Commitment to Cycling

Cherry Allan's picture

Cycling and the economy

Cycling contributes more than many people think to local and national economies...
Cycling in town
Headline Messages: 
  • Our excessive dependence on motorised road transport imposes significant economic costs on society. These include: congestion; road casualties; physical inactivity and the ill health caused by it (e.g. obesity); pollution (and the associated damage to buildings, ecosystems, agriculture and health); as well as the geopolitical costs of maintaining fossil fuel supplies in an increasingly unstable global environment.
  • Cycling could substantially reduce these risks, while strengthening local economies in both urban and rural areas; supporting local businesses and property values; boosting the economic productivity of a healthy and satisfied workforce; and enabling disadvantaged groups to gain skills and access employment opportunities.
  • Local and national government, businesses and economic regeneration partnerships are therefore well advised to invest more heavily in promoting cycling; whilst the tax system should offer greater support.
Key facts: 
  • If cycle use increases from less than 2% of all journeys (current levels) to 10% by 2025 and 25% by 2050, the cumulative benefits would be worth £248bn between 2015 and 2050 for England - yielding annual benefits in 2050 worth £42bn in today’s money.
  • Obesity is a risk factor associated with cardiovascular disease (CVD). In 2014, CVD alone cost the UK over £15bn - 1.4% of the country’s GDP. By 2020, the cost is expected to rise to £18.5 billion. In 2009, production losses due to mortality and morbidity associated with CVD cost the UK over £6bn, with around 21% of this due to death and 13% due to illness in those of working age.
  • Occasional, regular and frequent cyclists contributed a ‘gross cycling product’ of c£3bn to the British economy in 2010. Around 3.6 million cycles (‘units’) are sold in GB each year.
  • The average economic benefit-to-cost ratio of investing in cycling & walking schemes is 13:1
  • In 2010, around 23,000 people were employed directly in bicycle sales, distribution and the maintenance of cycling infrastructure. They generated £500m in wages and £100m in taxes.
  • On average, cycle commuting employees take one less sick day p.a. than non-cyclists and save the UK economy almost £83m.
  • Although cyclists may spend less than car-borne shoppers per trip, their total expenditure is on average greater because they tend to visit the shops more often.
  • On 9th Avenue (Manhattan), where a high quality cycle lane was rebuilt in late 2008, retail sales increased by up to 49%, compared to 3% borough-wide.
  • Together, mountain biking and leisure cycle tourism contribute between £236.2m and £358m p.a. to the Scottish economy, with a cumulative gross value added of £129m.
CTC View (formal statement of CTC's policy): 
  • The economic benefits of investing in small scale projects that typically benefit cycling are often underestimated. On the other hand, car-dependence is a significant cost for society and large scale transport projects (e.g. roads) are not the value-for-money they are often thought to be.
  • Cycling makes a positive contribution to the national economy and it is a cost-effective investment. It can help:
    • Reduce congestion;
    • Improve public health and save NHS money;
    • Create jobs;
    • Save employers money and improve productivity;
    • Inject money directly into the economy via the cycle trade;
    • Boost the vitality of town centres;
    • Deliver goods efficiently;
    • Lift house prices.
  • The Treasury should incentivise cycling through:
    • Adhering to the principle that 'the polluter pays' as the basis of taxation of transport users;
    • Maintaining a tax-free mileage rate that makes cycling on business financially worthwhile;
    • Supporting cycle commuting schemes that save businesses and employees tax (e.g. the ‘salary sacrifice’ Cycle to Work scheme);
    • Reducing VAT on cycle repairs;
    • Working with the European Union on changes to the VAT Directive that would encourage cycling (e.g. zero-rating cycles);
    • Maintaining its policy of not taxing cycles for the use of the roads.
  • Both national and local authorities should dedicate sufficient resources to smarter choices, recognising that they rely on revenue rather than capital funding.
  • Economics-focused bodies such as Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs), regeneration agencies, developers and retailers should recognise the value of cycling and take action to promote and encourage it.
Download full campaigns briefing: 
Publication Date: 
January 2014
Roger Geffen's picture

Research shows growth in cycling could be worth £¼ trillion

New research commissioned by CTC shows that cycling could provide economic benefits worth £248bn between now and 2050 if England meets the targets for increased cycle use as proposed in the parliamentary ‘Get Britain Cycling’ report.
The benefits of increased cycling could be worth £248bn between now and 2050

The research – see summary leaflet – has been released as MPs prepare to debate calls for a Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy (CWIS) to be included in the Infrastructure Bill.  An amendment to the Bill has been tabled by a cross-party group of MPs, and is supported by a coa


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SamJones's picture

£248bn in economic benefits by 2050 through cycling

Today (Tuesday 20 January 2015) CTC, the national cycling charity, launched its report 'The Economic Cycle – Quantifying the benefits of getting England Cycling' which found cycling in England could generate a total of £248bn in economic benefits by 2050.
Cyclists crossing Redhayes Bridge, Exeter

CTC commissioned Dr Robin Lovelace and Fiona Crawford, both from Leeds University, to quantify the benefits of cycling if the central recommendations of the All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group’s 'Get Britain Cycling' (GBC) report were met, in comparison with the targets set in the Government’s draft 'Cycling Delivery Plan' (CDP). The GBC report recommended a national target to increase cycle use from less than 2 per cent of all journeys (current levels) to 10 per cent by 2025 and 25 per cent by 2050. This is in comparison to t

Contact Information: 

CTC Press Office
Telephone: 0844-736-8453 or 01483- 238- 315

Notes to Editors: 
  1. CTC, the UK’s largest cycling charity, inspires and helps people to cycle and keep cycling, whatever kind of cycling they do or would like to do. Over a century’s experience tells us that cycling is more than useful transport; it makes you feel good, gives you a sense of freedom and creates a better environment for everyone.
  2. CTC, in coalition with the Campaign to Protect Rural England, Sustrans, Living Streets, British Cycling and the Richmond Group is currently supporting an amendment to the Infrastructure Bill which will ensure that there is a long term investment strategy for cycling and walking. For further information on the e-action see:
  3. The Coalition’s statement in support of the amendment can be found here:
  4. To download the full report visit:
  5. For the executive summary visit:
  6. For further information on the Get Britain Cycling report visit:
SamJones's picture

Walking and Cycling coalition makes public statement

CTC joins a coalition of cycling and walking partners to support an amendment to the Infrastructure Bill that would create a long term financial commitment and strategy for cycling and walking in England.
Cyclists on Lambeth Bridge, London

The Infrastructure Bill, which will dictate the future direction and spending commitments for infrastructure once it becomes an Act, is nearing its conclusion. CTC, along with a number of leading transport groups, is demanding a change from the old ways of looking at transport infrastructure, as set out in the following statement:


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Cherry Allan's picture

Health and cycling

Cycling is good exercise and it's easy to fit into the daily routiine. If more people took it up, it could help ward off the health crises facing the NHS...
Healthy cyclist
Headline Messages: 
  • Cycling is excellent exercise. It helps people meet the recommended physical activity guidelines, improves their physical and mental health and their well-being, while reducing the risk of premature death and ill-health.
  • Cycling is far more likely to benefit an individual’s health than damage it; and the more cyclists there are, the safer cycling becomes – the ‘safety in numbers’ effect.
  • Cycling fits into daily routines better than many other forms of exercise, because it doubles up as transport to work, school or the shops etc. It’s easier than finding extra time to visit the gym and far less costly.
  • Lack of exercise can make people ill. It can lead to obesity, coronary heart disease (CHD), stroke, cancers, type 2 diabetes and other life-threatening conditions.
  • Unlike driving, cycling causes negligible harm to others, either through road injuries or pollution, so it’s a healthy option not just for cyclists, but for everyone else too.
Key facts: 
  • People who cycle regularly in mid-adulthood typically enjoy a level of fitness equivalent to someone 10 years younger and their life expectancy is two years above the average.
  • On average, regular cycle commuters take more than one day per year less off sick than colleagues who do not cycle to work, saving UK businesses around £83m annually. Also, people who do not cycle-commute regularly have a 39% higher mortality rate than those who do.
  • The health benefits of cycling outweigh the injury risks by between 13:1 and 415:1, according to studies. The figure that is most often quoted - and endorsed by the Government - is 20:1 (life years gained due to the benefits of cycling v the life-years lost through injuries).
  • Boys aged 10-16 who cycle regularly to school are 30% more likely to meet recommended fitness levels, while girls who cycle are 7 times more likely to do so.
  • Only around a third of men and women in the UK report that they meet the recommended physical activity guidelines.
  • Physical inactivity causes around 37,000 preventable premature deaths in the UK p.a.
  • Without action, 60% of men, 50% of women and 25% of children will be obese by 2050 in the UK – and cost the NHS £10 billion p.a.
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 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.
Download full campaigns briefing: 
Publication Date: 
December 2014
Cherry Allan's picture

Climate change

Cycling is part of the solution for a low-carbon future...
Headline Messages: 
  • Climate change threatens the future of our way of life and economy, as well as our health and the natural environment that cyclists treasure. There is little doubt amongst informed scientists that greenhouse emissions from human activity are already contributing to an increase in extreme weather events and loss of life around the world, and that dangerously high levels of CO2 concentrations are already being reached. To delay tackling climate change will be far more costly than acting now.
  • Cycling provided highly efficient transport before carbon-intensive travel became widespread, and it is part of the solution for a low-carbon future. It is one of the simplest lifestyle choices that individuals can make to reduce their carbon footprint. It also has huge benefits for their health, their wallets and their neighbourhoods.
  • Government bodies and businesses should act to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from transport by encouraging cycling as a zero-carbon option and by reducing the need to travel.
Key facts: 
  • It is generally accepted that climate change risks becoming critical if the world fails to limit temperature rises to 2°C over the pre-industrial average (although lower figures have been suggested).
  • The Climate Change Act 2008 commits the UK to reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by at least 80% in 2050 from 1990 levels.
  • The transport sector emitted 21% of the UK’s GHG emissions in 2012; 92% of this came from road transport.
  • Passenger cars account for more than half of all CO2 emissions from the transport sector – over 54% % in 2012, much more than any other mode.
  • If the amount of mileage cycled in Britain were doubled by decreasing car use, this would reduce CO2 emissions by 0.6 million tonnes per year. By switching from driving to cycling for a 4 mile each-way commute, an individual could save half a tonne of CO2 per year – or 6% of their personal carbon footprint.
CTC View (formal statement of CTC's policy): 
  • The imperative to halt and reverse the growth of greenhouse emissions should be the central aim of wider transport, planning and economic policies, locally, regionally and nationally. 
  • Cycling should be promoted as a zero-carbon transport option that can deliver worthwhile carbon savings, together with many other benefits, at very low cost.
  • National and local policy frameworks should aim to reduce the need to travel and promote cycling and other low-carbon alternatives to the car, and this should be a central objective for all relevant development agencies and local authorities.
  • Transport projects and development proposals that are predicted (or are likely) to increase greenhouse gas emissions should be rejected, and low-carbon alternatives developed instead.
  • The Government should oblige local authorities to make their contribution towards meeting the targets set by the Climate Change Act and progress should be reported and monitored effectively.  Voluntary action alone is not sufficient.
Download full campaigns briefing: 
Publication Date: 
July 2014
RobbieGillett's picture

Somerset and Hereford support Space for Cycling

17 December 2014
Somerset has became the first shire county with over 30% of its councillors committed to Space for Cycling. Since then, Hereford County Council has followed with 47% of councillors backing the campaign.
Councillors supporting Space for Cycling by Highway Authority - 16 Dec 2014

“As an authority we want to see more people cycling, it’s good for people’s health and means fewer cars on the road and less congestion." So says Councillor Harvey Siggs, Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport at Somerset County Council.  This month, the local authority became the first shire county council with over 30% of councillors backing the national Space for Cycling campaign, funded by the Bicycle Association’s 'B


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SamJones's picture

Somerset Council praised for political support for cycling

Cycling organisations have congratulated Somerset County Council for their political commitment to cycling this week.
Councillors supporting Space for Cycling by Highway Authority

The local authority became the first shire county council with over 30% of councillors backing a national campaign for improved cycling conditions. 

Contact Information: 

CTC Press Office
Telephone: 0844-736-8453

Notes to Editors: 
  1. A map of all councillors supporting Space for Cycling and their comments can be seen here: 
  2. Sustrans estimated that parents who drive their children to school could save on average £642 a year, equivalent to £2bn a year across the UK : Government figures calculate the average family spends £437 on school lunches per child per year:
  3. CTC, the UK’s largest cycling charity, inspires and helps people to cycle and keep cycling, whatever kind of cycling they do or would like to do. Over a century’s experience tells us that cycling is more than useful transport; it makes you feel good, gives you a sense of freedom and creates a better environment for everyone.  
  4. The Space for Cycling campaign was originally created by the London Cycling Campaign (LCC). LCC's campaign in London was focussed on lobbying candidates in 2014’s London borough elections, and had 867 candidates signed up to ward-specific asks (47%). CTC took LCC’s London-born campaign nationwide, working together with the Cyclenation federation of local campaign groups, and backed with generous funding from the cycle industry's 'Bike Hub' levy, run by the Bicycle Association. So far, support for the national campaign has resulted in over 700 non-London councillors signing up to the Space for Cycling themes. The campaign incorporates six main themes which are explained here:  
  5. Nick Clegg announced £214 million worth of funding on 27 November 2014.  £114 million of this has been allocated towards to eight English towns and cities.  The other £100 million will be allocated to the Highways Agency.
Roger Geffen's picture

Cameron's 'Cycling Revolution': one pedal-stroke forward but a long way still to go!

Clegg's announcement of 'Funding4Cycling' is welcome but the Delivery Plan will need to do a lot more if we are to even start catching up with German, Danish or Dutch levels of cycle use.
Deputy PM Nick Clegg on the CTC stand

Yesterday (27 November 2014), around 100 key players in cycle policy and planning travelled from around the country for the Government's latest cycle funding announcement, made in Bristol by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and cycling minister Robert Goodwill MP.

The funding amounted to £214m:


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Victoria Hazael's picture

Government’s “cycling revolution” moves up a gear: now we need to accelerate, says CTC

CTC, the national cycling charity, has hailed Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg’s announcement of £214m of new funding for cycling as a key milestone on the way to the “Cycling revolution” promised by David Cameron last year.

CTC, the national cycling charity, has hailed Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg’s announcement today [27 November] of £214m of new funding for cycling as a key milestone on the way to the “Cycling revolution” promised by David Cameron last year.

Contact Information: 

CTC Press Office
Telephone: 01483 238 315 or 07786 320 713

Notes to Editors: 

1.       The parliamentary Get Britain Cycling inquiry was conducted by the All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group (APPCG), running from January to March 2013.  The ensuing report, published in April 2013, called for annual investment in cycling of at least £10 per person, rising to £20 as cycle use increases, in order to raise cycle use from 2% of trips at present to 10% (nearly German levels) by 2025 and to 25%.

Other recommendations covered the need for leadership and cross-departmental commitment, consistently high cycle-friendly design standards, cycle safety (including traffic law and enforcement, and lorries), and positive promotion of cycling for people of all ages and backgrounds.

2.       The Get Britain Cycling inquiry prompted David Cameron to announce in August 2013 that he wished to launch a “Cycling revolution”.  This was accompanied by an award of Cycle City Ambition Grant funding for 8 cities (Newcastle, Leeds, Manchester, Birmingham, Cambridge, Oxford and Bristol amounting to an average of £10 per person for 1/10th of Britain’s population for 2 years. 

The Department for Transport also promised a Cycling Delivery Plan, which was originally due to appear last autumn.  The draft Plan was belatedly published for consultation on 16 October, the day on which MPs were due to debate it.  Members of the APPCG shared the dismay of CTC and other cycling groups that it merely set out “an aspiration to work with local government and businesses to explore how we can achieve a minimum funding packet equivalent to £10 per person each year by 2020-21”.  

3.       Recent evidence from the Department for Transport shows that investing in cycling typically delivers over £5 worth of health and other benefits for every £1 spent. This is significantly above the typical benefit-to-cost ratios for major road and rail schemes, where a ratio of 2:1 is considered “good” and 4:1 is “very good”. The Government is committed to a £24bn roads programme and £40bn for the HS2 rail link.

4.       CTC, the UK’s largest cycling charity, inspires and helps people to cycle and keep cycling, whatever kind of cycling they do or would like to do. We have been around since 1878 and a charity for only two years. 

• We provide expert, practical help and advice.
• We support individuals and communities. 
• We protect cyclists’ interests. 
• We campaign to make cycling mainstream and to remove the things that stop people cycling. 
• We help people develop the confidence and skills to cycle. 
• We promote the benefits of cycling to individuals, to society and to the economy.

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  • Patron: Her Majesty The Queen
  • President: Jon Snow
  • Chief Executive: Paul Tuohy
  • Cyclists' Touring Club (CTC): A company limited by guarantee, registered in England no.25185. Registered as a charity in England and Wales No 1147607 and in Scotland No SC042541

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