Thursday, 8 December 2016

Futureproofing the TBUG

Future Proofing TBUG

     At a glance:

  • TBUG is not a club, is not incorporated and has no public liability insurance
  • Organising a TBUG ride or activity makes the organiser liable should there be litigation

  • First three Ride to Work days used Bicycle Queensland public liability, now Council insurance is used so TBUG is locked into a partnership with TRC

  • 2014 case of litigation against a Qld bike training school a major concern

  • BUG has had occasions that could have left it open to litigation

  • Bicycle Queensland could but does not allow BUGs to join and be covered by  their public liability insurance

  • Bicycle NSW does – 34 BUGs affiliated with them

  • An alternative is to affiliate with Cycling Queensland, the state arm of Cycling Australia

  • TBUG would have to incorporate: $150 approx one-off cost, plus $50 approx annual returns fee

  • TBUG would then affiliate with Cycling Queensland: annual fee $700 approx

  • $700.00 fee includes $20m public liability insurance for BUG and officers

  • Other firms offer only $10m cover for at least $200.00 a year more

  • Cycling Queensland returns $11.00 per membership paid back to BUG

  • Private insurance companies offer nothing back

  • Members of many local bike clubs are already in Cycling Queensland – they would pay only $11.00 to join BUG with insurance cover from their Cycling Queensland membership carrying over to cover them as individuals - no double-up costs

  • Members would pay similar, sometimes lower, fees as now paid to Bicycle Queensland

  • Family discounts available for fees – 20 percent off with Cycling Queensland
  • Incorporated and affiliated to Cycling Queensland offers greater status and more credibility when advocating for improved local cycling with Council and Main Roads

  • Access to grants once incorporated to improve local cycling with vastly expanded opportunities 

  • Cycling Queensland is keen to enrol more BUGs state-wide, which will offer greater advocacy power for us locally than currently with Bicycle Queensland

  • Is it fair to TBUG ride organisers to leave them exposed to litigation without TBUG insurance? 

    The longer story:

    The Toowoomba BUG has been running very well since 2002. Fortnightly social rides have been organised by Margaret and Bruce. The BUG is not a club or an incorporated group. It could continue as is, or change to a more formalised incorporated group.

    Remain the same: The rides can continue to be organised as currently but this leaves the ride organisers and leaders at risk of litigation in the case of a serious accident by any rider or injured road user. So far there has not been any legal action as a result of accidents during TBUG rides.
    For example, the following two real events could have resulted in public liability law suits against ride organiser/leader.

    ·        A new rider came with the BUG for a while. He was counselled by Bruce and a number of riders on a many occasions about his riding style, which could have left himself and/or other riders at risk. After a solo crash on North Street he attended hospital outpatients and fortunately suffered only minor injuries. He did not return to the BUG rides.

    ·      Two riders came on their first BUG ride. One crashed and broke a wrist and was given hospital  care. Rob took care of both their bikes at his place and gave them a basic service. Both were found to be in need of a full bike shop service, with inadequate servicing to that point.

    OLYMPIC champion Sara Carrigan is being sued $750,000 over a cycling accident that happened on a ‘bunch’ ride at her Mermaid Waters based cycling school.

    Mr Elsey claims Sara Carrigan Cycling breached its duty of care because the school “knew or ought to have known’’ Mr Milligan’s standard of cycling behaviour was not sufficient to ensure he posed no foreseeable risk.

    It states Mr Milligan was “not satisfactorily trained and equipped to ride safely in the group ride on that day’’ and that he “ought to have been removed from the ride’’ when it became clear he was riding recklessly.

    Some basic standards and check list system can help to overcome, or at least show evidence of care being taken, to avoid or minimise such litigation.

    Incorporated future: The most important benefit of an incorporated not-for-profit is that we can buy public liability insurance for leader/organisers called officers of the group. TRC (Toowoomba Regional Council) requires public liability for organised rides, for example the first three Ride to Work days we had to get BQ (Bicycle Qld) to cover our public liability insurance – now TRC provides this.

    Another benefit is that we will be able to apply for state government and council grants to help promote road safety; offer coaching for new riders; have access to coaching classes; promote current and new rides; endorse ride groups of members who follow the new rules as TBUG rides; offer a BQ style ‘buddy system’ to new riders and openly publicise the TBUG to new riders in the area.
    We will have to hold at least the AGM, raise minimal funds to subsidise minimal cost and elect officers.

    Costs: BQ has made it clear that they have no intention of bringing BUGs into the overall BQ umbrella, unlike Bicycle NSW has, offering BUGs the much needed public liability insurance. 34 BUGs are members of Bicycle NSW.

    However, Cycling Queensland (CQ)  is an alternative for us as a state affiliate of Cycling Australia. It has recently changed its rules to cover ‘social groups’, such as BUGs.

    Therefore, the preferred strategy would be to incorporate and then affiliate with CQ.

    This would require one off costs of $148.00 for incorporation and annual costs of $699.00 to affiliate with CQ. 

    The affiliation fee includes the public liability insurance.

    How this would work: BUG members would have to join CQ. The membership of CQ buys a similar deal to the BQ offering. 

    I discussed with CQ the problem of riders who are BQ members who would not want to dump that membership mid subscription and spend a similar amount on a new CQ one. They are discussing this with their people at Cycling Australia. At the moment there is no firm view back from them.

    In summary the comparison between strategies follows:

    CQ Membership 

    Non-riding admin’ members: $34.00
    ·         Family membership offers a 20% reduction.
    ·         Ride basic: $60.00
    ·         Rider +: $99.00 age 19-64 and 65+ is $74.00
    ·         3 month trial membership: $29.00
    BQ Membership
    ·         Individual 18+: $99.00
    ·         Family: $139.00
    ·         Concession (student/Centrelink): $79.00
    The insurance cover of both BQ and CQ is similar at the $99.00 level. 

    CQ insurance at the $60.00 level is less than the Rider+ $99.00 offering.

    CQ returns $11.00 per member from the fees ($99.00 or $60.00) to the BUG/Club, on a quarterly basis.

    In this area the following clubs are members of CQ: Bikeline Racing; Toowoomba Cycling Club; Highfields Rollers; Toowoomba Mountain Bike Club; Toowoomba BMX Club.

    Any member of those clubs can carry their CQ insurance over to any other CQ club, or BUG, by paying a further $11.00 to that club/BUG. 

    So, if you are already a member of Highfields-Rollers you only pay $11.00 to the BUG. If you join the BUG and then want to join the Mountain Bike club (or any other), you just pay them $11.00.

    Go it alone? I have checked with other insurers to see what public liability might cost the BUG if we just decided to go it alone, i.e., incorporated but without CQ.

    It is not possible to buy insurance without incorporating. Typically, it was impossible to get a firm quote without firm numbers but as a target figure, with ‘about’ 20 members the cost would be ‘about’ $900.00 for the insurance, and that is only for $10m not the $20m that CQ offers. Also there would be no $11.00 returning to the BUG per member – a further ‘loss’ of $220.00 to BUG coffers.

    Process: The process of incorporation is laid out by the State Government and is straight forward. A set of model rules is available for groups to adapt for their own needs.

    To start the incorporation process we need to hold a meeting where a proposal to incorporate is moved, seconded and voted on.

    The TBUG ride on December 18 2016 will be a short city ride ending at Rob's palce for a $5.00 breakfast and discussion on this proposal.

    CQ are keen to have the BUG join them and for us to assist them in creating a proposal to offer to other BUGs around the Qld.

    An annual return has to be lodged with the State Government. This costs about $50.00.

    Future fund raising: There is no doubt some form of fund raising would have to take place just to cover the cost of affiliation to CQ. Some can come from being able to openly recruit new members.  A tall task to enrol the required 64 members to cover the initial affiliation costs up-front but if that were set as a target, say, for over the next three years, it could be achievable. 

    Other possibilities include some form of sponsorship. The ‘Bunnings sausage sizzle’ might even have to be entertained once a year. Perhaps a basic skills workshop held with a bike shop, with a percentage of the fee returning to the BUG account. A group garage sale of unwanted goods. Grants cannot be used for continuing costs though.

    Improved Advocacy: While BQ has been very good at organising the ‘Cycle Queensland’ ten day event and ‘Brisbane – Gold Coast’ one day events in particular, plus some other Brisbane only ride events, it has not been much benefit to riders outside Brisbane when it comes to advocating for better local roads or improved TMR designs here, where we live and ride. 

    BQ is not prepared, perhaps quite practically through a lack of resources there, to help to advocate within the regions or directly for the regions, beyond their involvement with TMR in the process of vetting the Qld Cycle Strategy and attending the round of various Government workshops.

    TBUG has had a presence in advocating for riding here with the local office of TMR and with TRC since 2008. 

    There have been many changes made to designs and road markings following representations to both levels of government, including to every Minister for TMR since Rachel Nolan was responsible for the portfolio. Trevor Watts (Toowoomba North MP) is helpful as a cycling advocate on our behalf.

    This can continue but it would be considerably more effective with the weight of a national cycle advocacy group behind us and with the status of an incorporated body to seek grants to provide ‘road related education’ here.

    Cycling Queensland, as an affiliate of Cycling Australia and as a partner organisation with the Amy Gillett Foundation, has a long and respected reputation within the world of Australian competitive cycling.

    Were BQ to have a broader focus and seek to support BUGs across the state, as Bicycle NSW does, this suggestion would be for the TBUG to incorporate and join with BQ.

    Finally: Please give the above expanded ambition for the BUG and indeed ultimately for other Qld BUGs, your consideration. 

    Margaret and Bruce can continue to organise rides as usual if a decision was made to progress down this expanded option.

    In conclusion, the big problem for us all today is the risk to those good souls who organise rides without public liability insurance.

    If we decide to incorporate and affiliate to CQ, formalising the TBUG structure, it not only protects the leaders and organisers, but also offers us a much expanded scope to promote and advocate for safer cycling in our region.

    Cycling Queensland information:

    This is the parent body of Cycling Queensland, Cycling Australia:
    This is the Cycling Queensland website:

    Inspect the $60.00 Ride Basic membership:

    Inspect the $99.00 Ride Plus membership:

    Inspect the $34.00 Non-Riding membership:

    Queensland Government information on Incorporation:

    In this section read all about the process of Incorporation, including the set of Model Rules:


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