With a triumphant bow, the Sixth World Bike Forum closed in Mexico City on Sunday. The event, attracting many thousands of visitors, took place in and around Plaza de Santo Domingo, from April 19 to 23.
The forum, intended to promote bicycle culture and the sustainability of cities worldwide, was a continuation of the annual event that had previously traveled through Brazil and Columbia, and most recently, Chile.
Beginning life in the city of Porto Alegre, Brazil, the forum has become a meeting point for cycling enthusiasts, urban planners and bicycle advocates from across Latin America and as far away as Russia.
Throughout the forum, visitors were able to listen to hundreds of specialist speakers talk about issues across the broad spectrum of interests represented at the forum. Government officials, authors, environmentalists and economists all took to the stage. Topics ranged from the exploration of cities to the problem of sexism in urban spaces. Communal bike rides offered cyclists the chance to explore their city anew, heading along unfamiliar tracks and taking riders to areas they had never previously been.
Panels discussed the role of open data in defining the bicycle’s role in the expanding urban landscape, as well the best methods to bring groups together to push for change.
The sense of community spirit was evident throughout the forum, with every event open to anyone wanting to participate. The emphasis on equality and the lack of hierarchy clearly made crowds feel welcome.
Each forum had a theme. This year, the organizers chose “Handmade Cities” (Ciudades Hechas a Mano), a reminder that all cities are made by the people who live in them, and in that, that cities should be made livable for their inhabitants.
In a clogged up, car-is-king city such as ours, the pressure on groups to speak up for the health of everyone is paramount. Not only did the organizers of the forum promote bicycle culture, but also sought to emphasize the need for change and evolution away from polluting forms of transport.
Considering last year’s pollution levels hit an 11 year high and the extended period of Hoy No Circula that followed, action at governmental level needs to be taken soon for the sake of every person here.