Let's stop backpedalling and improve roads for cyclists

Let's stop backpedalling and improve roads for cyclists

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Sridhar, thanks for the contributed article and your obvious work in putting it together. There are some good thoughts in there.

I have to sound one note of caution in using the byline "Sridhar Ekambaram is from the Cycling Advocates Network" at the end. That makes it sound as if you are contributing these opinions on behalf of CAN.

Not surprisingly, given the current amount of heat rather than light being shed on this topic, CAN needs to be very careful about what is seen to be its position on the many inter-related issues here. We have worked hard in the past week or so to present a fairly uniform message across a HUGE list of media outlets; mainly via the voices of a relatively small group of key people.

CAN and BikeNZ are currently working together to develop some consistent guidance for both ourselves and our respective local groups, for when the next "incident" happens and we are asked to comment. Hopefully this will help everyone to sing from the same songsheet and get a clear message out to the public and politicians alike about what is needed for improved safety and what is myth or irrelevant to the issue at hand.So watch this space...

In the meantime, I suggest that you check out the latest media article jointly sent out by CAN and BikeNZ as an indication of what we are focusing on for now. The aim is to keep things simple to remember; wiith generally no more than three key messages. By all means please raise other issues and suggestions (e.g. like the dominant vehicle law) but do so in an individual capacity.

Cheers, Glen Koorey


As Glen said, there has been a huge amount of work by some of the committee and staff in CAN on the recent media messages. Those messages have been effective, taken up by by print, web, radio and TV, and resulting  in  the response from the chief coroner, an approach from BikeNZ to  talk about  working together with CAN on issuing media messages, and new members signing up for CAN. 

I've also experienced the importance of making the distinction between individual opinions and things that CAN endorses. When we published your article in the June Chainlinks this year, I was criticised by some CAN members for not putting a specific disclaimer beside it to identify it as a personal opinion rather than CAN's, even though Chainlinks does have a general disclaimer to that effect.

For the December Chainlinks, which should be going to the printers now, we considered including something about the recent crashes, despite  the issue being almost completely prepared. However the collective decision was not to do so, because we hadn't covered other fatal cycling crashes earlier in the year and we couldn't predict where the public reaction would be in a few weeks time when Chainlinks was distributed.


Glen / Stephen,

I understand your point. The only defence I have from my perspective is, it was going to be my individual contribution. I asked Patrick Morgan to peer-review the article, to make sure they are factually correct, after which Peter requested if he can add CAN.

I think as long as it gets peer-reviewed by someone like Patrick or yourself to ensure that it does not conflict with CAN's policies and stand, it should not be too bad to associate to CAN as well. But that is just my opinion.


Stephen! I think there is already a disclaimer in Chainlinks that the views expressed are that of individuals and does not necessarily reflect CAN's views.

yes, absolutely, Chainlinks does have a disclaimer (on page 2). The feedback was from people who either missed it or saw it and  didn't think that was making the point clearly enough.

Maybe you should put it in bigger font and bold characters.

I'm happy with the disclaimer. I mentioned it only to illustrate that making the distinction between personal view and CAN view was something I'd also come across.

If Patrick peer-reviewed your article then, as you say, that is a pretty good check point and I appreciate you doing that (we do something similar before we send out any media releases). I think you'd still need to be clear with whichever CAN staff or Committee you contacted whether you can put it under CAN's name (and similarly be clear wiith whichever media it is).

Most of the time these things are not a biggie; it's just a "QA check" to try to ensure that we don't get bitten back by a statement from a "loose cannon". Knowing your experience with CAN, I wouldn't expect your contributions to be an issue.

Thanks Glen :)