Calculations carried out by Newcycling, Newcastle’s cycling campaign, using HEAT, an internationally acclaimed economic assessment tool for walking and cycling, show that the contribution that current city commuter cyclists make is worth over £3 million to the city of Newcastle every year.
Using the latest Census 2011 data and feeding it into the economic assessment tool, the campaign group calculates that Newcastle’s 3,300 commuter cyclists save the city over £3.3 million in costs simply by living healthier and more productive lives.
Last year’s Get Britain Cycling report states that at least £10 per head per year is needed – that call was also reiterated by the Transport Committee last month. This rate must rise with time to Dutch investment levels of £20 plus. For Newcastle with a population of 300,000 this means that a minimum £3 million should be invested in cycling improvements per year; incidentally the sum the Cycle City Ambition Fund provides till 2015.
This investment is also vital to provide better infrastructure for the rising number of people cycling, so more people are attracted to cycling and cyclists stay safe, and so creating a virtuous circle. With current cyclists saving the city that exact same cost, the value of present pedallers becomes clear. In a sustainable economy, valuing longterm trends and internalised costs, it is easy see the high level of contribution that current bike commuting makes to the city.
Katja Leyendecker, group chair, says: “Valuing cyclists is so important. We already make a massive contribution to society and city life and we want to see that recognised. As every cyclist knows our travel choice is undervalued – cycling can be a struggle. We all have seen and experienced bad and downright dangerous road layouts, abuse by drivers and inadequate implementation of improvements plans and even removal of perfectly good cycling infrastructure.
“With £3.3 million saved and 3,300 city cyclists, you could say that every commuting cyclist chucks in £1,000 into society’s piggybank every year just by cycling to work. That’s a fiver for each 6-mile commute they make. We really must value cyclists more.”
HEAT tool http://heatwalkingcycling.org/
Get Britain Cycling http://allpartycycling.org/inquiry/
Transport Committee http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/transport-committee/news/report-isolated-communities/
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