- LOCATION Foro Nacional de la Bici 2019
- DATE August 6
- AUTHOR Thomas van Laake (Despacio)
In the last few years, the bicycle has re-established itself as a mode of transport in cities across Colombia. This shift has happened thanks to an increasing realisation of how it can benefit cities and people and because of an increase in traffic and pollution from cars and motorcycles.
The Foro Nacional de la Bicicleta, held between August 5-11 in Cali, is the most important annual event in Colombia for all things related to cycling. The Foro is run by citizens and activists and is nowadays a conference that touches on all aspects of cycling as a mode of transport. It included the participation of international experts and focused conversations on new topics like micro-mobility. The C40 Cities Finance Facility (CFF) played a key role in the organising committee of the Foro, together with partners such as Despacio, the World Resources Institute (WRI), the Colombian Ministry of Transport and the national agency for road safety (Agencia Nacional de Seguridad Vial, ANSV).
The CFF, through its efforts to promote cycling in Colombian cities, is uniquely positioned to understand the challenges faced in improving infrastructure and in enabling people to take up cycling. Along with the aforementioned partners, the CFF co-organised the first-ever awards for best cycling infrastructure in Colombian cities and a seminar on cycling infrastructure on August 6th.
As part of the Foro’s agenda, the seminar on cycling infrastructure on August 6th aimed to share and refine knowledge around measures to integrate cycling into cities’ overall transport strategies. The audience included more than 100 officials, citizens and activists.
Building on a workshop organised in Bogotá and Bucaramanga on May 8-10, the CFF prepared a session in the seminar on how to establish and operate bike-sharing systems. The session included presentations on how these systems can become a sustainable and convenient transport alternative and how they can increase the mode share of cycling in a city. Speakers included Lina López (C40 Cities, formerly in charge of EnCicla in Medellín), Jimena Rivera (Alcaldía de Villavicencio), Carlos Montoya (Alcaldía de Montería) and Kennia Aguirre (bikencity Sinaloa). The discussion focused on how to address political challenges, with reflections from the speakers on their efforts during the 4-year mandate about to conclude at the end of 2019.
The awards were established to recognise, highlight and strengthen efforts to plan, design, implement, innovate and assess cycling infrastructure in Colombia. In its first edition, it sought to demonstrate that an increasing number of Colombian cities is integrating walking and cycling as transport options in their development plans.
The competition received submissions from city governments in Colombia in five categories:
- Cycling infrastructure projects
- Cycle network plans
- Designs for cycling
- Innovation in cycling
- Safety improvements for cyclists at the city level
The winners included 3 cities currently supported by the CFF, namely:
- Montería, for its planned cycle network
- Bogotá, for its innovative cycling projects
- Cali, for its efforts to improve road safety for cyclists
- In the other two categories, namely projects and design, the winners were the Area Metropolitana Valle de Aburrá and Medellín, respectively
The winning projects are fantastic examples of the progress on cycling that Colombian cities have made. ‘It was a surprise to see how much cities that in the past faced difficulties in developing cycling infrastructure have advanced’, said Darío Hidalgo, Executive Director of Despacio.
For more information on the winning projects, see here (in Spanish): http://www.despacio.org/2019/08/14/conoce-los-5-proyectos-que-transformaran-la-infraestructura-ciclista-en-colombia/