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Velo-city 2011 Concludes with Signing of Seville Charter

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Last Tuesday officials and participants of the Velo-city 2011 conference signed the Charter of Seville. An important document and the closing act of the 17th successful international conference on cycling and cycling policies. In May the

Velo-city 2011 Concludes with Signing of Seville Charter

SEVILLE, Spain – Last Tuesday officials and participants of the Velo-city 2011 conference signed the “Charter of Seville”. An important document and the closing act of the 17th successful international conference on cycling and cycling policies.

In May the “Charter of Seville” aspires to convince all Ministers of Transport that attend the International Transport Forum (ITF) in Leipzig of the fact that cycling simply makes sense. This year the representatives of 53 countries attending the ITF will focus on: “Transport and Society”. In light of this theme, the “Charter of Seville” asks these Ministers of Transport to recognize and acknowledge the documented advantages and benefits of cycling as a daily alternative mode of transportation. The constructive and lively debate in Seville – between the delegates and representatives of 47 countries in various round table discussions, workshops and plenary sessions – ultimately, led to a concise 15-point list of advantages and benefits of cycling.

Manfred Neun, President of ECF, (European Cyclists’ Federation), Antonio Rodrigo Torrijos, the first deputy Mayor of Seville, Manel Villalante, the General Director of the Inland Transport Ministry of Development, Bob Paddon, President of TransLink and Maria Vassilakou, Vice-Mayor and Vice-Governor Vienna, took the lead in signing this groundbreaking document. Manfred Neun invited all the participants of the 17th Velo-city conference to join him in signing the “Charter of Seville”.

He underlined that: “After all, it contains the direct results of all our gathered ideas and experiences. Together we need to keep up the good work and let a loud call go out from all cycling enthusiasts to fight for a better and sustainable future for all, most importantly, for our children and grandchildren”.

Bernhard Ensink, Velo-city Series Director and Secretary General of ECF, highlighted that: “It may not be an innovative concept, but it definitely is the first time that cycling as a mode of transportation is on the agenda of the ITF. What’s more, it is the very first time that the ITF will take a closer look at the social aspects of transportations policies and focus less on the technical aspects alone.”

Host city Seville was the perfect backdrop for Velo-city 2011 as it clearly shows the importance of integrating cycling into sustainable mobility policies. While the world continues to debate the need for the development of sustainable infrastructures and the need to find new sources of energy, cycling savvy Seville managed to single-handedly increase the daily cycle usage from 6.000 to 60.000 trips a day within a mere three years. The “Charter of Seville” includes and names many beneficial aspects of cycling. Environmentally, socially, and economically speaking, Cycling simply makes sense!

Ensink further added that “Cycling needs engagement and investments from all of us. The larger bicycle associations, companies, scientists, consultants, politicians, regional and national authorities and international institutions, we all need to join hands to successfully promote cycling as a way forward towards a sustainable future.”

Largely overwhelmed by the conference’s success, an enthusiastic master of ceremonies, Guillermo (Gil) Peñalosa, stated: “I have learned so many things, we already have achieved so much and we have to continue. Cycling means happiness, cycling is community building and as everyone can have a bicycle, cycling is democracy. We can be an example for the whole world. So let us all live like examples.”

Since 1983, all previous Velo-city conferences have shown the enormous potential and the benefits of cycling; the Velo-city conference of Seville was no different.

120 themes were presented and discussed throughout plenary sessions, workshops and round table discussions. The more than 900 participants representing 47 countries, predominantly from Spain, the Benelux and Germanic countries, Scandinavia and North America, included cyclist associations, cities, architects, urban planners, politicians, NGO’s and representatives from the bicycle industry. Together they discussed how bicycle policy can be integrated in urban transport planning and how cycling can be promoted for various target groups.

Manfred Neun officially closed the 17th Velo-city conference in Seville as he symbolically passed the Velo-city bike to the representatives of the next hosting city, Mike Anderson and Bob Paddon. Velo-city 2012 takes place June 26-29 in Vancouver, Canada. Addressing Hans-Juergen Becker, Director of Velo-city 2012 Neun concluded with the words: “Vancouver is a melting pot of different cultures. So it is the perfect place to share cycling know-how with the world. Good luck to you in Vancouver and may Velo-city continue to grow!”


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