Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Will the Car Always Be King?

In research published this week, 62.7% of employed people aged 16-74 get to work by car. Other forms of transport included train, bus, motorcycle, moped or scooter, taxi or on foot.

Surprisingly, in England and Wales only 2.9% of the employed workforce chose to get to work by bike. Even in London this rises to only 4.0%. This shows that the car is still very much king when it comes to the daily commute, despite the fact that the average journey length in England and Wales is around 10 miles.

There is still clearly some work to be done in persuading people to use a bike to get to work, despite the fact that by using a cycle to work scheme offered by their employer, workers can get hold of a bike and any necessary equipment for around half price and pay for it over a year or more. Here is a reminder of all the positive reasons for taking to the saddle.

The bike is a free gym on wheels. That average 10 mile commute would take around 45 minutes to an hour by bike. If you want to improve your health and fitness without breaking the bank, start pedalling.

Cycling to work means you’ll arrive more alert and refreshed and will leave with better morale than your car-driving colleagues.

You will be able to
  • avoid the traffic jams
  • take a more scenic route
  • avoid having to hunt around for a parking space on arrival.
You’ll save money too – a seven-mile commute by car costs over £350 per year in petrol. Not to mention the cost of the car, road tax, maintenance and insurance.

Those who cycle to work take fewer sick days. This may because they are fitter generally, but also may be because they are less exposed to other people compared to getting to work on public transport. This not only benefits your employer and the wider economy, it’s better for you. Who wants to be stuck at home feeling unwell while the work continues to pile up?

With the New Year almost here, it’s a good time to reconsider how you make your way to work, whether your pledge to yourself is to get fitter, help the environment or save money. Even if you can only see yourself as a fair-weather cyclist, you’ll make a difference to your waistline, your pocket and the environment.