Some of Europe’s highest achievers in ensuring more cycling were recognised at the second edition of the European Cyclists’ Federation (ECF) Awards. The winners of the four award categories were unveiled during the third day of ECF’s annual flagship conference, Velo-city, which is taking place in Leipzig, Germany.
“Velo-city is the world’s premier event for cycling advocacy and promotion, and the European Cyclists’ Federation’s flagship event for knowledge exchange throughout the global cycling community. This is why we believe there is no better place to recognise and celebrate the efforts and achievements of those who are striving to ensure more cycling in their cities and regions”, ECF President Henk Swarttouw said at the ceremony.
1. The City of Helsingborg – Cycling Infrastructure Award
Helsinborg’s Varvsbron Bridge is a magnificent cycling and pedestrian bridge that not only looks incredible but also places active travel at the top of the local mobility pyramid. This landmark bridge encourages people to get on their bikes by connecting the up-and-coming smart neighbourhood of Oceanhamnen with the city centre and a nearby public transport hub. Its sleek design and gently sloping, meandering shape gives users a smooth ride, as they cross over the city’s harbour in style.
2. The City of Essen – Cycle-Friendly Employer Award
The City of Essen is truly a standout in their field. Since earning a silver-level Cycle-Friendly Employer certification in 2019, their continued efforts saw them upgraded to a gold-level certificate in 2022. A great example of “Leading the Transition”, they have been sponsoring other local CFE companies and joining forces with organisations and authorities to form a network of cycle-friendly employers. The numbers speak for themselves, with 18 CFE certified employers now in the city.
3. The City of Oslo – Road Safety Award
Oslo is a city that has been making incredible progress in recent years towards becoming one of Europe’s safest cities for cyclists. Thanks to the city’s ambitions and concrete actions, a 2022 public survey revealed that 31% of respondents now consider it safe to cycle in the city, a meteoric rise from only 9% in 2014. Following radical changes to city streets, such as the implementation of 30 km/h speed limits and the removal of over 700 on-street parking spots inside the city’s inner ring road, this city became one of the first in Europe to achieve Vision Zero, with zero road deaths on its streets in 2019, and has since been leading the way with one of the fewest numbers of cyclist fatalities per year in Europe.
4. City of Heidelberg – Cycling Improvement Award
With 40% of Heidelberg’s inhabitants using their bikes as their main mode of transport for inner city journeys, the city has clear ambitions and is implementing concrete actions that are further increasing and improving cycling as part of a larger transition. In 2022, the city’s cycling counters recorded a 17% growth in the amount of bicycle journeys compared to the previous year – from an already high base. The public bike-sharing service registered almost twice as many rentals (325,165) rentals as in the previous year (166,465). Investments in cycling infrastructure include more bicycle parking, as well as a new programme to improve rural-to-urban cycling paths to enable more and safer commuting by bike. The city has also provided subsidies for bicycle purchase. And their leaders are “leading by example”, with the city’s Mayor Eckart Würzner known to lead informative cycling tours for citizens.