Welcome to the Bike Futures Conference 2013
This is year five of the Bike Future Conference, and it is remarkable how far we have come as a professional group of practitioners in that time. Back then it seemed like we were at the foot of a cliff-face: there were a few toe-holds, but a tough, largely uncharted climb was ahead. Now, just a few years later, we have reached some of the lower peaks, and can look back with a real sense of achievement.
Strategies and plans that were exposed and critiqued at Bike Futures have been set loose in the wild, and have proved their worth. Notes have been compared, trials evaluated, successes celebrated and the failures forgotten. Above all, we have learned. The feedback generated by Bike Futures has had one recurrent theme: the discovery of knowledge and practice that can be applied in the community.
The communities we serve have also been on a bike journey these last four years. Just as quickly as we plan, design and build the networks for our riders, those facilities flow with bikes. Our major cities now have major routes carrying thousands of bikes each day. And we can see that where state and local authorities took courageous decisions on bike related investments, their prescience has been richly rewarded
It has never been more obvious: Australians will ride, and in huge numbers, if provided attractive infrastructure.
This year we again bring you insights from an important international perspective: New York City. In something of a parallel universe, New York in recent years embarked on a program similar to that underway in Australian cities, and hit many of the same political and media hurdles. It will be fascinating to hear the battle stories direct from the streets of the big city.
Again we will have a long list of compelling presenters from all points of the spectrum. As always the focus is on practical solutions that can be put to work to deliver benefits to local communities. The networking opportunities are invaluable.
I must also remind you of the enthusiastic support of our sponsors and exhibitors, who share our confidence in building the momentum for change. They are keen observers of our world and are a font of knowledge and will be worth spending time with.