Countdown to Velo-city 2012 – Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson

Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson.

The first speakers’ bios are now live on the Velo-city Global 2012 website. Among them is City of Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson who has done much to spearhead the expansion of bicycle infrasctructure in the City of Vancouver.

I recently spoke with Mayor Robertson about the upcoming conference. Here’s a bit from that interview that will also be featured in the May/ June 2012 issue of Momentum:

What is your vision for cycling in Vancouver?

We want people of all ages to feel safe and motivated to ride a bike in Vancouver. I’m inspired by cities like Copenhagen and Amsterdam where cycling is a primary transportation choice for 30 to 40 percent of residents, and it’s exciting that we’re beginning to emulate that success in Vancouver. I’m also inspired seeing the research that demonstrates big health benefits from cycling, and hearing great stories of health and fitness from people in Vancouver. A bike network that is growing in both scope and safety will help us meet our goal for over 50 percent of residents to walk, bike, or ride transit as their primary transportation mode by 2020.

What impact do you think hosting Velo-city Global will have on Vancouver, in particular, on Vancouver’s cycling policies and infrastructure?

Velo-city Global will be a huge opportunity for us to learn from innovative international best practices and to see how we can continue our important work to expand cycling infrastructure throughout Vancouver.

I heard a rumor that Vancouver might launch a bike share in time for the conference; is there any truth to that? How would the city resolve the issue of providing helmets to bike share users?

We’re working very hard to get a public bike share program up and running in Vancouver, but there’s no firm time set just yet. The issue of British Columbia’s helmet law has been a complicated one for us, and that’s why it’s important for interested companies to demonstrate how they plan to provide helmets as part of the program. We’re eager to move forward though and a bike share program is a key next step as we try to get more and more residents making the switch to cycling.

Velo-city Global 2012 is expected to host over 1,000 delegates from around the world. The conference will be held June 26 -29 at the Sheraton Vancouver Wall Center Hotel, accessible by the new Hornby Street separated bike lane.

This is the last week that you will be able to get early bird rates for Velo-city Global, so make sure to visit their website and register before March 31 if you want to take advantage of the promotional rates.

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