Canadian Cyclist


June 5/12 10:43 am - Vancouver: the Copenhagen of North America?

Posted by Editoress on 06/5/12

The European Cyclists' Federation (ECF) says Vancouver could become North America's cycling capital. With over 60,000 daily trips done by bicycle, Vancouver has seen a huge spike in cyclists, as well as cycling-friendly policies. With Mayor Gregor Robertson leading the way, the City of Vancouver has joined the ECF's City for Cyclists' Network: a group of high profile cities that includes Copenhagen, Brussels, Vienna and Munich. Together, these cities share best practices in cycling, with the intent of becoming bicycle capitals.

"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 the ECF, an organization grouping together 60 member organizations representing over half a million cyclists across the subcontinent.

Cycling has become the fastest growing type of transportation in Vancouver, with bicycle trips increasing by over 180% in the past decade. Some neighbourhoods see over 10% of all trips being made by bicycle, putting Vancouver in the same category as 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."

Countries that have hosted the prestigious conference have generally seen a sustained surge in cyclist numbers. In the run up to Velo-city 2009, Brussels managed to double its number of cyclists. Seville, who hosted the conference in 2011, saw bicycle traffic increase ten-fold. Vancouver will host Velo-city 2012 on June 26-29. For more information, visit

Indicators of Vancouver's Bicycle Renaissance (City of Vancouver, except where noted)

• Cycling is the fastest growing mode of travel 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.
• 31% of adults in the Vancouver region identify themselves as regular, frequent, occasional or potential cyclists.
• 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 bicycle, and in some neighbourhoods, over 10% of commuting trips are made by bike (2006 Statistics Canada Census).
• In neighbourhoods such as Kitsilano and Grandview-Woodlands, more than 10% of work trips are made by bicycle (2006 Statistics Canada Census).
• 15.9% of residents in Vancouver cycle or walk to work (2006 Statistics Canada Census).
• 41.4% in the Downtown and West End cycle or walk to work (2006 Statistics Canada Census).
• Almost half of all Vancouver residents commute less than 5 km to work and more than 80% commute less than 10 km - these relatively short distances are ideal for cycling.
• 60,000 City of Vancouver bike maps were printed and distributed in 2009.
• The City has more than 300 traffic signals with cyclist push buttons.

Key Statistics Comparing Vancouver and Copenhagen

  Vancouver Copenhagen
Workers commuting by bicycle (2005 figures) 3.7% 37%
Share of women among cyclists (2010) 37% 61%
Annual Cycling Fatalities per 10,000 daily bicycle commuters 0.9 0.3

About the ECF

Founded in 1983, the European Cyclists' Federation is the non-profit entity representing national cycling organizations throughout Europe. The ECF promotes cycling as a daily mode of transport and recreation in Europe and around the world. Backed by growing bicycle usage based on health, environmental, and combined mobility interests, the ECF conducts a wide range of activities aimed at influencing policy makers, decision makers, and key political figures in order to put cycling firmly on transportation agendas.

The ECF lobbies, advocates, networks, conducts research, and provides expertise on behalf of over half a million cyclists represented by more than 60 member organizations in over 40 countries. As such, they represent cycling interests, and bridge links between the cycling industry, advocates, government, academics and urban planners. The ECF is the co-organizer of the Velo-city conference series.

For more information, go to:

About Velo-city Global 2012

Velo-city Global is the world's premier international cycling planning conference. The four day event offers delegates from around the world a chance to share best practices for creating and sustaining cycling-friendly cities, where bicycles are valued as part of daily transport and recreation.

The Velo-city Global conference unites politicians, engineers, planners, architects, social marketers, academics, researchers, environmentalists, advocates, educators and industry representatives. Delegates join forces and foster trans-national collaboration. The event also draws experts from related areas such as health, economics and the environment.

Velo-city Global 2012 in Vancouver is expected to host over 1,000 delegates from around the world. The conference will be held on June 26 -29 at the Sheraton Vancouver Wall Center Hotel, accessible by the new Hornby Street separated bike lane.


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