The fact is that cycling has never had so many benefits – for the health of the population, its bank balances or for the planet; there are many reasons why it makes sense to cycle.

- The Australian National Cycling Strategy 2016

The Wagga Active Travel Plan 2016 summarises the benefits of cycling under the following headings:

Urban Spaces and Traffic Congestion

Increasing cycling can reduce traffic congestion and improve the quality of life in our city. Congestion is an emergent issue for the city with key routes already seeing signs of reduced level of service. The heavy reliance on the car (e.g. between 74% and 80% of trips to work are made by car in Wagga Wagga (reference ABS 2011) is responsible for traffic congestion and has the potential to make our transport system vulnerable.

Improving Health

By increasing people’s physical activity, cycling can help reduce pressure on health services. Globally, physical inactivity is estimated to cause two million deaths each year, representing between 10 and 16% of cases of breast cancer, colon cancers, diabetes, and over 20% of heart disease cases. (Australian National Cycling Strategy 2016). The scene in Australia is similar with approximately 16,000 deaths each year attributable to physical inactivity.

Personal Benefits

Individuals cite a variety of reasons for the use of bicycles, but the repeated themes are exercise/health reasons and proximity to home or work/study. Cycling can save people time, can provide an opportunity to meet new people, and can help build a community’s social capital.

Cost Saving

Cycling can save people money. It has been estimated that the cost of operating and maintaining a bicycle is around 5% of the equivalent costs for a motor vehicle. When combined with the significant health and wider societal benefits, switching to cycling can dramatically reduce an individual’s expenditure. Furthermore, it is anticipated that the savings are likely to grow in light of a probable rise in fuel prices.