Last year saw the biggest ever increase in cycling on the UK’s National Cycle Network, with 40 million extra journeys made on bike than in 2010, according to a new report ‘Cycling Revolution’ released by charity Sustrans to mark the start of Bike Week.
The report highlights how 484 million journeys were made by bike or foot on the network of paths and quiet streets in 2011, bucking the trend of a national decline in cycling and walking on our roads, as reported by National Statistics.
A third of cyclists now using the National Cycle Network could have driven but chose not to, relieving 52 million car journeys from already-congested roads.
Traffic-free walking and cycling routes pay back four times more than they cost in less than ten years – a much higher return on investment then other forms of transport.
Sustrans is calling on the Government to recognise the economic benefits of cycling and walking and invest heavily in this area to help turn the tide on rising levels of obesity and sky rocketing petrol prices.
Sustrans’ Chief Executive, Malcolm Shepherd said;
“Cycling and walking are the answers to our rising petrol prices and expanding waistlines, but we need safe routes to feel comfortable travelling by bike and foot.
“People across the country are crying out for routes where they can get off the roads and make safe, healthy, cheap and green journeys.
“It’s time the Government had the foresight to properly fund cycling and walking.”
The report also reveals that:
- The health benefit of the National Cycle Network is £442million per year
- Nearly 60 per cent of people in the UK live within a mile of the National Cycle Network
- Women made a quarter of all cycling trips on the National Cycle Network, a 14 per cent increase on the previous year
- More than 25 per cent of National Cycle Network users are over 55 years old
- People aged between 16 and 24 are now making one in ten of their journeys on the National Cycle Network
- If all the journeys made on the National Cycle Network in 2011 had been made by car 760,363 tonnes of carbon dioxide would have been emitted, costing the national economy £40 million.
For more information on the National Cycle Network go to www.sustrans.org.uk