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Cycling for All

PlacesForBikes Conference: making riding better for everyone

PlacesForBikes, Indianapolis, USA
PlacesForBikes, Indianapolis, USA

Hundreds of city officials, advocates, bike industry leaders and retailers put their heads together at a conference in Indianapolis, USA, to discuss better biking solutions for cities. 

Earlier this month, the US-based cycling advocacy group PeopleForBikes organised the second edition of its PlacesForBikes Conference. The agenda was centred around PeopleForBikes' four-part formula for building better biking: Plan, Build, Engage and Measure. It included topics such as:

  • planning complete bike networks
  • building more equitable communities
  • finding funding and engaging non-traditional partners
  • overcoming bikelash
  • making the business case for bicycling
  • speeding project delivery and measuring success

The conference offered tools, ideas and strategies to achieve broader community goals through biking, allowing attendees to develop and refine action plans for their own communities. Keynote speakers include Valerie Jarrett, former senior adviser to President Obama; Manuel Calvo, mastermind of Seville’s bicycle network; Doug Gordon, writer and producer of BrooklynSpoke.com; and Toks Omishakin, chief of the bureau of environment and planning at the Tennessee Department of Transportation. More than 35 other experts provided in-depth feedback and recommendations regarding building connected infrastructure, fostering political leadership and other key themes, during the three days.

A summary of the conference and activities can be found here.

The conference also featured a DRAFT Meetup; DRAFT is a nationwide series created by PeopleForBikes that taps into people who love bikes, business and beer. These events bring communities together to celebrate the latest bike industry innovations and share big ideas —all while enjoying delicious craft beer.  UCI Mass Participation and Advocacy Manager Isabella Burczak had a chance to provide an overview of how the UCI works on linking elite and everyday cycling promotion during this interactive evening, which also included presentations by Adam Vollmer, Founder and CEO of Faraday Bicycles, and Vop Osili, President of Indianapolis City-County Council.

One of the highlights of the conference was the opportunity to experience the Indianapolis' Cultural Trail, an 8-mile long decorative brick path for cyclists and pedestrians connecting visitors to hotels, restaurants and other attractions. The $63 million investment has been considered as a model for urban revitalisation.

Launch of the new PeopleForBikes City Ratings 

After more than two years of development and 184 calculations per city, PeopleForBikes also took advantage of the conference to unveil their new PlacesForBikes City Ratings system —a data-driven, comprehensive approach to identifying the best U.S. cities and towns for bicycling. This ranking will help city leaders pinpoint improvements and make riding better for everyone. 

The PlacesForBikes City Ratings Score is based on five factors: Ridership, Safety, Network, Reach and Acceleration. Each city’s score is determined using publicly available data and new research tools developed by PeopleForBikes. This is the first time a bike ratings system for cities has offered a data-driven look at all five of these categories across a community, and the methodology applied can be found on their website.

Cities will be able to use PlacesForBikes City Ratings as a clear road map for smarter, faster bike infrastructure investments. “PeopleForBikes’ goal is to create communities where people of all ages and bicycling abilities can ride safely and easily all across town,” said Tim Blumenthal, PeopleForBikes President and UCI Mass Participation and Advocacy Commission member. “Our City Ratings will help cities make quick, cost-effective progress towards that vision.”

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