Chief medical officer tells government to choose cycling for nation’s health

Chief medical officer tells government to choose cycling for nation’s health

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British Cycling today welcomed a report by the chief medical officer which makes the case for cycling and walking to be prioritised for the sake of the nation’s health.

In her annual report on the state of the nation’s health, Dame Sally Davies, the chief medical officer, said that “encouraging more people to engage in…cycling is crucial to improving the health of the nation and reducing the prevalence of obesity.”

The report, which in essence endorses British Cycling’s 10 point #ChooseCycling plan, covers the importance of transforming cycling infrastructure on Britain’s roads to remove the barriers for would-be cyclists.

British Cycling's campaigns manager, Martin Key said: “Today’s report by the chief medical officer highlights the vital need for cycling to be prioritised as a form of transport. From our research we know that almost two thirds people would travel more by bike if cycling was accommodated in road design.

“As this report makes clear, the health benefits of cycling through improved fitness outweigh the risks by 700%. To overcome this we need to transform our towns into people friendly places with safe, separated bike lanes which link people to the places they want to go.

"Cities like Cambridge, where almost a third of people cycle to work, are real life examples of how cycling can be made safer as well as a viable, attractive alternative to driving.

“Politicians and local leaders need to listen carefully to this advice. Research we commissioned from Cambridge University has shown that even a modest increase in trips made by bike would save the NHS in excess of £2.5 billion over the next decade. The way forward is clear: we just have to choose cycling.”

Dame Sally Davies’ report also signed up to British Cycling’s top manifesto commitment from the #ChooseCycling plan.

It states “it is important that all forms of active travel are considered when infrastructure is modified”. British Cycling has said that, to truly get the masses cycling, it is vital that roads and junctions are ‘cycle-proofed’ to accommodate the needs of people on bikes.