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European Cyclists' Federation

Can Vancouver Copenhagenize?
Vancouver could become North America’s cycling capital, reveals the European Cyclists’ Federation (ECF). 
Cyclists in Copenhagen

July 04, 2012-Brussels- With over 60,000 trips everyday done by bicycle, Vancouver has seen a huge spike in cyclists and pro-cycling policies.

"If Vancouver keeps up this positive momentum towards cycling, I’m almost certain that it could be the Copenhagen or Amsterdam of North America,” says Bernhard Ensink, Secretary General of ECF, which groups together half a million cyclists across Europe. 

Cycling has become the fastest growing mode of transportation in the city with bicycle trips doubling in the past decade. Some neighbourhoods see over 10% of all trips made by bicycle putting it on par with many European cities.

“I really think Europeans will be impressed by Vancouver when it hosts the world’s biggest cycling policy conference at the end of the month. Velo-city is going to create a huge push in the number of cyclists,” says Ensink, “but they [Vancouver] will have to continue spending on quality infrastructure.” 

At the end of June (26-29), the city will host 1000 cycling experts at the world’s biggest cycle planning conference, ‘Velo-city Global’. Traffic planners, cycling advocates, architects, educators, politicians and others from around the world will be giving advice on everything cycling related. Countries that have hosted the prestigious conference have generally seen an explosion in cyclist numbers. In the run up to Velo-city in 2009, Brussels (Belgium) managed to double cyclists. Seville (Spain), who hosted the conference in 2011, saw bicycle traffic increase ten-fold. 

Mikael Colville-Andersen, a Danish-based mobility consultant and editor of the Copenhagenize blog believes that “any city can become the Copenhagen of Canada”.  Compared to Toronto and Montreal, Vancouver takes the lead. It has a higher share of women cycling (37%), and has the highest number of people commuting to work by bicycle (3.7%), with Montreal trailing behind (2.4%) and Toronto seeing 1.7% of commutes by bike (2006 figures). 

To become a cycling capital, Colville-Andersen says: “All it requires is a definitive cutting of ties with 80 years of failed traffic engineering and the archaic school of thought that so many traffic engineers desperately cling on to. We need instead the very simple concept of designing cities and we need to design bicycle infrastructure and pedestrian-friendly streets and use common sense and human observation to do so.”

Copenhagen currently sees 10 times as many trips done by bicycle than Vancouver however Mayor Gregor Robertson wants to bridge this gap. He has just signed onto ECF’s Cities for Cyclists’ Network, which groups together high-profile cities such as Copenhagen, Brussels, Vienna and Munich who share best practices in cycling. 

Notes to the Editor

Indicators of Vancouver’s Bicycle Renaissance.
  • Cycling is the fastest growing mode of transport in Vancouver.
  • There are currently more than 400 kilometres of bike routes in the city
  • Approximately 60,000 trips are made on a bike every day in the City of Vancouver.
  • More than 3,500 cyclists commute to work downtown every morning (an increase of 70% in 10 years), which is the equivalent to 65-75 full transit buses.
  • About 4% of commuting trips in Vancouver are made by bike. In some neighborhoods, over 10% of commuting trips are made by bike and over 40% people in Downtown and West End cycle or walk to work (2006 Statistics Canada Census).
About the European Cyclists’ Federation (ECF)

With over 70 members across nearly 40 countries, the European Cyclists’ Federation unites cyclist’ associations from across the globe, giving them a voice on the international level. Our aim is to get more people cycling more often by influencing policy in favour of cycling.

About Velo-city

The Velo-city conference series is the premier international cycling planning conference series in the world, organized by the European Cyclists’ Federation (ECF) and selected host cities. Velo-city conferences serve as a global communications and information platform and target to influence decision makers, and improve the planning and provision of infrastructure for the daily use of the bicycle in an urban environment. The conferences traditionally involve experts, representatives of associations, institutions, policy-makers and social agents, universities and companies. Velo-city Global will be held in Vancouver (June 26-29).

See & for more information

Media Contacts

  • ECF Communications Officer, Julian Ferguson. or +3228809284
Velo-city Communications Manager, Mark Mauchline,

Top: Cyclists in Copenhagen-Credit: Mikael Colville-Andersen 
Bottom right: Cyclists in Vancouver-Credit: Vancouver Cycle Chic
For royalty free downloadable photos visit: or 

Copyright © 2012 European Cyclists' Federation, All rights reserved.
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