Report from London School of Economics says cycling boosts UK economy by £3 billion per year

A new report from the London School of Economics says even the UK's current low levels of cycling generate nearly £3 billion for our economy.

As well as providing 23,000 jobs in the cycling industry, the report lists other major benefits from cycling such as improvements in public health and reduced pollution and congestion.

LCC's Mike Cavenett said, "Imagine the contribution cycling could make if we had as many people cycling here as in the Netherlands, where 25% of all journeys are made by bike, as opposed less than 2% in the UK.

"We'd be talking about tens of billions of pounds worth of benefits to our economy, helping to create a far healthier and happier population."

The LSE report cites the main health benefits from cycling as reduced absenteeism, with cyclists averaging 10% fewer sick days per year, and lower risks of stroke, coronary heart disease, cancer and other diseases caused by obesity and lack of exercise.

It highlights bike-friendly measures that have been successful in establishing cycling in some northern European nations:

  • preferential traffic signals for cyclists at junctions
  • traffic-calming and lower speed limits
  • strict liability collision laws
  • cycle storage facilities

The report also highlights poor safety on British roads as a major barrier to cycling the UK, though there are no clear recommendations towards reallocating road-space to cycling.

Another report published earlier this year by the Understanding Walking and Cycling project at Lancaster University identified reallocation of roadspace as a major precondition for increasing cycling in the UK to the levels seen in the Netherlands.