The launch of the Cycle to Work scheme was hailed by many as a way of helping people get fitter, save money and help reduce the country’s carbon footprint, but some also poo-pooed it as something that wouldn’t work. In fact, the former was right. More than 500,000 people have signed up to the Cycle to Work scheme since it was launched, including 23,000 employers and more than 2,000 bike retailers.
All in all, the Cycle to Work scheme has reduced carbon emissions by more than 133,000 tonnes of CO2 —equivalent to a city of 24,000 homes. With almost 90% of the participants claiming that their health has improved and almost as many saying it was a very easy way to keep fit, the benefits are clear for all to see. In fact, almost two thirds of Cycle to Work participants didn’t cycle to work before the scheme was launched, with almost three quarters saying they were only novice cyclists beforehand, showing a huge increase in the number of new cyclists —all thanks to the Cycle to Work scheme.
Some people have said that the boom in cycling would have happened anyway, but in fact more than three quarters of participants said that if it had not been for the Cycle to Work scheme, they would not have gone out and bought a bike anyway, so the scheme can rightly take the credit for launching Britain’s cycling boom. Most tellingly, 98% of respondents said they would actively encourage their colleagues to take part in the scheme, which helps employees and employers alike.
Indeed, the tax breaks and financial savings are very enticing for people on both sides of the employer/employee divide, with further savings to be had when you consider the fact that not using your car will save you money on fuel, insurance, repairs and potentially even road tax, should you decide to ditch the car altogether. The health benefits are clear to see, too, with no need to subscribe to expensive gym memberships and being able to keep fit very easily, whilst commuting to work at the same time. All of these benefits have contributed to the huge success of the Cycle to Work scheme and the rise in the popularity of cycling right across the country, which will continue to make the people of Britain fitter, more environmentally friendly and save money at the same time.