British Cycling welcomes by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) which recommends that cycling and walking should become the norm for short journeys and encourages a joined up approach between public agencies locally with local walking and cycling plans in place, to enable people to walk and cycle more.
The report comes of the back of Transport Minister Norman Baker’s announcement of an additional £20million funding for cycling infrastructure at an Active Travel conference which British Cycling’s Chris Boardman spoke about ‘delivering a cycling revolution’.
The report goes on to say that most people do not do sufficient exercise for a healthy lifestyle, creating a silent epidemic of illnesses associated with physical inactivity such as type 2 diabetes, strokes and coronary heart disease. It estimates the health impacts of physical inactivity are similar to the impacts of smoking.
By contrast cycling regularly can increase life expectancy by two years, improves mental health and is a form of exercise which can be easily integrated into a day, such as commuting to or from work or school, or cycling to the shops, without requiring much additional time.
Announcing the report, Dr Harry Rutter said "What we don't notice is that if you were to spend an hour a day riding a bike rather than being sedentary and driving a car there's a cost to that sedentary time. It's silent, it doesn't get noticed. What we're talking about here is shifting the balance from that invisible danger of sitting still towards the positive health benefits of cycling."
Commenting on the report, Martin Gibbs, Policy and Legal Affairs Director said “We welcome this forthright report from NICE. With all the health benefits that come from cycling it is plain common sense that as a nation we should put cycling at the heart of transport policy so that it’s an easy and compelling choice for everyone for short journeys.”