The 17th Velo-City conference is taking place in Seville, Spain this week.
The event has seen over 900 participants attend from 47 countries, and is championing a framework for an international ‘Cycling Economy’. Speakers at the conference are asking for better links between countries to back cycling and combat global health and environment challenges.
President of the European Cycling Federation Manfred Neun said an increased worldwide demand for cycling expertise and cycling advocacy meant the cycle world had to ‘shoulder its responsibilities’ and ‘intensify cycling advocacy work globally’.
He commented: “To this day the ‘Cycling Economy’ is an unfamiliar term in the political arena as it is within the bicycle industry itself. Considered small business, the ‘Cycling Economy’ has never properly gotten off the ground due to a few persistent misconceptions.
“It is erroneously thought that there is a permanent lack of market volume, that cycling is cheap – no money to be made, there is no political classification, and the low status of cycling to mention just a few."
Former prime minister of Norway, Mrs Gro Harlem Brundtland delivered the opening keynote speech, expanding on the Cycling Economy topic: “Above and beyond what all of us can contribute to more sustainable cities and other local communities, we also need to act globally.
“In our globalized world, the threats we face are interconnected. That is why today, we must respond to Global Health challenges as robustly as we do to terrorism. To poverty and to environmental threats as robustly as we do to nuclear proliferation.”
Brundtland authored the influential UN report ‘Our Common Future’ in 1987.
Seville was awarded the UN habitat Best Practice Award for the creation of a safe and segregated cycling infrastructure.