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Check this: Burke challenges industry leaders to measure their advocacy support

Published March 1, 2016
Burke speaking at Velo-city Global in Taipei on Monday.

TAIPEI, Taiwan (BRAIN) — As he has done before, Trek's president, John Burke, has challenged the bike industry to support advocacy. At the annual Velo-City Global conference, held over the weekend and Monday in Taipei prior to the Taipei Cycle Show, Burke said climate change, in particular, made it critical that bicycle use increase in cities around the world, and he said industry support is a key factor toward increasing bike use.

Burke said bike companies are most effective when they act locally and globally, because it's obvious to him that bike use has increased significantly in cities where the industry has got behind it.

Burke presented a four-point check list:

  1. Is your CEO actively involved in creating a more bicycle-friendly world?
  2. Would local and national advocacy groups say your company supports their efforts?
  3. Is your company actively educating government organizations on the benefits of cycling?
  4. Has your company taken responsibility for transforming your home city, state, or country to be more bicycle friendly?

Burke said by his estimation, and after consulting with some advocacy experts, U.S. bike companies average 1.32 checks on the list.

"You would think more companies would support bicycle facilities, yet the reality is that there are very few bicycle companies that really support the bicycle movement," Burke said.

Burke noted that bikes are used for about 26 percent of trips in the Netherlands, compared to less than 2 percent in the U.S. But in cities where the government, local advocates and industry have worked together, the rate has increased significantly. Madison, Wisconsin, near Trek's headquarters, has a rate above 5 percent, he noted.

"What would happen if we were all at 26 percent? We'd see a significant improvement in world health .. You'd have a massive decrease in global congestion, and ... we'd have a major change in the environment and the bicycle industry would be five times its size."

After his presentation, Burke told reporters that he felt confident Trek scored a four on the checklist. He said other companies, large and small, also check all four boxes, mentioning QBP.

Burke spoke on the day's second panel session on economics at Velo-City Global. He joined Giant Bicycle's CEO, Tony Lo, and World Federation of Sporting Goods Manufacturers' secretary general, Robbert de Kock. Earlier in the day, a panel included Taiwan's Deputy Ministry of Transportation, Cho Shih-chao, British mobility expert Mark Major and Pon Bicycle Group's Armin Landgraf.

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