Wed, Dec 04, 2013 - Page 1 News List

Taipei jumps the gun over Velo-city Global 2016

By Diane Baker and Mo Yan-chih  /  Staff reporters

The Taipei City Government appears to have jumped the gun yesterday with its announcement that it has won the right to host “Velo-city Global 2016,” a major international cycling convention.

City officials said the European Cyclists’ Federation (ECF) granted the hosting right to Taipei following an inspection of the city’s cycling infrastructure and the YouBike public bicycle rental system early last month.

Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) hailed the city’s selection as recognition of the success of the YouBike and other efforts to promote cycling.

“Taipei will be the first [East] Asian city to host the event. This is an honor for us and a great recognition of Taipei’s green transportation and YouBike policies,” he said at Taipei City Hall.

However, the ECF’s Web site says the announcement of the 2016 host will be made next year. In the past, the federation has published a bid manual for the conference in four-years time in the fall, with applications to be submitted the following year. The list of short-listed candidates is then announced in the fall and the winner the following January.

For example, the EFC announced on Oct. 9 last year that Basel, Nantes and Helsinki had been shortlisted for Velo-city 2015. On Jan. 16, it announced that Nantes, France, had won.

The Taipei Times contacted the federation yesterday to check on Taipei’s announcement and received a response late last night.

“Thank you very much for your interest. As of today there is no official ECF position on the host city of Velo-city Global 2016 conference. We will soon release a common announcement with the host city,” ECF communications officer Chloe Mispelon wrote in an e-mail.

The first Velo-city was held in 1980 in Bremen, Germany. In 2010, the Velo-city conference became an annual event, with a European city hosting every odd-numbered year, while a global edition — Velo-city Global — is held every even-numbered year on one of the other six continents.

Adelaide, Australia, will host Velo-city Global 2014 in May.

The conferences bring together people involved in the policy, promotion and provision of cycling facilities and programs, including urban planners, architects, municipal officials, academics, environmentalists and industry representatives. The aim is to help spread information about cycling and transport planning and promote cycling as a mode of transportation.

Urban Development Department Director Ben Tai-ming (邊泰明) yesterday said the city government has drawn up a NT$30 million (US$1 million) budget proposal for its bid to host the five-day Velo-city Global 2016, which would include conferences, exhibitions and a cycling carnival.

Hau also said the city will continue to expand both its cycling routes and the YouBike system.

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