Velo-City: Each City Can Be A Cycling-City

BRUSSELS, Belgium – The 15th edition of the Velo-city conference will underline its leading position as the world’s event dedicated to urban cycling. During this four-day event, cycling in cities will be looked at from different perspectives by keynote speakers, organisations and institutions.

“Just because a city is not cycling-friendly today, doesn’t mean it has to stay that way. With the right mobilisation of politicians and citizens, everything can change. The success of ‘re-cycling cities’ depends on the willingness of people to think and act differently”, says Manfred Neun, President of the European Cyclists’ Federation, which organizes Velo-city.

The conference will demonstrate the role and potential of cycling in cities. Themes to be discussed include urban planning, ways to improve cycling infrastructure, how cycling contributes to combating pollution and climate change, the health benefits of cycling, the impact of taxes on mobility choices, and intermodal transport, but also the promotion of cycling among specific target groups, such as women and children. Over 100 speakers have been invited to conduct 4 plenary and 28 sub plenary sessions.

Brussels is a fine example of how a city can develop its own cycling-friendly environment in just a few years. Until recently cyclists in Brussels were considered an endangered species, but that has all changed. The European Cyclists’ Federation hopes that this example, as well as the stories of ‘forerunner’ or ‘climber’ cities, such as Amsterdam or Bordeaux, will inspire many other cities to promote and encourage cycling.

European focus

As Brussels is also the capital of the European Union, there will be a focus on the European institutions’ role in promoting the use of bicycles in an urban context. For the final plenary session of Velo-city 2009 conference attendees will be invited to the European Parliament, where a ‘Charter of Brussels’ will be signed by the European Commission and the mayors of other cycling friendly cities in Europe. EU Commissioner Antonio Tajani will also be present to launch new initiatives from the European Commission to support cycling in cities

The Velo-city conference will take place from 12 to 15 May. For more info, click here