Local transport policy and cycling

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Cycling in town
Many local councils recognise the benefits of cycling
Headline Messages: 
  • Cycling is healthy and environmentally-friendly. It also helps people of different ages, backgrounds and abilities get about; contributes to safer and more pleasant streets; and is a financially sound investment for individuals, employers and councils.
  • Cycling deserves a central place in local authority transport policies, spending plans and wider strategies to promote active and sustainable travel. The returns of investing in it are impressive.
  • Many councils recognise the benefits of cycling and work with local partners to maximise them. 
Key facts: 
  • In the Netherlands, where 43% of the population cycles daily, around £24 goes on cycling per person, per year. In England (outside London), where only around 4% of the population cycle every day, it’s under £2 per head;
  • £10,000 invested in cycling only needs to generate just ONE extra cyclist over 30 years for the monetised benefits to equal the costs;
  • The eight cities and four national parks awarded Cycle City Ambition Grants in 2013 are expected to deliver around £5 of benefits for each pound invested;
  • Doubling cycle use would probably result in only a 25-30% increase in cycle fatalities, representing a 35-40% reduction in risk per cyclist;
  • With a funding boost and infrastructure changes, cycling can grow quickly from a very low base: from 2007 to 2011, commuter cycling more than doubled in New York; and Seville saw the proportion of cycling journeys jump from 0.2% to 6.6% in under 6 years.
Cycling UK View (formal statement of Cycling UK's policy): 

Local authorities should:

  • Commit to cycling by: fully recognising its environmental, health and other benefits; linking cycling with the wider aims of local transport and other policies, especially by aiming for more as well as safer cycling and tackling the deterrents (e.g. speeding, bad driving, hostile road conditions and lorries); linking cycling plans with other strategies/policies (e.g. planning, health, education and the economy); and forging partnerships with other local partners in health, education, business public transport, the police and voluntary sector groups.
  • Make the physical environment cycle-friendly by: ensuring that developments are accessible and permeable by cycle; that highways are engineered, laid out, signed and maintained with cycle users in mind; and enhancing provision for recreational and off-road cycling.
  • Promote cycling by: making national standards cycle training (Bikeability) available to people of all ages; supporting school and workplace travel plans and incentives; and encouraging cycling with promotional materials, campaigns and personal advice.
  • Resource their commitment to cycling well by: raising and investing capital, revenue and staff resources, training staff appropriately and harnessing the support of the voluntary sector.
  • Evaluate and monitor the results effectively by: setting substantial targets to increase cycle use; measuring cycle casualties per mile or per trip; monitoring how safe people think cycling is; identifying suitable data collection and reporting mechanisms; and seeking feedback from key partners, including local communities and the voluntary sector. 
Download full campaigns briefing: 
Publication Date: 
April 2016

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