Government works by numbers. The more voters enjoy a particular sport or activity the easier it is to get recognition, attention and funding.
RTRA’s effort to date has been successful, with recognition of the legitimacy of recreational trail bike riding and its value as a healthy outdoors activity and by successfully challenging the closure of existing off-road vehicle areas.
Recent accomplishments include:
This is the main reason why RTRA was established – to be able to say to the government “There are a lot more trail bike riders out there than you think – and it’s about time our needs were heard”.
- Department of Sport and Recreation acknowledges beneficial physical attributes of recreational trail riding – sees it as a legitimate activity
- Department of Environment and Conservation recognising trail bike riders as legitimate users of State Forests and wanting to work with us cooperatively.
- Joint agency funding of State Trail Bike Strategy
- Trail bikes included for the first time in the State Trails Strategy – the overall master planning for trails of all types in Western Australia, as well as regional master plans such as the Peel Trails Strategy.
- RTRA invited as a stakeholder to Policy 13 (Water Source Protection) review
- RTRA Secretary invited to join government Off Road Vehicle Advisory Committee
- Trail bike riding is now on the government radar in a balanced way – they still want to clamp down on “hoon/illegal behavior” but they acknowledge we need more places to ride.
- Meeting with various Ministers and local MPs.
- Member-based campaign to approach candidates in the local government elections for support of State Trail Bike Strategy
Protecting existing riding areas from closure builds on the political recognition and strength of membership. RTRA has turned the tide of Off Road Vehicle Area closures.
- First motorised trail project to obtain a Lottery West Trails Grant, used to develop the Family Trail at Pinjar.
- Developed the State Trail Bike Strategy – the ‘master plan’ for a sustainable future
- Repelled a concerted effort by Gingin Shire Council to have the popular Lancelin Off Road Area closed. A combination of rider petition and behind-the-scenes work saw the Minister for Local Government reject Gingin’s request to close the area.
- Succeeded in re-opening the Kwinana Off Road Vehicle Area, against the wishes of the Town of Kwinana Council.
- Working in partnership with DPAW to develop Pinjar into a best practice off-road vehicle area.
- Encouraged the Department of Environment and Conservation to allocate funds to significantly upgrade Gnangara and Pinjar Off Road Vehicle Areas.
- Successfully intervened to prevent the forced cancellation of the Des Nobles Two Day Enduro, brokering a deal between the Trail and Enduro Club and the Department of Environment and Conservation.
- RTRA is currently assisting members to fight town planning regulations that would prevent them from even riding on their own property.
- Lobbies all major political parties during State Elections and keeps members informed of their policies regarding trail bikes.
- A Stakeholder in DPAW’s off-road vehicle land planning project
- Invited as a stakeholder on the Perth Hills Trails Reference Group
- Invited as a stakeholder on the DPAW Motorised Off Road Vehicles Working Group
RTRA represents over 2,000 riders of various ages, sex and riding style. As an advocacy group focussed on the long term sustainability of the activity we can’t provide the same level of ‘instant gratification’ that people get when they join a health club, a social club or an event-based organisation, however we are working to expand the number and range of member services, always keeping our main focus on the real objectives of the Association.
- Partnered with the T&E Club to run two Family Fun Weekends to provide opportunities for families to ride together in a legal, safe and social environment.
- KTM Capel Trail Bike Rally – ran the Rally in 2008 when the previous event organisers had to bow out. Once the “new and improved” model was developed the event was handed to a newly formed local club to run.
- RTRA Web Site and eNewsletter – the RTRA web site and e-Newsletter keep riders up to date with the activities of the Association, and also with useful information and news of other influences that affect trail bike riding in WA.
- Riders’ Rights – Confusion over what is and isn’t legal led us to research and publish a simple reference guide. We will continue to add to this as new information comes to hand or if legislation or regulations change.
- Advice and assistance for members facing court over Water Catchment and ORV Act infringements – although not providing a legal service we have provided advice on the law, and possible defence to actions, to several members facing court appearances.
- Ranger Reporting System – Prompted by reports of some rangers making threats that weren’t supported by the law we created the Ranger Reporting System to monitor who is being told what, how, and by whom. This system also helps monitor ‘blitz’ actions so we can pass on timely information to members.
Education, Awareness and Attitude Shift
Changing attitudes is a long term goal. But if we are to create a sustainable future for trail bike riding we must be effective in encouraging riders to take a responsible attitude to the environment and other trails users, and helping non-riders to understand what it is that we do and why we are so passionate about it.
- “So Where Can I Ride?” – published this informative booklet for local government and retailers to provide to riders.
- Media comments – RTRA is the voice that radio, TV and newspaper journalists turn to when there is a trail bike related issue. Prior to RTRA there was no one to put across the riders’ views.
- Representing trail bike riders at government and community forums – Helping decision-makers understand the distinctions between competitive and recreational riding, between circuit riding and trail bike touring and between different rider demographics – helping them to distinguish between trail riders and ‘vandals on trail bikes’:
- National Tracks and Trails Conferences
- SE Regional Recreational Advisory Group
- North Metropolitan Recreational Advisory Group
- Shire of Murray
- Ellenbrook Community Consultation meeting
- State Trails Conference 2008 – 2015
- DPAW Parks and Visitor Services Annual Conferences
- WA Rangers Association Annual Conference
- Contribution to Adventure Activity Standards – ensuring that these Standards, which could become pre-conditions of DPAW permits, are relevant
- Cleanup Days – Regularly run clean up days at Gnangara, Pinjar, Metro Road and Julimar. Apart from cleaning up the areas these activities also position trail riders (and RTRA members specifically) as community-minded and environmentally aware. This single activity strengthened our relationship with DPAW and the City of Swan and played a major role in securing substantial funding for the improvements of these areas.
- Participation in online forums – gently introducing topics and comments to encourage riders to think about the actions that help and hinder our cause
- Minimal Impact Riding Program – won grant funding from DEC to develop a minimal impact riding program
- Pilot Trail Bike Trail Project – won grant funding from DEC to develop a Pilot Trail that will help inform future trail planning and construction decisions.