VANCOUVER, Canada – The start of Velo-city Global at the end of this month will also the kick off the campaign to link cycling to the universal rights of a child. The United Nation’s “Convention on the Rights of a Child” has stated that children should develop their physical abilities to their fullest potential, respect the natural environment and have opportunities for recreational and leisure activity. Cycling provides all these.
Velo-city Global is the world’s largest cycling policy conference attended by more than 1,000 global cycling experts will take place from June 26-29 in Vancouver, Canada. Velo-city Global is organized by the European Cyclists’ Federation (ECF).
Across the globe, the number of kids that walk or cycle to school has decreased from 82% to 14% within the last 30 years. In the US, only 1% (2009) of children ride their bicycle to school. Compare this with the Dutch, who see nearly 49% (2009) of children cycle to school.
“By making healthier mobility a universal right, we can boost the case for governments to invest in cycling for children. The more children cycle, the more parents buy bicycles too. Velo-city is the place where we will provide advocates, campaigners, politicians and planners with the tools and expertise to get more children cycling,” says Kevin Mayne, Director of Development at ECF.
The global conference comes at a time when North America is undergoing a huge cycling renaissance. Canada has seen a 42% increase in the number of daily bike commuters between 1996 and 2006. In the US, the share of bike trips made for the journey has risen by 50% between 2001 and 2009.
Bike sharing has also taken the North American continent by storm, with schemes popping up in Washington, Montreal, Toronto and Minneapolis. New York is set to have a 10,000 strong fleet of public bicycles in place this summer and Vancouver is also looking to do the same.
Cycle Industry Club
“The growth in cycling in Canada and the US is in large part due to the hard work of bicycle advocacy groups supported by the bicycle industry,” explains Mayne. Mayne is encouraging people in the bicycle industry to join the Cycle Industry Club, which seeks to triple the number of cyclists in Europe by 2020. Big names like SRAM and Trek have already pledged funds, and are seeking €1 million for bicycle advocacy by the end of the year.