Cities urged to adopt ‘Bicycle Mayors’ to accelerate progress

A new campaign is aiming to see ‘Bicycle Mayors appointed in over 100 cities worldwide by 2020.

Dutch cycling social enterprise BYCS believes the adoption would radically accelerate the transformation of cities, preparing them for “the urgent challenges of tomorrow” while unlocking “massive social, environmental and economic gains for everyone today”.

The Bicycle Mayor concept, which aims to have 50 per cent of all city trips made by bicycle by 2030, began in Amsterdam and has now spread to various cities throughout the world, including Mexico City, Cape Town and Sao Paulo.

“These change-makers act as catalysts, identifying and leading projects that make the greatest impact for cycling in cities, and uniting everyone to take action,” read a BYCS statement. “And by connecting them across a global network, their status and opportunities are elevated, and challenges and solutions are shared rapidly.”

Lee Feldman, co-founder of BYCS, said: “The bicycle is more than transportation. It is transformation. For individuals, it leads to increased health and happiness. And it allows them to access basic human needs around public services, education and employment. On a city-level, it builds community cohesion, inspires new forms of sustainable enterprise and addresses systemic challenges around climate change and air pollution.

“Two years after we started the programme, Bicycle Mayors are successfully proving how they can accelerate the positive changes our cities urgently need. So today we call on cities across the world to join the programme and start their own transformation.”

The network is able to grow rapidly, said BYCS, as Bicycle Mayors are independent. They are not reliant on city or national government backing – instead, they only require enough popular support from citizens and city stakeholders for an election, to officially join the network. Each Mayor is then guided by a set of shared global principles and supported by BYCS to ensure focus, impact and local accountability.

To sustain its anticipated growth and “ensure every Mayor is best supported”, BYCS has now opened up two new branded supporter packages to attract additional, essential investment. Organisations can become either a ‘Local Champion’ to support specific Mayors or a ‘Global Partner’. The first Global Partner has been announced as BAM Infra, which is helping to fund the next global Bicycle Mayor Summit to take place in Mexico City in October 2018.

Johan Winnubst of BAM Infra, said: “The bicycle is an essential tool for change by allowing more people to become active, empowered and connected. We believe that increasing everyone’s opportunity to cycle makes people healthier and happier, as well as making cities more prosperous and resilient.

“The Bicycle Mayor network is proving that every city can benefit from having a human face of cycling progress. We are pleased to therefore support the Bicycle Mayor network and we encourage other cities and organisations to lend their support.”

A video on the new campaign can be found here.

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