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National Cycling Congress – “nothing beats the bicycle”

foto groningen cycling city

Last week, on Wednesday 1 and Thursday 2 June the National Cycling Congress took place in Groningen, the Netherlands. In this city with just over 200.000 inhabitants cycling has become very popular. Over 50% of all inhabitants are under the age of 30, mainly due to the fact that the city has a well-known University.

The highlights of Groningen cycling tour

Being the proud host of the National Cycling Congress (Nationaal Fietscongres) Groningen has a lot to offer to the cycle fanatic. On http://groningenfietsstad.nl/ you will find all the information about “Groningen Cycling City”. To be able to witness their best practices in cycling the congress started off on Wednesday with a cycling tour along the highlights of the city. It was obvious that Groningen is very proud of all they have accomplished, for example the area code for Groningen, 050, is transformed into a bicycle logo which is also being used in the bicycle traffic lights. Also, the city of Groningen installed sensors at traffic lights which gives extra green light time for cyclists when it rains. Luckily the sun was out all day, so we did not get to experience this innovation.

Foto fietsstoplicht 050

Pre congress – 1 June
During the pre-congress on 1 June, Mrs. Janine Hogendoorn (Ring-Ring®) was elected ‘Cycling Professional of the year 2016’. She received more online votes during this election than Sjors van Duren (Province of Gelderland) and Hugo van der Steenhoven (former Cyclists Union and HuGo Cycling). Ring-Ring is an app that stimulates people to cycle more kilometers in return for benefits, for more info turn to http://ring-ring.nu/
2 June
Alderman Paul de Rook from the city of Groningen opened the congress with an inspirational speech. To his beliefs the Netherlands is the leading country in the world when it comes to the bicycle as a full mode of transportation. Still we sometimes miss opportunities when it comes to cycling and business, but we are on the right track. The international publicity is increasing and our joint international cycling effort is beginning to reap rewards in many areas. So, let’s continue to work together on making cycling possible all over the world!

paul de rook 6 groot

Mr. Gordon Price, a Canadian urban planner and a former politician opened the congress by giving a lecture on Vancouverism, an urban planning phenomenon that is unique to North America. It is characterized by a large residential population living in the city centre with mixed-use developments, which leads to a livable city where ‘healthy’ modalities such as the bicycle, walking and public transport are popular. According to CNN, Vancouver is one of the healthies cities in the world. Price stated: “The car is not the problem, the dominance of the car is the problem.”

Throughout the day, many sessions on cycling policy, health, cycling highways, innovations, traffic safety, infrastructure, bike sharing systems, urban planning and much more were being held. Next year, the congress will take place in Tilburg and the theme will be ”Innovation”.

Mr. Rients Dijkstra, a Government advisor presented all experts with some food for thought to take home at the end of the day. Competitiveness and livability, the bicycle can realize both.

Next year in September, the National Cycling Congress will take place in Tilburg. Watch the trailer film:

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