In a time when people are leading less active lives with associated increased demand for health services, cycling is the convenient way to improve activity levels. The National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) stated that “walking and cycling should become the norm for short journeys” (2012). Their guidance states that town-wide programmes should be put in place to promote safe and enjoyable cycling, by improving cycling facilities, making roads safer and encouraging people to cycle. These public health benefits will be felt by cyclists and the local authority alike who take over the responsibility for public health in 2013.
Ely has become dominated by cars, both through traffic and parking, and these are constant issues of concern. Freeing up a small amount of space for cyclists will significantly reduce traffic and parking requirements, creating new amenity space for cyclists and walkers, less noise and air pollution, and improving aesthetics. The reduction in maintenance and infrastructure expenditure on roads combined with the increased disposable income from healthier cycling residents will increase local wealth allowing the council and residents to spend money improving the local economy.
Cycling doesn’t only benefit cyclists, but provides emptier less congested roads for the remaining car users, which are quicker and safer. In a town where the majority of children cycle or walk safely to school, there would be no school run congestion, and less danger to children, who would be healthier and more active.
Cycling in Ely is common sense. Journeys will take no longer than car journeys; there will be no congestion to get stuck in, no car park spaces which need finding, and less expense. The responsibility for improving life in Ely for current and future residents lies with all key stakeholders in the city. This cycling strategy provides the vision for achieving these goals.