Cycling – a better way to get around…
The UK has the highest level of traffic congestion in Europe, largely because cars are used for many short journeys that could be done on foot or by bicycle. Many of the UK’s transport problems could be solved if more people adopted a more ‘Continental’ approach to getting around and simply selected whatever mode of transport was the most appropriate for a given journey.
For some trips a car may well be the most practical choice. However, for many short journeys traffic jams and parking hassles often mean cycling is a far quicker and less stressful option.
Often the most difficult step is to recognise that a better way is possible. Cycling is far more practical than many people imagine. For example, it is possible to safely carry a surprising amount of shopping on a cycle and the risk of being killed or seriously injured when cycling is actually very low. Some might wonder why people still cycle even when the weather is bad. Simply answered the positive aspects of cycling are so great a little rain is not going to put them off!
There is no need to ‘become a cyclist’ in order to enjoy the benefits of cycling. In reality the often-made distinction between ‘cyclists’ and ‘motorists’ is an artificial one. Social surveys even show that ‘regular’ cyclists actually have higher levels of car ownership than the average!
So why cycle?
Firstly, cycling is often the quickest and most practical way of getting around in town – Personal, door to door travel whenever you want it.
Utility cycling is also one of the best ways of creating a less stressed, healthier lifestyle. Regular cyclists suffer far less from obesity, heart disease, diabetes and cancer then those who live a sedentary car bound lifestyle. They even are less prone to psychological problems such as depression! The health benefits of cycling outweigh the risk from accidents by a factor of at least 20 to 1.
If you cycle to work, this means that you start the day invigorated and refreshed with no need to have that 2 cups of coffee ‘jump start’ once you arrive.
Cycling is good for everyone else too. Cycling cuts pollution and helps create a more ‘human’ environment. It is even good for the economy! There are many costs to society associated with car use that are often overlooked. For example, the costs of road deaths and injuries, pollution and congestion. A consideration of such factors reveals that it would make economic sense to pay people to cycle rather then use their car!
Even small changes in travel behaviour can make a big difference. If everyone were to cycle to work only twice a month, average traffic levels would drop by 10%.
So get out on your pedals and start to make a difference!