The last few years have seen a rapid upsurge in the number of people taking to cycling. Of course, the health benefits of the pursuit are very well documented – not only is cycling good for your physical health, but it’s good for your mental health as well.
Millions of people regularly take to their bikes when commuting to work, or just for fun. It’s fair to say that there has been a concerted effort on the park of both central and local government in the USA to encourage more people to take up cycling, but with public spending cuts being implemented there is a risk that this effort could simply grind to a halt. So what more can be done to encourage cycling?
Investment in infrastructure
Over the last decade or so, many councils have sought to improve cycling infrastructure by investing in cycle lanes, bike racks and other facilities. For their part, cyclists have adopted these measures with real enthusiasm, and their ranks have been significantly swelled by the arrival of millions of new cyclists over the last few years. The Cycle to Work scheme, launched in 1999, allows employers to rent cut-price cycling equipment on behalf of their employees, who can then buy it for a modest fee at the end of the initial loan period.
Although investment in cycling infrastructure might not seem like much of a priority for public sector bodies at the current time, it is worth remembering that it effectively pays for itself in some respects. For one thing, people who are fitter and healthier both in mind and body are likely to be more productive – which means they create more wealth and thereby boost economic activity. At a time when the economic outlook remains distinctly uncertain, this is something which we should consider carefully.
Not only are regular cyclists likely to be more productive at work, but they’re also less likely to fall ill – saving the health service money.
Publicising the benefits of cycling
In addition to all the investment in cycling infrastructure over recent years, there’s also been a big focus on implementing a promotional drive to inform people about the benefits of cycling. It should go without saying that advertising can have a big influence on how people go about their lives – if it didn’t, there wouldn’t be so much money spent on it – so publicising the health benefits of cycling is going to be important if we’re to continue to encourage people to take up the pursuit.