Health and cycling
CTC View (formal statement of CTC's policy):
- Policy makers should recognise cycling as a healthy and convenient means of transport and recreation that could be incorporated into the ordinary day-to-day activity of millions of adults and children and so improve health and quality of life.
- There is good evidence that cycling’s health benefits far outweigh the risks involved and that the more people who cycle, the safer it becomes – the ‘safety in numbers’ effect.
- Cycling is also a benign mode of transport, causing negligible harm to others. Hence a switch from motorised travel to cycling would improve road safety for all by reducing road danger.
- Public health and transport/planning policies, strategies and guidance, locally and nationally, should be mutually supportive in promoting and facilitating cycling as active travel; and they should clearly steer professionals towards cross-sector working. This will help tackle the serious, costly and growing crisis of physical inactivity and the health problems associated with it (e.g. obesity, heart disease etc).
- Directors of Public Health (England) should take advantage of their planned return to local authorities to engage transport, town and spatial planning and other council departments (e.g. leisure and tourism) more closely in promoting cycling as active travel and recreation.
- The NHS and its providers should actively promote cycling both to their own employees, to the people in their care, and to the general public; and they should invest in measures to support it (e.g. patient referral schemes, cycling facilities at sites as part of Travel Plans etc).
- Transport and planning decisions should undergo a ‘health check’ to maximise the potential for positive impacts on active travel and minimise negative impacts. Tackling hostile road conditions is a priority because they put existing cyclists at risk and deter many others including children and young people.
- Placing the onus solely on cyclists to protect themselves from injury does not tackle the risks they face at source. Health professionals should therefore remain cautious about cycle safety campaigns that focus on personal protective equipment.
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Publication Date:September 2012