A new report, has after analysing the data, come up with a figure for the public health benefit offered by cycling. The study, Cycling: Getting Australia Moving, funded by the Australian government and prepared by Melbourne University and the Cycling Promotion Fund concluded that thanks to the increased health of cyclists, public health services are spared an estimated $227.2m AUD annually.
They also noted that per100,000 participants, an individual is seven times more likely to be hospitalised playing football than riding a bicycle. And observed that "the more cyclists there are, the safer it becomes. In fact, if cycling doubles, the risk per kilometre falls by 34%." The report's authors were pleased to find that between 2001 and 2006 bicycle journeys to work had risen 22% in Australian capital cities, with Melbourne being the standout, recording over a 42% increase.
While such trends are encouraging, the report also points out that about half the Australian population is insufficiently active, significantly increasing their risk of cardiovascular disease, Type 2 Diabetes and obesity, not to mention breast and bowel cancer, depression and anxiety. And they found that "women and older Australians are less likely to cycle, a pattern which is not consistent with international cycling prevalence data." (The full report can found on the Cycling Promotion Fund website. Link below)
So it is not surprising then that the launch of the report was accompanied by an announcement (PDF) from the federal Australian Environment Minister, Peter Garrett, that $45,000 would be forthcoming for the "development of a national cycling training scheme, to encourage more people to choose two wheeled transportation over four." Peter said that "This new scheme, including the development of a national training curriculum, trainer accreditation and a consistent and recognised standard of cycle training across Australia, will help address that problem and increase levels of cycling in the community." ::Cycling Promotion Fund, via ABC
Image found at C.I.C.L.E. (Cyclists Inciting Change thru Live Exchange)