'Increased use of bicyclescould save Britain billions'

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The Independent Online
(First Edition)

UP TO pounds 4.6bn could be saved every year if Britons were to follow the example of some Dutch cities, where 50per cent of non-walking trips are taken by bicycle, according to a pro-cycling report, writes Nick Walker.

Costing the Benefits: The Value of Cycling, published by the Cyclists' Touring Club, suggests that increasing cycle use would bring substantial gains in public health, reduced congestion and greater freedom of mobility.

The annual cost to the UK of all motorised transport is pounds 34bn, taking into account congestion, road building and maintenance, accidents and 'hidden costs' such as such as oil imports, defence policies needed to guarantee these and environmental costs.

Two-thirds of these costs are imposed by the use of private cars, thus half the pounds 4.6bn savings would come from cutting congestion, now a top government priority. The combined effect of reducing pollution and people taking more exercise would also produce substantial health benefits.

The report recommends that pounds 200m be spent annually on cycle facilities and promotional campaigns.

Costing the Benefits: The Value of Cycling; Cyclists' Touring Club, 69 Meadrow, Godalming, Surrey; Tel: 0483 417 217; pounds 10, pounds 5 (CTC members).