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Mobility and Transport

Overview

Cycling events can play an important part in raising awareness about cycling, and ultimately supporting efforts to encourage mode shift towards bicycle use.

Considerations for applicability

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Level of cycling

The level of cycling within a city is likely to influence the type of cycling event that is organised, and participants targeted. Cycling events will be supportive in cities where there is a low level of cycling in order to raise awareness.

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Urban layout/topography

Topography could be used as a theme/motivation for a cycling event. Changes to urban layout could also offer options for cities to put on events.

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Population

Population target groups for cycling events can vary greatly, including students, tourists, children and the elderly.

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Finance Resources

Depending on the size of the cycling event or activities planned, the budget is likely to vary considerably. Costs can be reduced through collaborative working with other partners, identification of event sponsorship (e.g. businesses or NGOs etc) or use of grants. In some cases, private actors are the organisers of events resulting in no or low financial resources needed from a city.

In Ljubljana, a budget of €20,000 is used annually for European Mobility Week (covering a large number of actions/events), which is supported by many voluntary actions.

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Time & Human Resources

Again, depending on the size of the cycling event or activities planned, the time required to organise is likely to vary considerably. Cycling events and activities are likely to be organised by a number of key stakeholders, including cooperation between local authorities, NGOs, cycling advocacy groups, schools etc.

Measure impact highlight

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Social/Community

Cycling events are likely to have positive impacts on local communities and social aspects.

Note: An overview of the direct and indirect impacts resulting from correctly implemented cycling measures is available in http://ec.europa.eu/transport/node/6167{Challenges that cities face and how cycling can address them as Link}.

In-depth measure analysis, case studies and further guidance

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Key features

Cycling events can play an important role in raising awareness regarding cycling, and ultimately supporting efforts to encourage modal shift towards bicycle use. Cycling events may be small or large, independent or associated with other local, national or European campaigns. They may also be focussed solely on cycling, or alternatively more broadly on sustainable transport, the environment or health but incorporating cycling.

Key examples of cycling events are those that involve the public and could last for an afternoon, day, or week, and are likely to include provision of information, demonstrations and opportunities to try cycling, competitions, festivals, car free days and challenges to encourage cycling.

Events may be targeted at particular groups, including children, families, those new to cycling, employees of a particular organisation or location.

Function and objectives

The ultimate objective of cycling events is to raise awareness about cycling, and to increase the uptake of cycling within a city. Depending on the specific event, there may be a range of other objectives, including promoting safe cycling and safety of people who cycle (aimed at both those cycling and users of other transport modes), encouraging the uptake of cycling for those new to cycling, encouraging an increase in cycling mode share, encouraging cycling for specific trips (e.g. work, school, leisure), focus on health or environmental benefits of cycling, amongst others. These objectives will influence the type of event being organised.

Cycling events offer targeted audiences an opportunity to address the topic of cycling and sustainable transport (or other issues such as health or community, depending on the focus). Events can also be used by politicians or local groups in order to raise awareness and state their support for cycling and associated measures.

Complementary measures

There are strong links between cycling events and activities and other measures listed under Information, Communication and Promotion, including http://ec.europa.eu/transport/node/6214{Provision of Information and Awareness Raising as Link} and http://ec.europa.eu/transport/node/6211{Cycle Training as Link}.

Other cycling measures have listed raising awareness as a secondary objective/impact. These include http://ec.europa.eu/transport/node/6216{Bicycle Sharing and Rental as Link} and provision of information and raising awareness raising about new cycling infrastructure within a city (e.g. new cycling parking facilities, cycle tracks etc.).

Performance

The success of cycling events can be measured via the number of participants and anecdotally through participant/public feedback regarding an event. Cycling modal share before and after the event could also be measured. Whilst not typically evaluated, cycling events are likely to have wider impacts such as supporting cycling measure implementation and raising awareness.

Parameters of success or failure

A number of factors of success have been identified relating to the organisation of bicycle events. Initially, careful planning and coordination of events are essential. It is important to have a smaller, well organised/run first event, rather than being too ambitious and risk negative feedback which may hinder the success of future events.

As with any public event, cycling events should be well advertised to ensure good attendance and participation. This may include posters, flyers, social media campaigns. Event dates should be assessed to ensure that other, potentially conflicting events or public holidays are not planned for the same day. Making it a regular event (e.g. annual) helps to continuously build support and participation from local citizens (see Seville case study).

Where cities experience little support for cycling, it is recommended that cycling events and activities coincide with appropriate national or European campaigns (e.g. European Mobility Week – see Ljubljana Case Study) to give them extra legitimacy, whilst sending the message that citizens are participating in something larger rather than just a local event.

When organising a cycling event, it is important to ensure that any legal or regulatory aspects are considered and adhered to relating to the hosting of public events or road closures etc.

Cycling events can be considered transferable to many cities wanting to raise awareness about cycling.

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[collapsed title=Bicycle Festival (Seville, ES)]

  • Location: Southern, Mediterranean
  • Population: Large urban area (690,566)
  • Cycling Modal Share: Climber (6%)

Seville's Bicycle Festival aims to raise awareness of cycling. The festival sets out to demonstrate that cyclists are not a minority, as well as to present public administration with petitions relating to cycling measures, policies and improvements that are required. The festival provides Seville with an opportunity to celebrate cycling. The annual bicycle festival is a well-established event in Seville. It had its 21st edition in 2018 with more than 4,000 participants and many cycling demonstrations participating in a rally to the Parque Alamillo in Seville, with the majority of attendees coming from the Metropolitan area of Seville.

It is organised by a platform of cycling and environment activists, led by the cycling association A Contramano. This informal platform was initially created to organise the Bicycle Festival, but turned into a coordinating platform with a more formal character (albeit yet not being a formal entity) including the organisation of periodic meetings, social web tools for organisation and an official collation of the month. It is a social movement that lobbies for cycling beyond the festival, albeit the festival is yet the only regular task. Platform members are well connected to the city’s administration and politicians.

The festival provides an opportunity to deliver petitions for cycling development in Seville and the Metropolitan area of Seville to the city’s public administration. It provides music events and a prize ceremony for achievements in cycling in the city. Cooperation is well established with local police as well as the managers of the Parque Alamillo. Promotion is undertaken by the many collaborators in the organisation of the event as well as by a large radio station and local press. The success of the bicycle festival relies on its long history - constant progress in terms of rally demonstrations and participant numbers.

The organisation of the Bicycle Festival involves a large number of stakeholders. This is beneficial for the organisation itself as well as for the promotion of the festival - which makes it one of the key factors of success. The timing of the festival is the same each year - taking place the weekend between two holiday seasons, ensuring that the public are familiar with the timing of the event. Good relationships have been created and maintained between the parquet manager and local police due to the history of the Bicycle Festival.

Whilst information on the budget required is not available, it is acknowledged that the majority of the festival preparation is undertaken on a voluntary basis. As the Bicycle Festival has been running for over 20 years, the routines and contacts necessary to deliver the event are well established.

There are no direct measurable impacts relating to modal share, but the Bicycle Festival clearly contributes to increasing the visibility of cycling and the acceptance of cyclists as a social group.

Road use is restricted to cars and other motorised traffic, which acts as a 'push' measure during the festival. In order for the measure to be transferable, the advice is to include a large number of collaborators in the organisation. The focus should be on a well-organised and run first event, rather than being too ambitious – this approach should lead to constant growth and the development of a festival’s/events character. It is also advisable to create good connections with the hosts of the event, as well as local police and/or public administrations required for application of the event. Radio stations and local newspapers should be involved to support the promotion of the event. Selecting a time that people easily remember is beneficial too.

For public events, it is important to that cities/organisers investigate the legality of any planned events, particularly concerning road closures or organisation of public events. This can be considered as one of the key challenges when organising such an event. The key success of the cycling festival is the increased awareness amongst the local public of cycling and cyclists as a social group and traffic users group.

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[collapsed title=European Mobility Week (Ljubljana, SL)]

  • Location: Southern, Mediterranean
  • Population: Large urban area (288,250)
  • Cycling Modal Share: Climber (11.1%)

European Mobility Week (http://www.mobilityweek.eu/) is an initiative organised by European Coordination, National coordinators and the European Commission to improve quality of life and public health through promoting clean mobility and sustainable urban transport.

Ljubljana has been taking part in the European Mobility Week (EMW) for 16 years. It won the EMW award in 2003 and 2013. For Ljubljana, EMW sees the cooperation of a number of different public and private organisations to put on events relating to e-mobility, walking, cycling, traffic safety, school trips and school surroundings, accessibility, touristic tours. These events are supported by road closures on all city districts accompanied by alternative use of public space other than transport (libraries, dance classes, sports, drawings, presentations of NGOs offers). The EMW campaign aims to motivate citizens to establish permanent measures (to stay in place after EMW) and to promote sustainable mobility. It also provides the opportunity to stage special campaigns depending on the year's programme or theme.

In 2016, there were 13 permanent measures implemented in Ljubljana, in addition to 9 all day and 43 other events taking place. The EMW saw road closures in 17 districts and public transport is free during car-free day. Permanent measures included the renovation of Eipprove Street; reallocation of road space in Vodmat area; extension of the Bike Sharing System; creation of a cycling park for practising cycling skills; eliminating "black spots" in the cycling networks by implementing better solutions for cyclists; construction of cycling parking at public transport stops; creation of a cycling year book for the years 2014 / 2015; allowing bicycles on board of long-distance public transport lines (busses) using special adapted caravans; installation of a cycling sculpture (out of old Bike Sharing bicycles); installation of 25 new charging points for electric vehicles; purchase of 20 electric vehicles for the LPP fleet; and purchase of small e-car (Twizzy) for patrol duties.

The event is organised by a working group led by the Deputy Mayor responsible for transportation. It consists of 18 members, one from each district/department, to coordinate the campaign. In terms of costs, there is an annual budget of about €20,000. In addition to the working group organising the events, there are many voluntary actions and actions by other entities than the city involved.

Regarding the performance and impacts of the event, there are no measurable impacts on cycling modal share, safety/accidents, air quality/environment. However, awareness and promotion of sustainable transport use, user conditions, safety, air quality, public space use as well as diverse aspects of sports, cultural designs and healthy living are increased. The public opinion regarding the event in Ljubljana is also very positive.

One of the key factors of success of the measure is the ability of the event to assist in implementing permanent actions in the city. The event is seen as a good tool for introducing such actions to the public. In order to make the week a success, the city has found that they have to establish good additional events, to attract as many people as possible to the EMW. The connection between giving public/road space to non-transport use and NGO's or other institutes' activities and raising awareness for sustainable transport use and use of public space works well, and enables the public to experience public space used for other purposes than motorised traffic. Road closures and reallocation of use of parking spaces during the event act as 'push' measures.

One of the key challenges of staging such an event is getting the buy-in of stakeholders, but also attracting the public to participate in activities. In order to overcome these challenges, Ljubljana created a network of city departments / districts and other stakeholders as well as offering attractive events to people not only connected to the topic of transportation directly but more indirectly showcasing the use of public space for other purposes.

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[collapsed title=Key guidance, further reading and references]

PRESTO (2010) PRESTO Cycling Policy Guide: Promotion of cycling, Intelligent Energy Europe

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English
(3.62 MB - PDF)
Download

PRESTO: Bike Events and Festival, Give Cycling a Push Implementation Fact Sheet

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English
(179.97 KB - PDF)
Download

CHAMP (2014) Cycling Heroes Advancing sustainable Mobility Practice: CHAMP Catalogue champ_catalogue

Collection of Cycling Concepts (2012) Cycling Embassy of Denmark

collection-of-cycle-concepts
English
(14.46 MB - PDF)
Download

Central MeetBike (2014) Factsheet S-03 – Means of Public Relations

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English
(702.22 KB - PDF)
Download

Difu (2010) Cycling Expertise: Campaigning for Public Awareness on cycling

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English
(1.2 MB - PDF)
Download

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