“Higher fuel prices = cycling boom”

Posted by chdot on May 30, 2008

The CTC (the “UK’s national cyclists’ organisation” – and world’s oldest) has been quick to counteract the fuel price whingers.

Its HQ has sent out a Press Release headed “Higher fuel prices = cycling boom” which boldly predicts that “an extra 1.25 million trips will be made by bicycle every day due to the rising price of petrol and diesel.” (It will be interesting to see which papers mention it tomorrow – The Scotsman had a good article Why price rises are fuelling a push to pedal yesterday.)

This (possibly modest) assertion is based on the consequences of the last ‘oil crisis’ in 1979 when “cycling increased by almost 40%”. Now the CTC “expects thousands of motorists to leave their cars at home and go to work by bike instead”. It will be hard to tell in Edinburgh – what with the great May weather (OK not today! Might clear up in time for Critical Mass at 5.30), the general increase in cycling to work here and the tram works disruption.

CTC Director Kevin Mayne says “The amount commuters pay for fuel has a direct correlation with people deciding to take up cycling. Going by bike to work is a cheap, quick, healthy and an environmentally friendly way to commute and as people look to save money where they can, it’s the obvious choice”.

But it’s not just individual cyclists who save money. The CTC points to a study by Cycling England – which estimates that “every new cyclist contributes an economic benefit of up to £382 to the nation”. The CTC calculates that “a 40% increase in cycling would provide at least £1bn worth of benefits”.

Estimated results of 40% increase in cycling (£m)
Reduction in premature deaths
Reduced NHS costs
Reduced absence from work
Reduced pollution
Reduced congestion

CTC’s list of benefits of cycling to work –

1. It saves you money – no petrol, tax or parking charges.
2. It’s twice as fast as a car in rush hour.
3. It’s efficient.
4. It’s environmentally friendly.
5. It keeps you fit and healthy too.

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