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The province of Utrecht is the first province to join the City Deal Cycling for Everyone.

This year, the city of Ghent was the proud host of the prestigious cycling conference Velo-city, the flagship of the European Cyclists' Federation (ECF). This four-day event, which takes place annually in a different global city, gathers policymakers, academics and industrialists to discuss and shape the future of cycling. After previous editions in Ljubljana and Leipzig, this year it was Ghent's turn to welcome more than 1.400 participants from more than 60 countries.

The conference got off to a spectacular start last Tuesday in 't Kuipke, an iconic location in Ghent. During the opening ceremony, Ghent was awarded an international prize for its excellent cycling infrastructure. The jury praised the city for its 500 kilometers of high-quality cycle paths and more than 60 cycle bridges and tunnels, which significantly improve the safety of cyclists at dangerous intersections. 

One of the highlights of the conference was the announcement of the new Annie Vande Wiele Bridge, which runs over the Watersportbaan. This bridge, which will be used by 3.000 cyclists and pedestrians every day, connects important points in the city and will make a major contribution to accessibility by bicycle to the station.

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Velo City
Photo: Ghent Velo-City

The conference was not only a stage for Ghent, but also for other cities that are doing pioneering work in the field of bicycle friendliness. Bologna in Italy received an award for its policy to lower the speed limit on most streets to 30 kilometers per hour, which led to a 30 percent increase in bicycle use. Lyon in France has been praised for its ambitious plan to ensure that all residents have access to a good cycle path within ten minutes by 2030. Quelimane in Mozambique was recognized as the cycling city of Africa due to the construction of the first cycle path in the country and the active efforts of its cycling mayor.

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province of Utrecht

In addition to the focus on infrastructure, there was also good news from the province of Utrecht. This Dutch province was the first to join the City Deal Cycling for Everyone, an initiative aimed at making cycling accessible to everyone. Ewoud Vink, Senior bicycle policy officer (strategy) at the Province of Utrecht, represented the province and was festively welcomed during the conference. “We are really looking forward to a fruitful collaboration with all partners: having access to a safe bicycle and the ability to cycle!” said Vink in response.

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Photo: Ghent Velo-City

During the Velo-city conference in Ghent, an important step was also taken for the province of Utrecht. Utrecht is the first province to join the City Deal Cycling for Everyone. This initiative aims to make cycling more accessible to all residents, regardless of their background or place of residence.

De Velo-city conference, which first took place in 1980, continues to play a crucial role in encouraging bicycle use worldwide. By offering cities a platform to share best practices and present innovations, the conference contributes to a sustainable and cycling-friendly future. With this edition, Ghent has shown that it is an example for other cities, not only within Europe, but worldwide.

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