Commitment to Cycling

SamJones's picture

Cycle racing relaxation – will it help?

Following Chris Froome’s second victory in the Tour de France, the Department for Transport announced that it will relax antiquated road regulations which restricted road racing to boost tourism and double the number of cycle journeys. CTC considers the implications.
The Tour could be coming to a town near you soon...

Three weeks of a gripping Tour de France ended on Sunday, and for thousands of cycle sports fans across the land a gaping void will have opened up. If you’re one of the British sufferers, then don’t worry, our Government thinks it might have the solution to what ails you.

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SamJones's picture

Wales has the tools but needs to use them

Statistics for cycling in Wales show a disturbing trend as cycling casualties increase, as CTC Cymru calls for the Welsh Government to make good on the ambitions contained in the Active Travel Act Wales.
Cardiff Cycle City group calling for better cycle provision in March 2015

The Welsh Government has recently published figures showing that the number of killed or seriously injured (KSI) cyclists in Wales in 2014 (138) very nearly doubled in comparison with the baseline average from 2004-2008 (70). The year before (2013) saw 100 cyclist KSI. This is a huge increase, not matched by the 9% rise in pedal cycle traffic between 2007 and 2013. 

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SamJones's picture

Taxi for DfT!

As summer begins in Westminster, the Department for Transport announces its support for greener transport options and low emission vehicles just weeks after the Chancellor raised the levy on their use.
Green taxi

Eight cities today (23 July 2015) received a huge boost from the Department for Transport (DfT) in their bid to win part of a £20 million fund to increase the number of plug-in taxis. This scheme has been labelled by the DfT as a means to “greener transport options”.

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Cherry Allan's picture

Health and cycling

Cycling is good exercise and it's easy to fit into the daily routiine. If more people took it up, it could help ward off the health crises facing the NHS...
Healthy cyclist
Headline Messages: 
  • Cycling is excellent exercise. It helps people meet the recommended physical activity guidelines, improves their physical and mental health and their well-being, while reducing the risk of premature death and ill-health.
  • Cycling is far more likely to benefit an individual’s health than damage it; and the more cyclists there are, the safer cycling becomes – the ‘safety in numbers’ effect.
  • Cycling fits into daily routines better than many other forms of exercise, because it doubles up as transport to work, school or the shops etc. It’s easier than finding extra time to visit the gym and far less costly.
  • Lack of exercise can make people ill. It can lead to obesity, coronary heart disease (CHD), stroke, cancers, type 2 diabetes and other life-threatening conditions.
  • Unlike driving, cycling causes negligible harm to others, either through road injuries or pollution, so it’s a healthy option not just for cyclists, but for everyone else too.
Key facts: 
  • People who cycle regularly in mid-adulthood typically enjoy a level of fitness equivalent to someone 10 years younger and their life expectancy is two years above the average.
  • On average, regular cycle commuters take more than one day per year less off sick than colleagues who do not cycle to work, saving UK businesses around £83m annually. Also, people who do not cycle-commute regularly have a 39% higher mortality rate than those who do.
  • The health benefits of cycling outweigh the injury risks by between 13:1 and 415:1, according to studies. The figure that is most often quoted - and endorsed by the Government - is 20:1 (life years gained due to the benefits of cycling v the life-years lost through injuries).
  • Boys aged 10-16 who cycle regularly to school are 30% more likely to meet recommended fitness levels, while girls who cycle are 7 times more likely to do so.
  • In England, physical inactivity causes around 37,000 preventable premature deaths amongst people aged 40-79 per year.
  • In 2013, almost a third of children aged 2-15 were classed as either overweight or obese.
  • Without action, 60% of men, 50% of women and 25% of children will be obese by 2050 in the UK – and cost the NHS £10 billion p.a.
CTC View (formal statement of CTC's policy): 
  • Policy makers should recognise cycling as a healthy and convenient means of transport and recreation that could be incorporated into the ordinary day-to-day activity of millions of adults and children and so improve health and quality of life.
  • There is good evidence that cycling’s health benefits far outweigh the risks involved and that the more people who cycle, the safer it becomes – the ‘safety in numbers’ effect.
  • Cycling is also a benign mode of transport, causing negligible harm to others. Hence a switch from motorised travel to cycling would improve road safety for all by reducing road danger.
  • Public health and transport/planning policies, strategies and guidance, locally and nationally, should be mutually supportive in promoting and facilitating cycling as active travel; and they should clearly steer professionals towards cross-sector working. This will help tackle the serious, costly and growing crisis of physical inactivity and the health problems associated with it (e.g. obesity, heart disease etc).
  • Directors of Public Health (England) should take advantage of their return to local authorities to engage transport, town and spatial planning and other council departments (e.g. leisure and tourism) more closely in promoting cycling as active travel and recreation.
  • The NHS and its providers should actively promote cycling both to their own employees, to the people in their care, and to the general public; and they should invest in measures to support it (e.g. patient referral schemes, cycling facilities at sites as part of Travel Plans etc).
  • Transport and planning decisions should undergo a ‘health check’ to maximise the potential for positive impacts on active travel and minimise negative impacts. Tackling hostile road conditions is a priority because they put existing cyclists at risk and deter many others including children and young people.
  • Placing the onus solely on cyclists to protect themselves from injury does not tackle the risks they face at source. Health professionals should therefore remain cautious about cycle safety campaigns that focus on personal protective equipment.
Download full campaigns briefing: 
Publication Date: 
July 2015
david.murray's picture

CTC's Budget reaction: maintain our roads before building more

Reacting to Chancellor George Osborne's tax overhaul announcement in today's Budget, CTC says that it wants to see less emphasis on national road building and more on local road maintenance, while raising questions about the Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy.
Expect Delays. Osborne's Budget. Credit Gary Knight

George Osborne's unveiling of higher taxes for low-emissions cars in today's summer budget has raised more questions than answers over the Government's plans for a new Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy.

The Chancellor announced the ending of tax concessions for low emissions cars to raise funds for road spending, claiming that the current system “isn’t sustainable and it isn’t fair”. 

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david.murray's picture

Minister confirms go-ahead for Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy

25 June 2015
Transport Minister Robert Goodwill today confirmed that he has given instructions to progress towards formal 'Commencement' of the Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy, paving the way for increased investment in improved cycling conditions.
Cycling and Walking Minister, Robert Goodwill, MP

Speaking today at the Cycle City Active City Conference in Newcastle Cycling and Walking Minister, Robert Goodwill, MP announced  that he has instructed Department of Transport officials to prepare the legislative order that will bring into effect the legal provisions in the Infrastructure Act requiring the Government to adopt a Cycling & Walking Investment Strategy (CWIS).

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Cherry Allan's picture

Patchy picture for local cycling levels, new figures show

New figures just out on local levels of walking and cycling in England last year (2013/14) show not much change over the year before in the proportion of people cycling at least once a month. Some local authorities, however, are witnessing significant increases in cycling rates.
London cyclists

In 2012/13, 15% of the population in England aged 16 and over cycled at least once a month, and the same is true of 2013/14, according to the Active People Survey (APS), just published by the Department for Transport (DfT). Some local authorities - 35 of them, in fact - and the South West and East Midlands regions, though, are enjoying significant increases in cycling rates.

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Cherry Allan's picture

Cycling and the economy

Cycling contributes more than many people think to local and national economies...
Cycling in town
Headline Messages: 
  • Our excessive dependence on motorised road transport imposes significant economic costs on society. These include: congestion; road casualties; physical inactivity and the ill health caused by it (e.g. obesity); pollution (and the associated damage to buildings, ecosystems, agriculture and health); as well as the geopolitical costs of maintaining fossil fuel supplies in an increasingly unstable global environment.
  • Cycling could substantially reduce these risks, while strengthening local economies in both urban and rural areas; supporting local businesses and property values; boosting the economic productivity of a healthy and satisfied workforce; and enabling disadvantaged groups to gain skills and access employment opportunities.
  • Local and national government, businesses and economic regeneration partnerships are therefore well advised to invest more heavily in promoting cycling; whilst the tax system should offer greater support.
Key facts: 
  • If cycle use increases from less than 2% of all journeys (current levels) to 10% by 2025 and 25% by 2050, the cumulative benefits would be worth £248bn between 2015 and 2050 for England - yielding annual benefits in 2050 worth £42bn in today’s money.
  • In 2009, production losses due to mortality and morbidity associated with CVD (cardio vascular disease) cost the UK over £6bn, with around 21% of this due to death and 13% due to illness in those of working age. Physical activities, like cycling, help combat CVD.
  • Occasional, regular and frequent cyclists contributed a ‘gross cycling product’ of c£3bn to the British economy in 2010. Around 3.6 million cycles (‘units’) are sold in GB each year.
  • The average economic benefit-to-cost ratio of investing in cycling & walking schemes is 13:1.
  • Academics who studied the cost benefit analysis used by Copenhagen to decide whether to build new cycling infrastructure, concluded that cars cost society and private individuals six times more than cycling.
  • On average, cycle commuting employees take one less sick day p.a. than non-cyclists and save the UK economy almost £83m.
  • Although cyclists may spend less than car-borne shoppers per trip, their total expenditure is on average greater because they tend to visit the shops more often.
  • On 9th Avenue (Manhattan), where a high quality cycle lane was rebuilt in late 2008, retail sales increased by up to 49%, compared to 3% borough-wide.
  • Together, mountain biking and leisure cycle tourism contribute between £236.2m and £358m p.a. to the Scottish economy, with a cumulative gross value added of £129m.
CTC View (formal statement of CTC's policy): 
  • The economic benefits of investing in small scale projects that typically benefit cycling are often underestimated. On the other hand, car-dependence is a significant cost for society and large scale transport projects (e.g. roads) are not the value-for-money they are often thought to be.
  • Cycling makes a positive contribution to the national economy and it is a cost-effective investment. It can help:
    • Reduce congestion;
    • Improve public health and save NHS money;
    • Create jobs;
    • Save employers money and improve productivity;
    • Inject money directly into the economy via the cycle trade;
    • Boost the vitality of town centres;
    • Deliver goods efficiently;
    • Lift house prices.
  • The Treasury should incentivise cycling through:
    • Adhering to the principle that 'the polluter pays' as the basis of taxation of transport users;
    • Maintaining a tax-free mileage rate that makes cycling on business financially worthwhile;
    • Supporting cycle commuting schemes that save businesses and employees tax (e.g. the ‘salary sacrifice’ Cycle to Work scheme);
    • Reducing VAT on cycle repairs;
    • Working with the European Union on changes to the VAT Directive that would encourage cycling (e.g. zero-rating cycles);
    • Maintaining its policy of not taxing cycles for the use of the roads.
  • Both national and local authorities should dedicate sufficient resources to smarter choices, recognising that they rely on revenue rather than capital funding.
  • Economics-focused bodies such as Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs), regeneration agencies, developers and retailers should recognise the value of cycling and take action to promote and encourage it.
Download full campaigns briefing: 
Publication Date: 
May 2015
Roger Geffen's picture

50 years to double current cycle use says CTC

The Government's latest statistics on cycle use show that it has crept up slightly since last year - and is now about 20% higher than 10 years ago. But at this rate it will take a very long time to catch up with our continental neighbours.
Commuting cyclists on Waterloo Bridge

The rush of new Government transport statistics published on 21 May included an update on pedal cycle traffic.  This showed that cycle traffic rose from 5.0 bn-kilometres to 5.2 bn-km between 2013 and 2014. It has risen by around 20% since 10 years ago.

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Roger Geffen's picture

Thousands at Space for Cycling and Pedal on Parliament rides

Despite 'safety' concerns by officials, over 4,000 riders took part in the Pedal on Parliament ride in Edinburgh, while nearly 500 joined a Space for Cycling ride in Sheffield. Hundreds more joined rides in Newcastle and Aberdeen on 25 April.
Space for Cycling: brightening up the city. Photo: CTC, Creative Commons licence

A cross-party line-up of politicians addressed Pedal on Parliament's mass rally of cyclists in Edinburgh (see also BBC news report). SNP Transport Minister Derek Mackay pledged more funding for cycling, prompting LibDem Willie Rennie to pledge to hold Mackay to his pledge!

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