DCE at the APCC

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Last week, a delegation of the Dutch Cycling Embassy joined the Asian Pacific Cycling Congress 2017 (APCC) in Christchurch and contributed with an international keynote.

The APCC, which was held in New Zealand for the first time, took place from 17-20 October. On October 17th, a pre-congress technical session was organized, in which Dutch expert Richard ter Avest of Goudappel Coffeng participated. During this session, advanced cycle way designs at intersections were discussed.

On Wednesday October 18th, the congress was officially opened with the story of Christchurch and the impact the 2011 earthquakes had on cycling locally. After these earthquakes, a lot of rebuilding was (and still is) needed, which offers potential for implementing cycling infrastructure.

After the opening, Mirjam Borsboom and Edward Douma of the Dutch Cycling Embassy gave an international keynote on worldwide trends and developments and their influence on cycling, where they provided an overview of best practices from The Netherlands and the rest of the world.

After a presentation by Hamish Mackie on the streets of the future, different concurrent sessions were organized, with topics such as Community Engagement, Places for People and Bikes for a healthy lifestyle. The day program was concluded with excursions to multiple places, such as a Bikes in Schools project and the Major Cycle Routes in Christchurch.

On Thursday October 19th, Fergus Gammie (CEO of New Zealand Transport Agency) shared insights on the activities the NZTA with regard to cycling. Sarah Ulmer, an Olympic cycling gold medalist argued why (non-lycra) cycling is important for a country. Jenn Graham provided a behind the scenes look at what worked, what didn’t work when making Atlanta more cycling friendly through an open streets-program.

Steve Hoyt-MacBeth focused on lessons from Portland, one of America’s top cycling cities. After a story on the New Zealand Cycle Trail, Dr. Marilyn Johnson focused on safe cycling, stressing the importance of perception. The last plenary talk was by Prof. Chris Rissel, talking about cycling from the perspective of public health.

After lunch, another two concurrent sessions were being held, focusing on Places for People, Smart Systems, and Bikes for a Healthy Lifestyle. The day was concluded with a dinner at the Tannery, a beautiful spot which was turned into a dining location for the occasion. During dinner, the congress awards for inspirational projects in New Zealand were handed out.

Friday October 20th was the last day of the congress. During the last set of concurrent sessions, Dutch expert Richard ter Avest provided an overview of city centers in the US and in Europe, linking it to best practices for turning these places into bike-friendly areas.

The final two talks provided more of an outlook towards to future. Prof. Simon Kingham reflected on the role of the bike in modern cities. Philip Darnton closed the conference with present reflections (both from the conference and from other places around the world) and with providing future directions.
It was good to be back in New Zealand and catch up with people, to see what progress is made over the last year, and to get a grasp of what the current challenges are in New Zealand!

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