Let’s implement significant national policy that will work!
This week’s UK study (1) of 264,337 people over five years showed that regular cycling to work cut the risk of cancer by 45% and the risk of heart disease by 46%.
You are facing a budget crisis in coming years caused by these chronic diseases. All this is related to a simple lack of daily physical activity.
We know that of the two thirds of Australians who are not currently cycling for transport, more than half of them would consider it if conditions for cycling were better and safer (2) – a lot of Australians want more convenient, healthy and active options for getting to work.
The is no war on the roads between people who drive cars and people who ride bicycles – there is simply a lack of appropriate routes for people to cycle conveniently and safely.
Car drivers would benefit if more people commuted by bike as there would be fewer cars on the road. Even the major car clubs are calling for more investment in cycling to help drivers. The NRMA (3), the RACQ (4) and RAC (5) all support investment in cycling.
Please use your positions to make it easier for states and local governments to build the infrastructure we need. Here’s how:
Ensure Minister Chester gets cycling infrastructure built when your Government funds billions in road infrastructure (positive provision)—you would be building the health of our nation—and while you are at it, why not reverse your decision to axe your national coordinating body for cycling.
Implement a national physical activity strategy that includes cycling to work as a key strategy
Work to make cycling to school the norm again
Provide some simple incentives for cycling to work
Speak out in support of cycling as a legitimate mode of transport.
Prime Minister Turnbull, Health Minister Hunt, the Cycling Promotion Fund and many others are pleased the evidence is so stark, but it is not new, so let’s get moving and make it easier for Australians to do some of their short daily trips by bicycle.
This is something Australian bicycle organisations and industry leaders will be discussing in the 2017 Australian Bicycle Summit in Brisbane on 12 May (6) – let’s Budget for better national health – let’s ride to work!
Yours for a better Australia, The Cycling Promotion Fund.
‘Association between active commuting (walking and cycling) and incident cardiovascular disease, cancer and mortality: Prospective cohort study of 264,337 UK Biobank participants’ http://eprints.gla.ac.uk/138376/7/138376.pdf