Bike and Walk Forum moved up to another level
Similar to the past three years, Thailand Bike and Walk Forum, an annual conference on promotion of walking and cycling in daily life, successfully took place for the fourth time on Friday March 25, 2016, at Bangkok Art and Culture Center (BACC). Under the theme “Bike and Walk for ALL”, the event was raised to a higher level with several ‘First in Thailand’ components, including introduction of the first foreign speaker/presenter, and the final round of the Bicycle Outfit Design Contest that came with a catwalk-style fashion show.
This year, the forum was co-organised by 16 organisations in both public and private sectors, including six department-level government agencies, Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA), three universities, two research centers working on road safety, and its initiator, Thailand Cycling Club (TCC). A total of 172 persons from various organisations all over Thailand formally registered to participate, not to mention many passers-by who dropped in to view displays and join the forum’s side-activities, as the forum took place at a popular modern art center and right in the heart of Bangkok’s commercial/shopping district.
Bangkok Metropolitan Administration Representative
Managing Director of the Thai Health Promotion Foundation
Commissioner Cheng-sheng Pong from Taipei City Government’s Public Works Department
After hearing a welcome speech by a BMA representative, the forum was opened by the new Managing Director of the Thai Health Promotion Foundation, the forum’s main sponsor. Then Commissioner Cheng-sheng Pong from Taipei City Government’s Public Works Department gave an hour-long powerful presentation on “Cycling in Taipei: A Healthier, Greener and more Sustainable Living Style”, accounting how cycling has been creatively promoted in the capital of Taiwan by a local government with clear long-term vision, passion and commitment. His conclusion ultimately repeated what he pointed out several times throughout the presentation that traditional top-down approach cannot respond to challenges his city government (and indeed any local government) is facing in its efforts to build a cycling city; innovative public participation and collaboration with various partners in all sector are necessities.
The eye-opening presentation nicely led the forum into paper presentation sessions, that spanned late morning and early afternoon, where 14 oral presentations were made in six groups under sub-themes: Law and Policy, Infrastructure, Transport Systems, Attitude and Behaviour, Health and Society, and Tourism/Community/Network. And similar to other standard academic conference, 5 papers were also presented in poster format. Some of these research/study outcomes could be immediately adopted and adapted to use in promotion of walking and cycling in daily life. Some pointed out to a need for further research/studies to acquire body of knowledge concerning walking and cycling in Thai context.
The academic sessions were followed by the Bicycle Outfit Design Contest activity in the late afternoon at an open ground in front of the BACC at a corner of Pathumwan Intersection, one of the busiest spot in Bangkok. Prizes were handed to 5 winners with the Top Prize of 30,000 Baht went to a design fittingly-titled ‘Urban Rider’.
Bicycle Outfit Design Contest
Apart from the design contest, as in the past, the forum had many side-activities, including displays by co-organising organisations, appeal for a fundraising cycling trip, a bike-riding show and a musical performance, that lasted until early evening. A big beautiful screen and stage was also set up for those who love to be in photographs.
Similar to the forum in previous years, TCC also organized a one-day walking/cycling trip for forum participants who came from the province to have an opportunity to have an insight into a local area with still strong community in Bangkok. This year, 20 people, including a lady on electric wheelchair, joined a trip to ‘Talad Noi’ or ‘Little Market’, an old Chinese community on the bank of Chaophraya River, a part of Bangkok’s famous Chinatown, that used to be very flourishing as a port in the early period of Bangkok, to observe their way of living and visit shrines and Buddhist temples that had bound them together until the present day.
Reported by Gawin Chutima, Committee Member of Thailand Cycling Club.
Notes: Thailand Cycling Club (TCC) was accepted as an Associate Member (a member from a non-European country) of the European Cyclists’ Federation (ECF), the world’s largest network of national NGOs with serious intention to promote cycling as a means of transport in daily life, in June 2013. It was a founding member of the World Cycling Alliance (WCA), formed in May 2014 during Velo-city Global 2014 in Adelaide, Australia. TCC Founder and President, Professor Emeritus Thongchai Panswad, Ph.D., is a member of WCA Steering Committee.
Founded in 1991, TCC began to organize an annual conference to drive an effort to build knowledge that could be used to promote walking and cycling in daily life in Thai context in 2013 with financial supports from the government’s Thai Health Promotion Foundation.
For more information, visit our website www.thaicyclingclub.org