westcycle Dumps on the Bicycle Transport Alliance

The Western Australian bicycle lobbying group that acted on behalf of commuting and transport cyclists, the Bicycle Transport Alliance [BTA] has effectively ceased operations. They are describing it as suspension of activities but realistically I do not believe they will be back. It is not sexy to engage in activism in cycling; one has to run events to be “important” after all.

The announcement posted by the Bicycle Transport Alliance appears below.

Dear BTA member,

We regretfully inform you that lack of money have forced the indefinite suspension of all activities of the Bicycle Transport Alliance (BTA). The CEO, Heinrich Benz, has resigned. All formal advocacy on behalf of the BTA will cease. Social media communications will cease other than to share important information regarding the BTA and your memberships.

Current and valid memberships will remain so until their stated expiry. The BTA’s membership includes third-party insurance for your cycling activities. This insurance will remain valid, and you will be covered until your membership expires.

The BTA has played a vital role in advocating for good cycling for everyone in Perth. It has been outstandingly effective promoting transport cycling with State Government ministers, government departments and authorities, local councils and relevant organisations. The tireless efforts of Heinrich ensured cycling remained at the forefront of transport issues, and his resignation is a real loss for Western Australian cycling.

Despite the strong and optimistic growth in Perth’s commuter cycling, funding for organisations like the BTA has become increasingly scarce. The BTA could not get funding from WestCycle, WA’s peak cycling organisation. This made the activities of the BTA unviable.

While this message is solemn, the organisation has not dissolved yet. We want to hear from you about why the BTA is important to you and cycling in Perth. In the coming months, a workshop to explore transforming the BTA will be arranged. Please express your interest for the re imagining at the BTA e-mail info@btawa.org.au.

Thank you for your support of the BTA and your interest in promoting better cycling in Western Australia. We have been humbled to work in your interests, and we hope your passion for cycling burns as brightly as ever.

Please let us know you are out there and still believe in what the BTA can achieve.

To be honest I am not surprised by this decision as in more recent times the Bicycle Transport Alliance has relied on funding from Westcycle for support and in turn the Bicycle Transport Alliance has taken on the role of advocacy in transport arena for Westcycle. Under its new CEO, Matt Fulton, Westcycle has it seems dump on commuting and transport cyclists preferring to adopt a very strong focus on recreational cycling activities, i.e., mountain biking and racing. Maybe this is not surprising given it is funding via the Department of Sport and Recreation, but then Westcycle describes itself as Western Australian “peak cycling body” and clearly cycling is more than mountain biking and racing or cyclo-sportif for that matter.   It is far from that in my view as it fails to represent all cyclists and has been almost non-existent in acting for transport, commenting cyclists. Well done Westcycle on dumping on probably the most active group of cyclists in Western Australia … stupid stupid stupid.

Without proper representation it is hard to see how transport and commuting cycling can have a positive future in Western Australia … Be safe out there, there is no one acting on your behalf now.

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