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Walking and cycling overview

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Walking and cycling HAI

About

What is covered

This pathway sets out how people can be encouraged and enabled to walk or cycle for travel or recreation purposes (for example, to get to work, school or the shops, or as a means of exploring parks or the countryside).
In the context of this pathway, walking and cycling includes the use of adapted cycles (such as trikes, tandems and handcycles), wheelchairs and similar mobility aids.
Walking and cycling are distinct activities which are likely to appeal to different segments of the population. The factors that help or restrict people from taking part will vary according to whether someone is walking or cycling for transport purposes, for recreation or to improve their health. Wherever the term 'walking and cycling' is used in this pathway, these variations should be kept in mind.
Action is required on many fronts by many different sectors – and a range of issues have to be addressed including environmental, social, financial and personal factors.
The pathway is for commissioners, managers and practitioners involved in physical activity promotion or who work in the environment, parks and leisure or transport planning sectors. They could be working in local authorities, the NHS and other organisations in the public, private, voluntary and community sectors.
In addition, it will be of interest to people who want to walk or cycle.

Updates

Updates to this pathway

8 September 2014 Minor maintenance updates
3 September 2014 Minor maintenance updates
11 March 2014 Minor maintenance updates
27 January 2014 Minor maintenance updates
2 January 2014 Minor maintenance updates
11 June 2013 Minor maintenance updates
7 December 2012 Minor maintenance updates

Health benefits of walking and cycling

Increasing how much someone walks or cycles may increase their overall level of physical activity, leading to associated health benefits. These include:
  • Reducing the risk of coronary heart disease, stroke, cancer, obesity and type 2 diabetes.
  • Keeping the musculoskeletal system healthy.
  • Promoting mental wellbeing.
An increase in walking or cycling can also help:
  • Reduce car travel, leading to reductions in air pollution, carbon dioxide emissions and congestion.
  • Reduce road danger and noise.
  • Increase the number of people of all ages who are out on the streets, making public spaces seem more welcoming and providing opportunities for social interaction.
  • Provide an opportunity for everyone, including people with an impairment, to participate in and enjoy the outdoor environment.

Short Text

This pathway sets out how people can be encouraged to walk or cycle for travel or recreation purposes.

What is covered

This pathway sets out how people can be encouraged and enabled to walk or cycle for travel or recreation purposes (for example, to get to work, school or the shops, or as a means of exploring parks or the countryside).
In the context of this pathway, walking and cycling includes the use of adapted cycles (such as trikes, tandems and handcycles), wheelchairs and similar mobility aids.
Walking and cycling are distinct activities which are likely to appeal to different segments of the population. The factors that help or restrict people from taking part will vary according to whether someone is walking or cycling for transport purposes, for recreation or to improve their health. Wherever the term 'walking and cycling' is used in this pathway, these variations should be kept in mind.
Action is required on many fronts by many different sectors – and a range of issues have to be addressed including environmental, social, financial and personal factors.
The pathway is for commissioners, managers and practitioners involved in physical activity promotion or who work in the environment, parks and leisure or transport planning sectors. They could be working in local authorities, the NHS and other organisations in the public, private, voluntary and community sectors.
In addition, it will be of interest to people who want to walk or cycle.

Updates

Updates to this pathway

8 September 2014 Minor maintenance updates
3 September 2014 Minor maintenance updates
11 March 2014 Minor maintenance updates
27 January 2014 Minor maintenance updates
2 January 2014 Minor maintenance updates
11 June 2013 Minor maintenance updates
7 December 2012 Minor maintenance updates

Sources

NICE guidance

The NICE guidance that was used to create the pathway.
Walking and cycling. NICE public health guidance 41 (2012)

Quality standards

Quality statements

Effective interventions library

Effective interventions library

Successful effective interventions library details

Implementation

Commissioning

These resources include support for commissioners to plan for costs and savings of guidance implementation and meeting quality standards where they apply.
These resources will help to inform discussions with providers about the development of services and may include measurement and action planning tools.

Service improvement and audit

These resources provide help with planning ahead for NICE guidance, understanding where you are now, and conducting improvement initiatives.

Pathway information

Health benefits of walking and cycling

Increasing how much someone walks or cycles may increase their overall level of physical activity, leading to associated health benefits. These include:
  • Reducing the risk of coronary heart disease, stroke, cancer, obesity and type 2 diabetes.
  • Keeping the musculoskeletal system healthy.
  • Promoting mental wellbeing.
An increase in walking or cycling can also help:
  • Reduce car travel, leading to reductions in air pollution, carbon dioxide emissions and congestion.
  • Reduce road danger and noise.
  • Increase the number of people of all ages who are out on the streets, making public spaces seem more welcoming and providing opportunities for social interaction.
  • Provide an opportunity for everyone, including people with an impairment, to participate in and enjoy the outdoor environment.

Supporting information

Glossary

Generally, Dr Bike sessions are basic safety and maintenance checks provided free to the cyclist. They cover topics such as the brakes, steering, mechanical integrity and the overall condition of the bicycle. Minor adjustments are carried out free of charge. Sessions may also include security marking, visibility and cycling tips. They may be provided by local authorities, cycling groups or employers.
Handcycles are two or three-wheeled bikes powered by the arms rather than the legs. They come in a variety of styles which make them suitable for many people with disabilities.
'Local' may refer to an area defined by geography or for administrative purposes. It may comprise an area larger than that covered by a single local authority such as Greater London, Manchester or Merseyside. It may also refer to a housing estate, a small town or a village.
Local enterprise partnerships are led by local authorities and businesses. They provide the vision, knowledge and strategic leadership needed to drive sustainable private sector growth and job creation in their area.
Transport mode refers to the form of transport used (such as by car, lorry, bicycle, public transport or on foot).
Personalised travel planning aims to encourage people to change their travel habits by providing them with detailed information on possible alternatives. People running these schemes provide individuals (usually across a specified geographical area) with information on, and encouragement to use, alternatives to a car for the trips they make.
A portfolio holder is a local authority member with a specific responsibility delegated by the leader of the local authority.
These are competitions where participants log the number of miles they have cycled on their own or as part of a team. The aim is to cycle a predetermined number of miles over a certain time. A target could be, for example, to cycle the number of miles it would take to travel from Lands End to John O'Groats.

Paths in this pathway

Pathway created: November 2012 Last updated: September 2014

© NICE 2014

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