The Bicycle Mayor Program Q&A

The Bicycle Mayor Program

What is the Bicycle Mayor Program?

The Bicycle Mayor Program is a global initiative to locally
represent and accelerate the progress of cycling in cities.
Together all the Bicycle Mayors form the Global Bicycle Mayor
Network. They work together to show the momentum in the
development of cycling.
Bicycle Mayors are the face and voice of cycling in a city. They
are independent catalysts that show the economic, health
and environmental benefits that cycling brings to their city. The
Bicycle Mayor Program is supporting the 50by30 vision: 50%of
city trips by bike in 2030.
Cities around the world can join this global network, by
working with BYCS to find and install the role of the Bicycle
Mayor in their city.

What do Bicycle Mayors do?

Bicycle Mayors are not activists but catalysts – they work with
citizens and city stakeholders to ensure all voices are responded
to. They try to develop positive relations between cycling
organisations, residents, businesses and City Hall.
Bicycle Mayors listen to the local needs and identify solutions to
local problems and promote the many benefits of cycling to make
this solutions become reality.
The exact role of each Mayor will vary according to the local
challenges and opportunities in that city. The time required, the
funding they can access and the way the Mayor works with
local partners will all vary – in some cities, for example, the
Mayor may even have a different title, to align with local
custom.

How can a city benefit from having a Bicycle Mayor?

A Bicycle Mayor gives cycling a human face and a positive
image. Which will help citizens to understand the future of cycling
better. By joining the global Bicycle Mayor Network, your city will
be part of a global network of change makers.
All types of cities might benefit by introducing a Bicycle Mayor,
both cities that are well developed in cycling as cities that are at
the starting line. The Bicycle Mayor in Amsterdam or
Copenhagen will have completely different issues than a Bicycle
Mayor in a city without cycling infrastructure.
A well developed cycling city will benefit by giving cycling a
human face and to connect all the different cycling initiatives that
are going on. In a less developed cycling city the role of Bicycle
Mayor is to be a bit more provocative to bring cycling higher on
the agenda.

How can a city benefit from having a Bicycle Mayor?

The network ensures there is a consistency of approach in our
cities and allows these people to come together to share ideas,
inspire each other and collaborate on challenges. The network
helps accelerate change globally by sharing best practice,
highlighting innovation, co-developing new toolkits, continuously
developing leadership skills and insights as they relate to
progress by bicycle – it is a global change maker network.
This is a new formula. It is putting a human face to a human idea,
then when you add the network, that leader becomes part of a
group of influential city change makers. It means progress can
happen much more quickly – and it needs to.

Bicycle Mayors can
help the world meet
ambitious targets
for 50% of all city
trips to be on
bicycles in 2030

What has happened so far?

In June 2016, the world’s first Bicycle Mayor was elected in
Amsterdam – Anna Luten. Now we have identified 8 Bicycle
Mayors from all over the world. We now have Bicycle Mayors in
Sydney, Baroda, Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Beirut, Amsterdam,
Keene and Mexico-City.
At BYCS, we are working with local partners to set up the
program in cities around the world. We also released an online
community to make the network stronger and it’s actions more
visible.
In June 2017 the first Bicycle Mayor Summit was organised in
Amsterdam, prior to Velo-City Conference. With six Bicycle
Mayors and 25 other participants the first basics for the Bicycle
Mayor Network were created and discussed. Right now there are
eight Bicycle Mayors in five different continents.

What is BYCS’s relationship to the Bicycle Mayor program?

BYCS established the Bicycle Mayor program and
oversees the Bicycle Mayor network. It works with local partners
in every city to identify and elect local Mayors, and then support
them to develop and implement their ideas for action.
BYCS takes care of the online community and provides
toolkits and templates that Bicycle Mayors can use to fulfil their
goals. They organise the annual Bicycle Mayor Summit and are
always looking for ways to make the the network bigger and
more professional.
Although every Bicycle Mayor will operate different according to
local need, customs, political systems and support available, they
must abide by a central core set of principles to be recognised by
BYCS as being part of the official global network. These
guidelines and philosophies are mentioned later on.
Bicycle Mayors also have to update BYCS on their progress.
BYCS provides a toolkit to help every Bicycle Mayor fulfil
their role according to the local need. The toolkit has several
modules that provide ideas, suggestions and how-to’s to become
an influential Bicycle Mayor. There are also toolkits available for
organisations or cities that want to organise an election. Please
contact inge@bycs.org to get access.

The Bicycle Mayor Program fits the 50by30 vision

50% of all city trips by bike in 2030, that is our goal. This
ambitious goal demands the brightest ideas and the most
determined action. We believe it will lead to fundamentally
healthier, happier and more prosperous cities. The Bicycle Mayor
Program is one of the many initiatives that works towards this
goal.
Cycling improves health and connects people together. Cycling
generates business and new forms of economic prosperity.
Cycling is an essential part of a city’s clean transport
infrastructure. There was a need identified for each city to have a
single point of contact – and a public face – to identify and
address the challenges and opportunities in that city, and to bring
people together to make change happen.

The Bicycle Mayor Summit

Next to our online community we highly believe in face-to-face
contact for the most powerful community building and co
creating. The Bicycle Mayor Summit is an annual event in which
the Bicycle Mayor Network will be shaped even further.
The first Bicycle Mayor Summit was held on 10th-11th of June
2017 in Amsterdam right before Velo-City. Around 30
participants, of which 5 Bicycle Mayors attended to shape the
future of the Global Bicycle Mayor network.

Bicycle Mayors can share their ideas, strategies and
experiences and get inspired by the others to shape their local
campaigns. In that way they can think of bold new events and
strategies. They will acquire new leadership skills to become a
more influential Bicycle Mayor by both participating in workshops
and by giving them.
Anyone attending the event will better understand how to install
the role of Bicycle Mayor in their city, as well as what Mayors can
be working on to affect change in their city. Therefore it’s open to
anyone involved or interested in the Bicycle Mayor program.

How is a Bicycle Mayor elected?

Preferably Bicycle Mayors are elected, but we acknowledge that
not every city will have enough momentum and support to make
an election successful. But we do want every Bicycle Mayor to
be chosen or appointed in a fair and transparent way. Therefore
there are a number of ways that a Bicycle Mayor can be elected,
for example:
– A city or organisation may host an open public competition
or other form of election (as was undertaken in
Amsterdam)
– A panel of local experts could choose to nominate a Mayor
initially, and make a recommendation – based on their local
knowledge – to BYCS.
– Individuals can also apply directly to BYCS to become a
Bicycle Mayor and will then be invited to find a broad panel
of relevant, authoritative supporters to endorse their
submission.
Mayors that are not installed though a selection will be required
to help run an election, after their two-year term has expired, to
find the new Mayor in a more open, public way, having built up
awareness of the program in their time in the post. Part of their
role will be to help establish the program in their city and ensure
that their city can become an active part of the global Bicycle
Mayor Network.
Bicycle Mayors are elected for a period of two years. Three
focus points are determined by every Bicycle Mayor to narrow
their activities for that period.
BYCS can provide those who are passionate about helping to
find a Bicycle Mayor with a toolkit to help run the process to find
a local Bicycle Mayor fairly.

Is it a full time role / how much time does it require?

The Bicycle Mayor is a voluntary role. They benefit personally
and professionally from the association with the program, but any
financial remuneration during their mayoralty is likely to be limited
to covering operating costs or basic expenses.
The time the role requires will vary by city and by person but,
typically, it is expected the position would be carried out outside
any other existing commitments. Bicycle Mayors may need to
allow half a day to a day a week, spread through the week and
weekend.
The time may be taken up with conducting media interviews,
organising events, attending events, developing plans, and
securing support. They will also be expected to update
BYCS on their progress.

If possible, the Bicycle Mayor, together with support from local
champions and BYCS, will identify and seek local funding
support or sponsorship for this.
Bicycle Mayors will also seek local funding support to make their
ideas a reality. Therefore, financial support available will vary
from city to city. In Amsterdam, for example, funding was secured
from the city council to support the Mayor’s operating costs.
Other Bicycle Mayors used funds from other organisations or
companies, or from crowdfunding campaigns.

How independent are Mayors?

Bicycle Mayors may have their own political beliefs but they do
not operate in the interests of any one political group – they are
there to serve all people in the city and act in whatever way can
best improve local cycling. If they are involved with or employed
by any other cycling group, organisation or brand they must
declare these interests publicly.
Mayors may receive backing from groups or brands with their
own interests – this does not diminish their independence and
can help power up their ideas or even fund them. They are still
accountable to the public and need to demonstrate activity and
impact in the interests of the city stakeholders.

How accountable are they to the public, and to BYCS?

Bicycle Mayors do not have direct political authority. But their
position also carries the authority of being part of an established
global network. Because they are on a new platform they have a
public momentum behind them that enables change to happen.
BYCS will assess the impact the Bicycle Mayor makes and
will advise on how they can make further impact.
The position is elected for an initial two years to ensure
challengers to the role can come forward if they can better serve
the needs of the city.

Vision, Philosophy and Impact

There is not one standard role or way to act as a Bicycle Mayor.
This wil vary according to local needs, the local culture and the
personal wishes of a Bicycle Mayor. However, we do want the
Bicycle Mayor to follow our guiding principals and to believe in
our core philosophies.

Our Impact:

In Mexico City, Mexico, Areli Carreon is taking action against
social and political challenges through the leadership of cycling
activists. Big visionary and festive events are showing the wide
ranging benefits of cycling for a car-centric city.

In São Paulo, Brazil, JP Amaral is organising workshops with
local policy makers to help implement global cycling knowledge
into the mega-city context. On the same time he is working with
businesses to implement a Bike to Work campaign.

In Baroda, India, Nikita Lalwani is breaking the commuter caste
system and motorized-traffic domination; role modelling equality
and everyday cycling for everyone.

In Keene, USA, Tiffany Mannion is creating awareness around
safety and cycling in a community-based region whilst also
working with influential policy makers across the country.

In Sydney, Australia, Sarah Imm is changing attitudes in one of
the most hostile cities for bicycling. Partnering with the state
police, the state and local government, she is establishing the
state’s first Bike Bus Program for her children’s school.

Core Philosophies of a Bicycle Mayor:

Powered by the people – they are independent catalysts; they
listen to the needs of all city stakeholders, and provide a vision
with actionable solutions. They are open about their progress,
accountable for their impact and driven in making it a success.
And in the face of rapidly accelerated technological change they
believe in human centric possibilities.

Unstoppable belief – they see cycling as more than
transportation but as transformation. They believe that increased
cycling improves public health, reduces environmental impacts,
creates social inclusion, sparks ideas and frees up space for the
community. They know the status quo can always be improved
and that they can always do something about it.

Creative leadership – they role model best practice, confidently
communicate, act on their ideas and empower people to act for
themselves. They paint a picture of their city that is massively
transformed by the bicycle and lead others in making it happen.

Innovation mindset – they are constantly seeking ways that
things can be improved. By being curious about new solutions
and possibilities, they are able to create ideas based on a
positive vision of the future.

Strengthened by diversity – they don’t have to come from the
cycling industry, or have a planning background. They need not
be an activist, or bicycle nut. But they could be all of these things.
The diversity of bicycle change makers across the global network
can expand its creativity, approach and impact.

Acting local, thinking global – they act in the interests of all
local stakeholders, whilst also playing an active role in the global
Bicycle Mayor network, sharing challenges and expertise to
increase their impact and the network’s.

Seeking radical shifts – they share a goal of having 50% of all
city trips by bicycle by 2030. They believe that the greatest goals
require the boldest ideas, and they never wait for permission to
change the world.

What help can people interested in the program provide?

We are looking for individuals and organisations who want to
help make a Bicycle Mayor in their city a reality and a success.
We may need support with establishing the Mayor (through
helping to run the search, election or appointment, or by simply
stating publicly your support for the Mayor, or we may need help
supporting the Mayor once they are in post (with financial or
administrative support or by helping them to make their ideas a
reality).
If you would like to discuss how you can get involved and help
your city, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

%d bloggers like this: