Rio becomes first Latin American city to host international cycling summit

Latin America

Rio becomes first Latin American city to host international cycling summit

Brazil has become the first Latin American country to host the world’s largest cycling conference. Some 2,000 experts have gathered in Rio de Janeiro for the three-day event, known as ‘Velo-city’.

CGTN’s Lucrecia Franco reports. 

A six-kilometer, international bike parade around Rio de Janeiro is one of the most exciting moments of this year’s global Velo-city forum. The event was founded in 1980 with ties to the European Cyclists’ Federation, and aims to promote green urban mobility. This year’s motto is “Access to Life.”

Experts from more than 30 countries are discussing topics sustainability and inclusion. Both are especially important in Latin America, where cycling is linked more to leisure than transportation.

Cycling is also big business. Bike share companies, top bike brands and accessory manufacturers are present at the forum. According to the organizers, there are more than two billion bikes in use around the world.

Rio was chosen to host the first Latin America edition of Velo-city because of its efforts to become a bicycle-friendly city. Rio offers more than 400 kilometers of bike paths.

Still, the city and country face serious challenges. According to the latest official figures, 32 people are hospitalized every day in Brazil, from injuries sustained in bike accidents.

Though safety is still an issue, many Rio’s residents say they’d like to rely more on bicycling, because it’s healthy, green and cheaper than driving.