The National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) has called on local councils to do more to promote cycling.
In a briefing designed to give a range of advice to councils on public health matters, NICE stresses the importance of cycling as a means of addressing the ‘major public health risk’ associated with physical inactivity.
Some of the barriers identified by NICE include "road dangers and the perception of road dangers". Perceptive, non?
Professor Mike Kelly, director of the Centre for Public Health Excellence at NICE told the Local Gov website: ‘We hope that this practical advice will help local government to make the best use of limited funds, with the potential to save resources while improving the health of local people.’
Local transport minister Norman Baker, who is Parliamentary Under Secretary for Transport, said: ‘Making it easier for people to engage in active travel also benefits the local environment by reducing the amount of traffic on our roads.’
The NICE report stresses the need for new planning applications that ‘should support walking and cycling to prioritise the need for people to be physically active as a routine part of their life’, but apart from that there's precious little detail about what can be done by local councils, especially considering the cuts to local government as part of the Coalition government's austerity drive.
After an unpromising start, having to be bribed by her parents to learn to ride without stabilisers, Sarah became rather keener on cycling in her university years, and was eventually persuaded to upgrade to proper road cycling by the prospect of a shiny red Italian bike, which she promptly destroyed by trapping a pair of knickers in the rear derailleur. Sarah writes about about cycling every weekend on road.cc.