GIBRALTAR’S transport minister Paul Balban joined political leaders from across Europe in Leipzig, Germany to discuss how to promote cycling in cities recently.

Balban, a keen advocate for pedal-power on the Rock, attended the Velo-city world cycling summit on May 9-12.

The theme of the conference was ‘Leading the Transition’ and it was hosted by the European Cyclists’ Federation and the city of Leipzig.

The minister for transport called it an ‘informative’ and ‘inspiring’ experience on his return.

Over 300 speakers spoke to more than 1,400 people from about 60 countries at the four-day event.

While politicians shared their visions for laying down cycle infrastructure, companies showed how they have helped expand the same vision with their projects.

From bike sharing to renting, sustainable mobility to low-traffic neighbourhoods, Velo-city inspired leaders to think bigger in their urban environments.

For Minister Balban it was an ‘opportunity to learn how other cities, large and small, have been evolving over the past year’.

He has been a pioneer of cycle paths around the city of Gibraltar but faces opposition from cultural norms of using cars to get around the 7km2 British territory.

The low amount of space for cycle lanes presents a further challenge for the transition to more sustainable transport.

“The Velo-city conference is unique, where the bicycle is seen as alternative means of moving within cities and explores how best to create the necessary infrastructure to promote its uptake,” Balban said.

“It is important for cities not to reinvent the wheel and to learn from those ahead of them on this journey.”

At the end of the conference almost 20 public officials including Balban signed a declaration to ‘make cycling a fully-fledged mode of transport for all’.

Germany along with neighbours like the Netherlands and Belgium have done a lot to promote cycling in city streets.


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