Commitment to Cycling

Vote Bike

Vote Bike
As the General Election looms, which parliamentary candidate in your area will do the most to support cycling?
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.
  • In England, physical inactivity causes around 37,000 preventable premature deaths amongst people aged 40-79 per year.
  • In 2013, almost a third of children aged 2-15 were classed as either overweight or obese.
  • 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: 
March 2015
Cherry Allan's picture

National transport policy and cycling

The huge benefits of cycling can be maximised by giving it a central role in national transport policy ...
Headline Messages: 
  • Cycling provides huge benefits for everyone, whether or not they take up cycling themselves. For individuals, it is a fast, flexible, healthy and cost-saving option for day-to-day journeys; for society, it helps to create a fitter population, a cleaner environment, a vibrant economy and a better quality of life.
  • These benefits can be maximised by giving cycling a central role in national transport policy. This requires strong leadership and ambition; cross-departmental action; sustained funding; nationally determined cycle-friendly design standards; a commitment to tackle deterrents to cycling; and promoting cycling as a safe and normal activity for people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities. 
Key facts: 
  • The Get Britain Cycling report (April 2013) recommended aiming to boost national cycle use from around 2% of trips in Britain at present, to 10% (roughly German levels) by 2025 and to 25% (roughly Dutch levels) by 2050. It also recommended long-term funding for cycling of at least £10 per person annually, rising to £20 as cycle use rises.
  • According to research commissioned by CTC, the cumulative benefits of meeting these targets would be worth £248bn between 2015 and 2050 to England’s national economy, yielding annual benefits in 2050 worth £42bn in today’s money.
  • The Infrastructure Act 2015 commits the Government in England to a ‘Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy’ in law.
  • Cycling investment has been consistently found to have exceptionally high benefit-to-cost ratios (BCRs) compared with road schemes and other large transport projects.
  • In 2014, Transport for London said that: “Cycling levels in the Congestion Charging zone are […] up by 66 per cent since the introduction of the scheme.”
CTC View (formal statement of CTC's policy): 
  • A high-level, sustained commitment to promote, encourage and provide for cycling as a safe and normal activity for people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities, should be a key element of national transport policy.
  • Cycling has such wide-ranging benefits for policy areas beyond transport that it should be supported cross-departmentally by other government ministries, e.g. health, planning, sport, tourism and recreation, education, environment and the Treasury. This partnership approach should involve the public, private and voluntary sectors, and be adopted at local level too.
  • The Government should set a national cycling target of 10% of trips by 2025 and 25% by 2050.
  • Government transport and planning policy should recognise that cycling both contributes to and benefits from less motor traffic and explicitly support the principle of motor traffic restraint and the mechanisms used to achieve it.
  • The Government should create a cycling budget of £10 per person per year, rising to £20 as cycle use increases, or commit 10% of its transport budget to cycling and walking.
  • Decisions over transport spending should take account of the fact that much road-building has many adverse consequences and its economic benefits are debatable, whereas cycling offers high returns.
  • The appraisal tools used for transport schemes are biased against investing in cycling and need to better reflect its full range of benefits, together with the disbenefits of higher-cost and less sustainable transport.
  • The National Transport Model (NTM), which informs decisions on transport spending, undermines the case for investing in cycling and should be fundamentally overhauled. 
  • More money should be allocated to cycling from other streams, especially public health funds. Road maintenance budgets and the planning system should also be used to provide substantial benefit to cycling.
  • All direct and indirect provision for cycling should be subject to nationally defined cycle-friendly design standards, with mechanisms to ensure that all authorities and agencies comply with them. Action is also needed to boost the professional awareness and skills of anyone who is responsible for delivering policies and planning related to cycling.
  • National policy should recognise that more and safer cycling should and can go hand-in-hand, and that action should be taken to tackle the actual and perceived fears that deter people from cycling, e.g.: high motor traffic volume/speeds, lorries and irresponsible drivers, unfriendly road design, while proper enforcement of road traffic law must have a higher priority.
  • National and local road safety targets for cycling should be rate-based: e.g. the risk of a cycle casualty per mile or per trip. Perception-based targets should also be set for cycling: e.g. the proportion of the public who regard cycling as safe in their area.
  • The Government should establish and fund a national target to give every child the opportunity to take part in cycle training free of charge before they leave school.
  • Cycle safety awareness campaigns should not make cycling appear unduly dangerous.
  • The Government should support all ‘smarter choice’ measures that encourage alternatives to driving, and encourage schools, colleges, employers, the health sector and public transport operators to promote and provide for cycling.
Download full campaigns briefing: 
Publication Date: 
March 2015
Roger Geffen's picture

Political parties quizzed on their cycling commitments

The Big Cycling Debate yesterday [2 March] proved a useful opportunity to press the three main parties on what they would do to Get Britain Cycling - and crucially, how much they are prepared to spend on it.
John Humphrys chairing The Big Cycling Debate

The debate was organised by CTC on behalf of the UK Cycling Alliance with support from News UK, as part of the Times newspaper's Cities Fit for Cycling Campaign. It took place on the impressive 17th floor of News UK's new London Bridge office. It was chaired by John Humphrys, presenter of BBC's Today Programme and Mastermind, who opened the event by saying that the advantage of Mastermind was that at least the interviewees actually wanted to answer the questions!


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RobbieGillett's picture

The benefits of local campaigning

We take a brief look at what local campaigners can do to boost political support for cycling in their area.
East Sussex CTC and 1066 Cycle Club writing to councillors

Since last April, over 17,000 emails have been sent to incumbent councillors as part of the national Space for Cycling campaign - calling for safer infrastructure conditions so that people of all ages and abilities can cycle.  In places with strong campaign groups such as Manchester and Newcastle, a huge number of letters have been sent by members of the public and a high proportion of councillors have responded positively. 


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SamJones's picture

Cycling is next to … Godliness?

Lent begins today, and for a second year in a row CTC member the Bishop of Ramsbury has given up four wheels, to take up two for the next 40 days and nights.
CTC member and Bishop of Ramsbury on his Pashley

In the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke, Jesus spent 40 days fasting in the desert, enduring temptation from the Devil. Mirroring this, there are those who still attempt to give up a small vice during Lent.

Victoria Hazael's picture

MP cycles to visit CTC National Office

Local MP for Guildford Anne Milton met with staff, members and volunteers from CTC, to find out more about what the charity does.
Guildford MP Anne Milton trying out a trike
MP for Guildford Anne Milton rolled up on two wheels to the national office of CTC, the national cycling charity in Stoughton, Guildford. 
Describing herself as a “reborn” cyclist, Mrs Milton spent over an hour at CTC learning not just about the national campaigns CTC leads on, but also of the community and inclusive activities which form the bed rock of the charity’s activities. 


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Cherry Allan's picture

National planning policies

Planning policies and decisions can make all the difference to how people choose to make their journeys - i.e. whether to drive or to travel more sustainably by cycle or on foot.
Cycling through a new development
Headline Messages: 
  • Planning policies can help reduce people’s dependency on their cars for work, shopping, leisure and other trips. They can do this both by focusing developments in places that can be easily reached by sustainable transport choices (e.g. in town centres rather than out-of-town locations), and by including good cycling provision in and around the development.
  • Good planning policies are vital to wider economic, environmental and health objectives. They should explicitly state that built and rural environments need to: promote and cater well for walking and cycling to help boost active, healthy travel and recreation; reduce car-dependency and motor traffic volume; and make places attractive to live in and visit.
Key facts: 
  • One of the 12 core principles of England’s National Planning Framework (NPPF) states that planning should: “actively manage patterns of growth to make the fullest possible use of public transport, walking and cycling, and focus significant development in locations which are or can be made sustainable.” (NPPF Section 17)
  • Just 2% of trips in the UK are made by cycle, compared to 10% in Germany, 18% in Denmark and 27% in the Netherlands. In these three countries, planning policies covering the use of land and the layout of urban areas make an important contribution to such high levels of cycling.
  • NICE (The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence) recommends that local authorities “Ensure planning applications for new developments always prioritise the need for people to be physically active as a routine part of their daily life.”
CTC View (formal statement of CTC's policy): 

The role of the planning system

  • Planning policies locally and nationally make a significant impact on travel patterns and travel choice. They need to complement and support transport policy and programmes to promote cycling and other healthy and sustainable options. They should include policies on:
    • Locating development where it can be easily reached by walking, cycling and public transport;
    • Supporting pedestrian and cyclist-friendly urban transport strategies;
    • Providing good cycle access to and within new developments;
    • Ensuring the provision of cycle parking and other ‘trip end’ facilities (e.g. lockers and showers for employees etc.);
    • Adopting, implementing and monitoring travel plans as appropriate to the developments;
    • Securing appropriate developer contributions towards improved cycle provision in the surrounding area;
    • Requiring high standard design for the public realm to create an environment that is inviting for pedestrians and cyclists;
    • Considering the impact that planning decisions may have on recreational and utility cycling, particularly for long distance routes, local green spaces, the rights of way network, canals and riversides, disused railway lines and other transport corridors, national trails, national parks and forests, AONBs and other areas that provide valued opportunities for outdoor activity and recreation;
    • Ensuring that plans for the built environment contribute to improvements in public health.
  • National guidance should recognise that the historic association of economic growth with the growth of motor traffic is inherently unsustainable. It should therefore state unambiguously that planning decisions should reduce the need to travel by private car; and that sustainable, healthy modes offer economic and other benefits in their own right.

Making the planning system work locally

  • The Government should preserve and strengthen the ability of local communities to benefit fully from ‘planning gain’ (developer contributions), which is regularly used to provide for sustainable transport (e.g. high quality cycle routes to and in the vicinity of new developments).
  • Local authorities should set out policies in their development plans that resist development projects that would increase car dependent travel patterns and/or enable them to secure developer contributions for measures that benefit cycling.
  • Local authorities should always adopt a travel plan as part of a wider planning agreement for developments; and they should ensure that they are implemented and well monitored.

Monitoring and accountability

  • The Government should introduce ways to measure the specific carbon impacts of individual developments as part of the Transport Assessment process, and aggregate these so that the public can assess the overall impact of planning policies and decisions, both locally and nationally. It should be possible to dismiss plans on carbon grounds in the interests of achieving the legal limits set out in the Climate Change Act, and incentivise planners to ensure that low-carbon travel is properly accommodated.
  • Representatives of relevant NGOs and local communities should always enjoy meaningful input into planning decisions and the policies and strategies that inform them. Consultation on planning applications for all proposals, major and minor, should be supported by clear information, transparency, regulations and guidance. Communities should also be granted a limited third party right of appeal against planning permissions to which they object.
Download full campaigns briefing: 
Publication Date: 
February 2015
Roger Geffen's picture

CTC urges action on cycle safety as casualty rates rise

New figures show that cyclist casualty numbers, particularly serious cyclist casualties, are still rising more steeply than cycle use.
Cyclist outside the Royal Courts of Justice

Today's Government figures show a worsening of road safety in Britain for all road users, but with cyclists faring particularly badly.

They compare road casualties during the third quarter of 2014 with the same period the previous year, as well as providing whole-year comparisons of the year to September 2014 with the previous one-year period.


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Roger Geffen's picture

Go-ahead for London's Cycle Superhighways "A game-changer for cycling", says CTC

CTC, the national cycling charity, says the green light given today (4th February) for two central London Cycle Superhighways is “a game-changer for cycling”.
Image of the iconic Embankment section of the east-west  Cycle Superhighway

The decision, taken this morning by the Board of Transport for London (TfL), means work will begin next month on the east-west and north-south Superhighway routes, dubbed “Crossrail for Bikes”.  The north-south route runs from Kings Cross to Elephant & Castle, while the iconic east-west route runs from Tower Bridge to Paddington via the Embankment, Parliament Square and Hyde Park, continuing westward to Acton via a new cycle

Contact Information: 

CTC Press Office
Telephone: 0844-736-8453

Notes to Editors: 

1. Transport for London consulted on the two Cycle Superhighway schemes between 3rd September and 9th November 2014.  See CTC’s consultation response.

2. 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. For more information see

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