Wiggo to work
By: Dave Robbins
12 September 2013
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Did you know September 12th is National Cycle to Work day?
If you did and chose not to, you won't be alone. Statistics show that currently only 2% of journeys in the UK are made by bike. However cycling is on the increase. Encouraged by Sir Bradley Wiggins' sporting success in the Tour de France and the Olympics, London’s 'Boris Bike' scheme, gridlocked roads and high fuel costs, more and more people are getting their leg over the crossbar. As a result, there's been a 17% increase in cycling over the past decade.
More bikes and fewer cars has got to be good news for transport and logistics and indeed industry in general. Less congestion means less time wasted by commercial vehicles standing in queuing traffic, all of which improves efficiency. And now, according to a new survey by Sustrans, the sustainable transport charity, there's another reason why UK plc should welcome the cyclist to work. Apparently regular cyclists only take 2.4 sick days a year. That compares to 4.5 days for the rest of the population. If everyone cycled to work this could save businesses £13.7bn a year!
Whilst that's highly unlikely, figures produced by the London School of Economics in 2011 show that reduced absenteeism as a result of cycling is already saving businesses £128m a year. The same report estimates that a 20% increase by 2015 could lop £52m off the costs of running the NHS.
So time to 'get on yer bike'? Maybe. Whilst many transport operators are now doing all they can to make life safer for cyclists, the UK's roads aren't exactly cycling friendly. And, when it comes to safety, cyclists can be there own worst enemies, ignoring red lights, riding on pavements and generally disregarding road traffic laws. But if the industry and cyclists can work together, overcoming a 'them and us' mentality, the economic and health benefits of cycling could be massive.