Cleaning up the air by bike – Knowledge transfer in the project European Biking Cities

On 25 and 26 October the campaign European Biking Cities had its first conference in Potsdam. Aiming to bring more people on bicycles the campagin wants to speed up the development of bicycle friendly policy in the six participating cities Bolzano (Italy), Brighton-Hove (Great Britain), Vitoria-Gasteiz (Spain), Strasbourg (France), Mannheim and Potsdam (both Germany).

The core aim of the project is experience exchange and the adoption of best-practice examples among the network – all participating cities have reached a good level of cycling already and each one has it's own particularities and strengths that others can learn from – e.g. Vitoria has great experience in involving different stakeholders in a process of developing and implementing a vision of sustainable mobility ("high level of consensus"), Bolzano is very successful in promoting cycling to the public, in Brighton the Bikeability programme is a successful showcase for teaching youngsters to ride a bicycle, while Strasbourg is planning a powerful net of so called bicycle highways mainly for commuters (Velostras project). All these four cities are cycling-leaders in their countries. Mannheim and Potsdam are still a little behind German leaders such as Münster; both cities had a car centered development but both have caught up a lot and have developed a comprehensive cycling.

With this wide spread experiences in the network, the conference already showed, that (within the next two years) there is a lot of potential for knowledge transfer in the network – to reach further another aim of the project is to share the outcomes of its work, the best practice cases etc. with other cities and inspire them to  become cycling champions as well.

The six European Biking Cities share the conviction, that promoting cycling is a most direct way to improve the air quality helping struggling cities to meet the EU legislation/AQD. Besides a higher quality of living this campaign delivers an important contribution towards clean air in Europe.

The next meeting of the network will take place in Vitoria-Gasteiz in May 2014.