Velo-city Global in Vancouver 2012

By Richard Campbell, Sarah Ripplinger

Lots of white “I (bike) CPH” T-shirts worn by the 1,000+ conference delegates who attended Velo-City 2010 from more than 60 countries. Many local participants joined in the last day’s bike parade as well.

Velo-city Global, the world’s premier international cycling policy and planning conference is coming to Vancouver in June 2012. This marks the first time the European Cyclists’ Federation’s conference will be held in North America since Montreal in 1992 and the first time that Velo-city Global will be in North America. This conference series has been instrumental in moving cycling forward in cities around the world.

City staff show Velo-City 2010 delegates about a new cargo bike secure parking pilot project during an “infrastructure ride” in Copenhagen.

“I most certainly recommend attendance at Velo-city 2012 for anyone working to grow ridership, improve and implement cycling infrastructure, advocate for the rights of cyclists, etc.,” said Yvonne Bambrick, urban cycling consultant and current coordinator for Kensington Market BIA and Forest Hill Village BIA.

“Beyond those who already ‘get it’, this conference is tremendously important and worthwhile for planners, engineers, city staff and decision-makers from all levels of government who want to better understand the global cycling movement and the valuable role they can play in the successful transformation of cities.”

By enabling government officials and industry professionals to share success stories and best practices on the implementation of ambitious cycling policies, Velo-city conferences are critical to the development of the high quality cycling facilities needed to dramatically increase the number of people cycling. With interest in cycling growing exponentially around the world, Velo-city has the potential to be a transformational event.

Renowned urban planner Jan Gehl (Gehl Architects) giving his keynote in the main conference hall at Velo-City 2010 in Copenhagen.

Clarence Eckerson, who attended Velo-city 2010 in Copenhagen, Denmark, said attending the last Velo-city Global was well worth the flight overseas: “The location was equal parts warm, fun and professional, and the presenters were diverse and entertaining. It felt like a celebration of all that is bicycling and was very uplifting.”

“Vancouver is a terrific city that has added itself to the growing list of world cities who have implemented protected bike facilities,” added the creator of Streetfilms.org and BikeTV. “It’ll be a great place to mind meld biking strategies and see actual on-street practices in effect.”

Conference themes focus on the elements needed to encourage people of all ages to choose cycling for transportation, recreation and tourism. They include cycling-transit integration, bike sharing, safety, networks, enabling cycling through technology, marketing and education.

Many North America cities are making significant efforts to improve cycling by implementing European-style separated cycling facilities. Vancouver has embarked on expansion of its cycling network based on European success and is a showcase for a wide range of facilities.

Vancouver is well-positioned to attract 1,000 to 1,500 participants, including decision-makers from all levels of government, such as politicians, engineers and planners. Other participants will include sustainable transportation industry leaders, advocates, academics and researchers.

The opening and closing speaker at the conference will be Gil Penalosa, executive director of NPO 8-80 Cities and former commissioner for parks, sports and recreation in Bogota, Columbia. Other presenters include Vancouver mayor Gregor Robertson and Alain Ayotte, president of the Public Bike System Company (BIXI).

Velo-city Global presents a great chance to showcase cycling expertise. Participants will build partnerships with experts from Europe and around the world, further enhancing the ability to design high quality bicycle paths and bicycle facilities integrated with road and transit projects.

Originally published in the March/ April 2012 issue of Momentum Magazine and on momentummag.com.

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