While it can be depressingly easy to blow raspberries at various agencies when it comes to cycling, it’s nice to also acknowledge the good stuff that is progressively happening around the place. That was the thinking behind the creation of the Cycling Advocates Network (CAN) Cycle-Friendly Awards about a decade ago, and since then they’ve been a great success nationwide.
It’s time now for this year’s nominations, proudly sponsored by NZTA, with the winners to be announced later this year at the 2014 2WALKand CYCLE conference in Nelson (29-31 Oct). Details of how you can make nominations can be found on CAN’s website, and there are five categories in which you can submit items:
- Best cycle facility project: This category is for “the transport infrastructure project year that has had the most significant impact on promoting cycling and a cycle-friendly environment in the past year”. Examples could include new cycleways, cycle parking facilities, or general roading projects that assist and encourage cycling. Nominations are typically received for projects undertaken by local or central government agencies.
- Best cycling promotion: This category is for “the education or encouragement project that has had the most significant impact on promoting cycling and a cycle-friendly environment in the past year”. Examples could include publicity campaigns, school education programmes, or promotional cycling events. Nominations range from individuals to government organisations.
- Cycle-friendly commitment by business: This category is for “the company that has made significant efforts encouraging and supporting cycling by its staff, customers and clients the past year”. Examples of cycle-friendly actions include cyclist parking / changing facilities, employee/customer support and incentive programmes, and company ‘pool’ bikes. Nominations cover both general businesses and those directly involved in the bicycle industry.
- Cycle-friendly commitment by public organisation: This category is for “the public or government organisation that has made significant efforts encouraging and supporting cycling by its staff and public users in the past year”. This category includes central or local government agencies, organisations such as health boards, universities or airports, and also community-based groups. Examples of cycle-friendly actions include cyclist parking / changing facilities, employee support and incentive programmes.
- Cycling champion of the year: This category, first awarded in 2007, is designed to recognise “the contribution made by a individual New Zealander to the promotion of cycling”. This could be for a person who has led a particular cycling initiative, or for someone who has been involved in a wide range of cycle-friendly activities.
(in conjunction with Living Streets Aotearoa’s “Golden Foot” walking awards, there is also now a Best Joint Walking and Cycling Project award that reflects initiatives that enhance both walking and cycling.)
Looking back over the history of the awards, it can be seen that Christchurch featured strongly in the first few years. However, lately other parts of the country have been displaying more initiative (although our very own Steven Muir did win the Cycling Champion award last time). Perhaps it’s time that we started fighting back?
So, what might be nominated from around Christchurch lately:
- Perhaps the entire $69 million Major Cycleways programme is worthy of a nomination? It certainly was groundbreaking for New Zealand to propose spending so much, although some might argue that it’s worth holding off on the plaudits until there’s more tangible stuff on the ground… Or perhaps the key players who voted for it should be up for the “cycling champion” award?
- Perhaps the Southern Motorway cycleway? It’s a rather nice facility in places, although it probably leaves a bit to be desired at some of the crossings…
- The Ilam Road cycleway is another consideration, being one of the first separated cycleways in the country. There are still lessons to be learned from its implementation, but it’s generally doing what was it was supposed to for people walking and cycling.
- The fantastic community initiative that is the Chch Coastal Pathway certainly has been a success story to date, although maybe again it’s one that needs to wait until more is on the ground?
- The “Open Streets” ciclovía event last year was a great success, despite the so-so weather. And it seems to have ushered in a series of other similar events around the country.
- The ICECycles team continue to provide good service for new and old bikes. And now there’s also RADBikes (Recycle a Dunger) doing similar good deeds.
- One category that often struggles to garner sufficient nominations is the Cycle-friendly Business category. It might be a workplace that has lots of bike parking, changing facilities, biking activities, etc; or perhaps your favourite cafe with good bike parking, space for your gear, and willing to support the local riding group. We probably have more of these cycle-friendly businesses than we realise!
- Perhaps even this esteemed website is worthy of a nomination…?
- What else? Have a look over the past finalists and you can see a wide variety of initiatives that have been honoured.
Anyone can submit a nomination for the Cycle-Friendly Awards; just fill in the form at the CAN Awards website. It probably helps if you’ve had some involvement in the initiative being nominated, so that you can provide good information on how the nomination meets the various judging criteria. It’s been quite a while since the previous awards, so anything that falls in the period 1 July 2011 – 30 April 2014 can be considered for a nomination.
You’ve got until Wed 25th June to submit nominations. However if you submit them by Mon 26th May, you also go into an early-bird draw for a very styley Cactus Subductor Bag. Good luck!
What do you think is worthy of a CAN Award nomination?