Next summer, Ghent wants to organize Velo-city, a significant cycling festival and congress. The city council has set aside 180 000 euros for it. The highlight should be a bike ride with 2 000 participants.
From 18 to 21 June 2024, Ghent will briefly be the epicenter of international cycling. The major cycling conference Velo-city will then land in the East Flanders city. That is a three-day conference at which some 1 500 participants from all kinds of European cities and countries will gather. It’s the annual flagship event of the European Cyclists’ Federation.
Workshops and panels are planned on the central theme: ‘Connecting through cycling’. Officials, policymakers, and activists will tell each other how they are doing in their cities. Brussels already hosted the conference once in 2009. This year, it was up to Leipzig.
For the people of Ghent, the ‘bicycle festival’ will stand out with a large bicycle tour along an animated route through the city. The target is 2 000 participants.
Although that is still in conditional mode for now, first, the council must agree. If that happens next month, the Cycle Embassy, the cycling service of the City of Ghent, will receive 180 000 euros to set up the festival.
The city of Ghent has had a decidedly progressive cycling policy since 1993. With results: 30% of journeys are made by bicycle. The Bicycle Policy Plan, which Ghent pioneered then, described a bicycle route concept to connect Ghent’s boroughs with the city center, combined with communication campaigns and bicycle parking facilities. Ghent was also one of the first Belgian cities to ban cars from the city center.
By 2030, the city aims to have 35% bicycle use. To this end, it focuses on four objectives: more space for cyclists, a city-wide route network, more bicycle parking facilities, and an integrated cycling policy with the Cycle Embassy.