Cycling is more and more being seen as an answer to both environmental and economic concerns, with many government initiatives, both local and national, pledging to promote it. In 2001 it was noted by the Interim Director of Environmental Services that “There are more than 20 million bicycles in the United Kingdom and more people now own a bicycle than ever before”
In 2001, the census found that 47.8% of the 167,451 households in Manchester did not own a car and were therefore reliant on other forms of transport such as walking, cycling and public transport. Possibly due to factors such as rising petrol prices more and more people in Manchester are choosing to cycle. In the last 4 years (2009) 3 there has been an 18% reduction on car trips, and a 59% increase in cycle trips, into the centre of Manchester.
The population in Manchester is increasing, with 2008 government estimates at 464,2004, an increase of over 70,000 on the 2001 census figure of 392,8195. This continuing population increase will exacerbate problems of congestion on roads and public transport, making cycling a quicker and more attractive alternative for many people.
Cycling is healthy, both for you as an individual, and for the community you live in. That’s the conclusion of the British Medical Association’s report, ‘Cycling: Towards Health and Safety’.
Cycling regularly will improve your fitness and can help you live a long and healthy life.
Riding a bike can help you maintain a healthy weight.
Three quarters of all personal journeys are less than 5 miles long – that’s half an hour on a bike.
Switching these short journeys from car to bicycle will benefit your health and your community. You’ll be helping to reduce noise and air pollution as well as traffic congestion.
In one recent study, people who cycled to work experienced a 39 per cent lower rate of all-cause mortality. It is the perfect activity for the already overweight or obese, as it provides cardiovascular exercise without putting excess strain on the musculoskeletal system.
Specialist economic consultancy SQW has shown that a 20 per cent increase in cycling in 2012 would release a cumulative saving of £500m by 2015. A rise of 50 per cent on current rates would unlock more than £1.3bn, derived from savings in congestion, pollution and healthcare.
Due to the rising price of petrol and diesel it is predicted an extra 1.25 million trips will be made by bicycle every day. After the last oil crisis in 1979 when fuel prices rocketed, cycling increased by almost 40%. With fuel prices higher than ever recorded, it is likely that more and more people will be taking to their bikes.
Cycling as a form of transport is cheap, quick, healthy and an environmentally friendly and as people look to save money where they can, it’s the obvious choice.
Road transport contributes to about 70% of the air pollution in UK towns and cities. Traffic pollution damages bio-diversity, local climate and degrades the built environment. But its greatest impact is on health. Evidence from the Department of Health suggests air pollution is responsible for 14-24,000 hospital admissions each year and the premature deaths of between 12-24,000 vulnerable people.
In addition, road traffic is responsible for 22% of the UK’s total CO2 emissions. The Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change provided the first measure of the economic costs of global warming and the damage of continuing current levels of pollution. It followed the 2003 Energy White Paper, in which the Government set its own target of reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 60% by 2050.
This study indicates that an adult in an urban area switching from a car to a bicycle for a commuting journey of 3.9km each way, on 80 days a year, reduces the cost of pollution by £69.14. This is generated by quantifying the benefits to protecting health as well as the value of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Note that more than half of all car trips (56%) are less than five miles long and 23% are less than two miles – approximately the same distance as the average cycle trip.
Not only does cycling enable people to interact more with their surroundings than a car allows but studies show that people who exercise before going to school or work perform better and are less depressed.
There is often an assumption that increasing the amount of cycling will increase the number of accidents and it is often perceptions about safety that discourage cycling. This must be considered in context. Data for London over the past ten years show that as the number of cycle trips has grown, the number of cyclists killed or injured has fallen. Similar results have been found in other countries suggesting that increased cycling does not necessarily increase the number of fatal or serious injuries and may actually contribute to a reduction.
Pedal MCR provide maintenance and cycle confidence lessons in order to lessen the risk of accidents due to improper cycling or bicycle fault/ failure, thus making cycling a much safer way to travel.
In 2005 the proportion of women holding a full car driving licence stood at 63%, having increased from 57% in 1995/97). The proportion of men holding licences has remained at 81% over the last ten years (National Travel Survey (NTS) 2005 (DfT, 2006))
A number of research studies have identified lack of transport as a barrier to training. Women’s ability to access training can be affected by whether it is held in the evening, or where childcare is not offered (Callender and Metcalf, 1998). Lone parents are more likely than other groups to say that transport is a problem. Other research highlights the cost and poor reliability of transport as barriers.