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Velo-City Global

The Velo-City Global bike conference kicked off in Adelaide with a call for cities to stop taking baby steps with bike infrastructure. Review the conference highlights and key points.

Velo-City Conference highlights

2 June 2014. The Velo-City Global bike conference kicked off in Adelaide with a call for cities to stop taking baby steps with bike infrastructure.

Conference keynote speaker, Mikael Colville-Andersen, told 500 delegates from around the world that everything needed to make a bike-friendly city was invented 100 years ago.

He showed the audience a series of photographs from Australian cities and towns from last century that showed flocks of bikes in streets before they had been ruined by motorisation.

Colville-Anderson, a  Copenhagen-based specialist in improving urban living, said that if we designed cities for bikes, the environment would become "life-sized".

Bike riders engage with their environment through the senses of sight, sound, touch taste and smell.

"A person on a bike can smell the perfume of other riders, can speak with them, can window shop--they can feel at one with the scale of the city."

He said visitors to Australia were astonished at the width of traffic lanes and all the road space that was wasted that could otherwise be used for bike infrastructure.

"You have to design cities so that bikes have a fast way to get from A to B."

"You can't do anything without that infrastructure", he said.

Another speaker, Professor Larry Frank, told the conference that there will have to be a reduction in car travel of at least 60 per cent in the coming years in order to reach the target for reduction of carbon dioxide emissions.

This would be possible because research showed that the majority of trips that people take could be taken by bike.

Florian Lennert, of the Intelligent City Forum, said that cars, which had dominated cities for the last 70-80 years, would soon be a technological artefact as they consumed far too much space.

Motorized transport was already in the minority in some cities and more are following. Car sharing would increase rapidly as people ditched their own personal vehicles and switched to a mobility on demand system.

Because private cars spent most of their time parked and stationary, massive amounts of capital were being wasted, which would be freed up and productively utilised for other purposes when private ownership declined.

Cars were no longer a status symbol with young people, he said.

Nils Hoe, a Town Planner from Copenhagen, told the conference that the removal of street parking was becoming acceptable. He said that street parking would become flexible parking, only available at certain times of the day and week.

Where on street parking was reduced, researched showed that more people would shop and retail turnover increased: people spent less each trip but visited the area more often.

Bicycle Network's CEO Craig Richards was also blogging from the conference. Check out his highlights here.