Cycling in the French capital of Paris or in the Ugandan capital of Kampala may be quite different experiences, but the motivation and drive behind the two cities’ bicycle promotors are the same.
And it is this common belief that the bicycle has a huge part to play in improving city life, enhancing public health, reducing pollution and boosting tourism that brought more than 90 people together for the second edition of the UCI Mobility & Bike City Forum which took place in Paris City Hall on 12-13 November. The representatives from cities, regions, event organisers, international organisations and Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) from various parts of the world took part in the two days of exchanges focused on the promotion of cycling and active mobility.
Some of the key messages shared by the participants from vastly-differing backgrounds included the importance of partnerships and cross-sector collaboration, the enabling power of data and regulation within innovation.
Measures taken by the event host – the city of Paris – to transform the city’s infrastructure and culture with regard to active mobility were presented by city officials and partner organisations. Members of the UCI Bike City network saw these measures first-hand during an informative bike tour of cycling infrastructure on the second day of the Forum. This recent progress to advance the city’s cycling for all agenda, including with its vision to use the Paris 2024 Olympic Games as a vehicle to deliver an even stronger cycling legacy, was also celebrated when UCI President David Lappartient awarded the UCI Bike City label award to Paris to Christophe Najdovski, Deputy Mayor of Paris for Transport, Roads and Public Space and the President of the French Cycling Federation, Michel Callot.
With the additional objective to support mobility and sustainability initiatives in Paris, the Forum also worked with the association “Les Boîtes à Vélo Paris”, a community of Paris-based entrepreneurs on bikes. All lunch items for participants, developed with local products, were delivered on food bikes.
A content-packed day
From inspirational speeches to practical toolkits and recommendations, participants had the opportunity to learn from best practice examples in areas including infrastructure, children’s cycling education, Danish cycling promotion, the legacy of cycling events, tourism development, road safety, active cities, city ratings, innovation in bike share and the future of mobility.
A common theme shared throughout the day was the growing link between the sport of cycling and everyday cycling promotion; case studies from international cycling events such as the Yorkshire 2019 UCI Road World Championships, the Glasgow-Scotland 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships, the Tour de France and the Val di Sole UCI Mountain Bike World Cups offered tangible insights into the wider benefits of ensuring such events are developed with a comprehensive legacy plan, inspiring a nation to integrate the bicycle into everyday life.
The two keynote speeches also provided valuable insights for city leaders with regard to cycling promotion. Amanda Ngabirano, Vice-President of the World Cycling Alliance and Kampala’s Bicycle Mayor, highlighted the need for bold political leadership and an inclusive vision to grow the use of the bicycle. Reflecting on future perspectives, the OECD’s International Transport Forum’s Philippe Crist shared a thought-provoking vision of the city of the future, presenting the humble bicycle as a restorative, convivial, connecting and liberating tool for the global community.
Interactive discussions with the audience marked the end of each panel session, which included speakers from the Cycling Embassy of Denmark, the Bikeability Trust, Dolomeet, British Cycling, Brussels Mobility, the OECD’s International Transport Forum, PeopleForBikes, the UNECE, Sport & Citizenship, Cycling Industries Europe, POLIS, the World Resources Institute, the FIA, the French Cycling Federation, the Fédération Française des Usagers de la Bicyclette, and the city of Paris.
Supporting the UCI Bike City network
With the objective to grow and enhance the value of the UCI Bike City label, the second day of the Forum provided an opportunity for exchange between current and potential members of the UCI Bike City label network. A key component of the day was a workshop run by PeopleForBikes (PFB) on the innovative PlacesForBikes Bicycle Network Analysis tool – which allows cities to assess the efficiency and performance of cycling infrastructure – given the new collaboration to be launched between the UCI and PFB to benefit current members of the network.
We look forward to welcoming the growing UCI family at the next UCI Mobility & Bike City Forum in 2020, with more details on dates and locations to be announced in the coming months.