Bicycle Network: Take Action
Changing federal policy
Bike riding can make a massive, positive contribution to the Australian economy, according to a recent report to the Federal Government.
17 June 08. Cyclists save the community hundreds of millions in health, congestion and pollution costs.
The report, ‘Getting Australia Moving’, was commissioned by the Department of Health and Ageing, and its authors included some of Australia’s leading health and transport academics.
They have identified savings of $227M a year to the health budget because of the current level of recreational and commuter cycling. These savings are realized because physical activity improves health and reduces the demand on expensive health services.
A further $64M is saved in traffic congestion costs, and $9M in greenhouse emission costs.
There is great potential to improve these savings by getting more people cycling more often. This would free up government spending for new community priorities.
The report cites a number of benefits of bike riding:
- As a low-impact form of physical activity, it appeals to people who cannot participate in high-impact activities;
- As a form of active transport and recreation, it enables many people to combine physical activity with transport and recreation;
- There is also evidence that the public generally prefer unstructured forms of physical activity;
- It appeals to people across the age spectrum, from childhood to adults;
- The promotion of ‘lifestyle’ physical activity such as walking and cycling is more cost-effective than promotion of structured exercise programs;
- As a form of active transport, cycling contributes to the additional benefits associated with reduced car use (improved air quality, reduced greenhouse gas emissions, reduced noise pollution, improved community liveability and social connectedness).
The full report can be downloaded here: