Politicians and urban planners from over 40 countries are in Vancouver, Canada, for Velo-city Global 2012, the world’s largest cycling policy conference.
Opening the conference, Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson took the chance to shine the spotlight on Vancouver’s own cycling scene.
"Cycling is our fastest-growing mode of transportation and enables our downtown population and economy to grow when there’s no room for more cars,” said Robertson.
“Our goal is for over 50% of residents to walk, bike, or ride transit as their primary transportation mode by 2020."
As well as Vancouver’s bicycle infrastructure being put in the spotlight at Velo-city, there’ll be hundreds of experts discussing global experiences on how to get more people cycling. Over the next four days, topics discussed will range from the word-wide boom in bike share schemes and bicycle infrastructure to using cargo bicycles to deliver urban goods in city centres.
“Above all we need to link cycling to the big global topics - make it politically important to support again," explained Manfred Neun, who heads the European Cyclists' Federation.
"We must use this opportunity to include cycling on the mainstream agenda. It's time to lead."
Master of Ceremonies, Gil Peñalosa agreed that it’s time to act: “We need political will from our leaders…and take the opportunity when it arises. The stars are aligned in Vancouver and it’s time to act.”
Advocates are calling upon government to get cycling started as early as childhood. On the last day of the conference, organizers will sign the Charter of Vancouver, which calls upon the United Nations and other institutions to recognize 'Universal Right to Cycle' for children.