Home
Reports commissioned by British Cycling and CTC were released ahead of yesterday's Parliamentary debate...

Two academic studies published yesterday, one conducted for British Cycling, the other for CTC, have highlighted the benefits that getting more people onto bikes could bring the country. Both were released to coincide with the House of Commons debate into progress on implementation of the recommendations of last year’s Get Britain Cycling report.

The one for British Cycling, which partnered with law firm Leigh Day to commission it, was carried out by Dr Rachel Aldred of Westminster University and one of its headline findings was that increasing the share of trips by bike here to the levels seen in Denmark would save the National Health Service (NHS) £17 billion over two decades.

The key results have been summarised in this infographic, and you can read the full study here.

British Cycling policy adviser, Chris Boardman, said: “This paper shows that more cycling would touch the lives of all Brits in a positive way – whether they themselves choose to use a bike or not. Investing in cycling would make a massive difference to all of society.

“We only have to look to Denmark and the Netherlands – countries that regularly top surveys on being the happiest and healthiest nations in the world – to see what a transformative effect cycling can have. This is about creating better places to live.

“I hope that this paper helps politicians from all parties to see the bigger picture – that investing in cycling and giving it a proper showing in party manifestos will have long-term benefits for people across Britain,” he added.

A copy of the report was sent to every Member of Parliament ahead of yesterday’s debate, which came hours after the Department for Transport had surprised cycle campaigners by issuing its long-awaited Cycling Delivery Plan, which was criticised for its lack of ambitions targets and failure to commit to dedicated funding for cycling.

“The fantastic thing about investing in cycling is that it can generate benefits in a range of policy areas,” said Dr Aldred, a sociologist and senior lecturer in transport.

“Whether the goal is quicker urban journeys, improving life chances for low income people, revitalising town centres or reducing the growing burden of non-communicable diseases - cycling can be part of the solution.

“The recommendations in the Get Britain Cycling report provide a starting point,” she went on. “Fundamentally, we need a change in mind-set among politicians and policy-makers.

“Rather than just telling people they should cycle, we need to create a Britain where it's safe, easy and fun for all ages and abilities to cycle. This requires sustained funding, a step change in infrastructure, and policy, legal, and regulatory changes to redress the traditional bias against cycling within transport policy.”

The study carried out for CTC - which yesterday described the cycling delivery plan as "derisory" - was carried out by Robin Lovelace of the University of Leeds and James Woodcock of the University of Cambridge. It too focused on the potential savings that could be made for the NHS.

They modelled three separate scenarios. One is based on the Department for Transport’s National Transport Model, which has been criticised for its assumption that levels of cycling will peak next year and then gradually decline.

The second, called “Slow Start” assumes that the DfT scenario would prevail until 2025, when real investment in cycling would kick in. The third, “Go Dutch,” sees “susbstantial pro cycling investment and policies begin in 2015.”

Under the latter scenario, which would see cycling miss its Get Britain Cycling report target of 10 per cent of trips by 2025 but meet the 2050 target of 25 per cent modal share, the NHS would benefit from savings of £25 billion over the next three and a half decades.

The study can be found here.

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.

6 comments

Avatar
teaboy [307 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

Other research shows that the British government doesn't like academic research and prefers to ignore science, ignore the recommendations of government-appointed bodies and make stuff up as it goes along to the detriment of the people it is supposed to represent.

Avatar
felixcat [486 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes
teaboy wrote:

Other research shows that the British government doesn't like academic research and prefers to ignore science, ignore the recommendations of government-appointed bodies and make stuff up as it goes along to the detriment of the people it is supposed to represent.

That's right.

See also how this government has reacted to its scientific advisers on bovine TB and recreational drugs.

Avatar
29erKeith [39 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes
teaboy wrote:

Other research shows that the British government doesn't like academic research and prefers to ignore science, ignore the recommendations of government-appointed bodies and make stuff up as it goes along to the detriment of the people it is supposed to represent.

That is unless the recommendation is for a big fat pay rise for themselves! They'll reject this as they did the recommendation of the 1%NHS pay rise (I don't work in the NHS btw)

Avatar
crikey [1251 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

I'd be a lot happier with an independent study that showed the benefits, rather than the CTC and British Cycling producing studies.

Although the Dutch do demonstrate that cycling should be a central part of the way society can work, it's really important to recognise that the UK is a different place, with different attitudes and needs a different approach.

Avatar
Jonny Digger [2 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

If it could be shown that many voters thinking of supporting UKIP in the next election were cyclists....then the funding for many more initiatives and facilities would suddenly be found..
Can't see Farage on a bike though unless there is a pint of stout balance on the bars.
Which politico is more in favour of cycling?
Come on down Boris....
To be fair Sustrans have been pointing out the potential savings for years and it is not rocket science.

Avatar
bikebot [2119 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

OK, I know we're all adults, but it's getting a bit tiresome that most stories on here now have one regular poster who has to swear like a sailor in every single post.

So this is the polite request from a reader, tone it down please.