Why Cycling?

It’s good for your health

  • Regular cycling is a great way to stay fit – Just 30 minutes of cycling every day is enough to reach the government’s recommended levels of physical activity [1]
  • Almost anyone can do it – There is no need for high levels of fitness to get begin cycling as it can be as low or high intensity as you feel comfortable with
  • People who cycle are happier – Not only is cycling good for your physical health, studies show it is excellent for your mental health as on average people who cycle regularly are happier – plus it has been found to be the happiest mode of transport [2]
  • People who cycle are healthier people – This is particularly poignant as the UK is the most overweight country in the OECD [3] and is widely believed to have contributed to the UK’s death toll in the covid-19 pandemic. Public Health England estimated that having a BMI of 35 to 40 could increase a person’s chances of dying from covid-19 by 40%, while a BMI greater than 40 could increase the risk by 90% [4]
  • People who cycle are also less likely to be off sick at work – Saving the UK economy £128 million each year.  [5] [6] 

Supports the local economy and creates jobs

  • Introducing cycle lanes increases house prices –  The installation of bike lanes and bike hire has been found to increase boost nearby house prices by up to fifty percent in central London [7]. House buyers are increasingly likely to ask about cycling storage and infrastructure, and estate agents report that the existence of / quality of cycling infrastructure provided is likely to influence a decision about where to live [8]
  • People who cycle spend more money locally – It has also been found that cyclists go to local shops, restaurants, cafes more than users of other transport modes. [9] Not only that, cyclists spend up to 40% more in shops than drivers [10]. Research also shows shop owners greatly underestimate cyclists and overestimate drivers using their shops. [11]
  • Cycling creates jobs – A study from 2014 found that Europe’s cycling economy has created over 650,000 jobs. [12]

It makes towns & cities more liveable

  • Cycling infrastructure will reduce fatalities – There were 98 cycling fatalities in the UK in 2019 [13], safer cycling infrastructure in London has been found to significantly reduces the number of fatalities [14]
  • Cycle lanes makes roads safer for everyone – Introducing infrastructure like cycle lanes and traffic calming measures significantly reduces all types of road fatalities [15]
  • Most pupils do not feel safe cycling to school – Just 2% of pupils in England currently cycle to school [16]. Enabling pupils to safely cycle to school will significantly reduce congestion as it will reduce car journeys, plus it will ensure safe cycling habits are adopted early on [17]
  • Low traffic neighbourhoods can reduce rat running – Rat running is increasing, adding noise to previously quiet roads as well as making the roads less safe for cycling and walking [18]
  • Cycling is almost silent – It is significantly quieter than other modes of transport making for more peaceful neighbourhoods. 

Reduced air pollution & congestion

  • UK Towns & Cities have an air pollution problem – In 2018 it was found more than 40 towns and cities in the UK exceeded WHO guidelines for air pollution [19]. 1 in 19 deaths in the UK can now be attributed to air pollution [20]. Excellent cycling infrastructure will encourage people to safely switch car journeys for bike journeys and will significantly reduce the amount of air pollution in the UK.
  • Cycling is the solution to reducing congestion not the cause – A typical motor vehicle lane can carry around 2,000 people per hour, but the same space allocated for cycling infrastructure could carry around 10,000 people per hour. [21] Cycle lanes are a far more efficient way of moving people around our towns and cities. According to Transport Secretary Grant Shapps, if 5% more journeys switched to cycling or walking it would lead to 8 million fewer car journeys [22]
  • Cycle lanes do not increase air pollution – There is no evidence that cycle lanes cause additional pollution, contrary to many claims in the press. The suggestion cycle lanes cause additional pollution has been thoroughly debunked here [23]

Good return on investment for government

  • High benefit cost ratio for the taxpayer – TfL found for every £1 spent on cycling, £13 is returned to the economy [24]. Government guidance therefore rates cycling investment as “very high” [25] 
  • Delivers cost saving for the NHS – a report prepared by Dr Rachel Aldred for British Cycling found that cycling could save the NHS £17 billion within 20 years [26]

Everyone should have the option to do it

  • It can save people a lot of money – Research shows with a £750 bike and £250 maintenance per year, on average people would save up to £3000 a year on transport [27]
  • It’s significantly cheaper than public transport – The BBC found that 2 months of cycling in London was cheaper than the cost of public transport for a year [28]
  • Cycling is open to all – Regardless of age, sex, income or physical ability, everyone should be able to cycle if they want to – as evidenced in cities like Amsterdam & Copenhagen where cycling has the highest modal share [29], partially due to all different groups in society undertaking cycling. We need to move away from the stereotype of lycra-clad white middle class men cycling and encourage wider participation.

Freedom

  • Cycling is freedom – Cycling reduces dependence on others and can be easily started by most people due to the low barriers to entry. As a result, it played a key role in paving the way for the emancipation of women across the western world [30].
  • Cycling means predictable arrival times – Research has found cyclists are most likely to be on time to work or school (it also found them to be the most energised and ready to work). Unlike cars or public transport, cyclists are less likely to experience delays outside of their own control. [31]