Active commuting is travelling to work or a place of education on a bicycle, on foot or by scooter; in essence, using non-motorised means of transport. There are many benefits to this for individuals, employers and society:
- Improvements in people’s health and well-being through physical activity and stress reduction, as a worthwhile benefit in its own right - walking for 30 minutes or cycling for 20 minutes on most days reduces mortality risk by at least 10%; active commuting is associated with about a 10% decrease in risk for cardiovascular disease and a 30% decrease in type 2 diabetes risk, and cancer-related mortality is 30% lower among bike commuters.
- Economic benefits of improved health in terms of reduced levels of sickness absence and demand for health services - the conclusion of a study in the Netherlands in 2010 entitled “The association between commuter cycling and sickness absence” concluded “Cycling to work is associated with less sickness absence. The more often people cycle to work and the longer the distance travelled, the less they report sick.” The association between commuter cycling and sickness absence - PubMed (nih.gov).
- Positive impacts on local air quality, which in turn have a positive effect on the health of others in that community.
- Reduction of carbon emissions and therefore a positive impact in the fight against the climate crisis.
- Reduction in congestion and therefore journey times for those that can’t travel to work on foot or by bicycle.
- Helps to address the cost of living crisis through reduced travel costs.
The Department of Transport’s “Gear Change - A bold vision for cycling and walking" (PDF, 5.4MB) states “Increasing cycling and walking can help tackle some of the most challenging issues we face as a society - improving air quality, combatting climate change, improving health and wellbeing, addressing inequalities and tackling congestion on our roads.”
There are moves afoot nationally to promote active travel in general, with the recent creation of Active Travel England and the publication of the second cycling and walking investment strategy (CWIS2).
In Telford & Wrekin there are a number of schemes and resources to help you if you are interested in cycling and walking ranging from help learning to ride a bike, guided rides, help with maintenance and route planning. View more information on our active commuting project “Active SMiles”.
In addition, British Cycling have produced an excellent e-book on cycle commuting which we’d recommend you download and read. It addresses all the fears and concerns that people may have when considering cycle commuting.
Last updated: 06/04/2023 11:51