British Cycling has launched a 10-point manifesto to transform Britain into a “true cycling nation” and to help the nation gain the equivalent of “almost one million extra healthy years of life over the next decade”.
The manifesto, Time to #ChooseCycling, details how and why British Cycling believes that national and local government should be prioritising cycling as a form of transport.
It cites new research commissioned by British Cycling from Cambridge University, which suggests that if people replaced just five minutes of the 36 minutes they spend (on average) each day in the car with cycling, there would be an almost 5% annual reduction in the health burden from “inactivity-related illnesses”.
The manifesto also says that if 10% of trips in England and Wales were made by bike, the savings to the NHS would be at least £250 million per year.
Chris Boardman, Olympic gold medallist and British Cycling’s policy adviser, said: “Britain is now one of the most successful cycling nations in the world. How can we be getting it so right in terms of elite success but still be failing to truly embed cycling as an everyday part of British culture?
“This research demonstrates that the impact of more cycling would have positive effects for everyone.
“In the 1970s, the Netherlands made a conscious choice to make cycling and walking their preferred means of transport. It is no coincidence that they are also one of the healthiest and happiest nations in the world.
“Local and national government needs to wake up and realise that cycling is the solution to so many of the major problems Britain is now facing.”
Chris Boardman is also today (10 Feb) giving evidence to the Transport Select Committee’s inquiry on cycling. He will make the case for tackling “dangerous HGVs” and ask Government to up its spending on cycling from £2 to £10 per head.
Dr James Woodcock, a senior researcher at Cambridge University’s Centre for Diet and Activity Research (CEDAR), said: “Cycling is a great way for people to embed physical activity in their everyday lives. If we can get people to stay active throughout their lives then it can make a huge difference to their health.
“This research, based on scenarios for towns and cities in England and Wales, outside London, shows the potential for population health benefits from cycling.”
Click here to read the full British Cycling news release – the manifesto can also be downloaded from this link.