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Health Club Management

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Opening up more paths to cycling will aid government sport strategy, says NGB

British Cycling has called upon the government to explore the possibility of opening up more public paths to cyclists to boost participation and help deliver on sport strategy outcomes.

Writing a letter to environment secretary Liz Truss and Welsh environment secretary Lesley Griffiths, the national governing body (NGB) said those cycling responsibly should have the same public access to the outdoor places enjoyed by walkers.

According to statistics referenced in the letter, people using bikes only have access to less than a third of the 140,000 miles of public paths in England and Wales and little access to Open Land Access and Coastal Access sites.

British Cycling highlighted the Scottish Land Reform Act – which gives cyclists freedom to more paths north of the border – as “sustainable, manageable and highly beneficial to tourism, health and the economy”.

“We believe that a version of this responsible access model should be explored in England,” the letter continued.

The NGB said such legislation would provide a platform to achieve the desired outcomes of the Sporting Future strategy, such as improving physical and mental wellbeing, social and community development, and economic development.

“There is a clear recognition that different government departments need to work together to create the right conditions for more people to get active,” said British Cycling. The body went on to highlight that one in six deaths are caused by lack of physical activity, while inactivity in general costs the UK economy £7.4bn (US$9.5bn, €8.6bn) a year.

“Our own research shows that nearly one million people who don’t currently ride a bike off-road would like to in future and two-thirds of people say they would like to cycle more if they felt safer and more confident in route-finding,” added the letter, which was signed by British Cycling CEO Ian Drake and Emma Boggis, chief executive of the Sport and Recreation Alliance, among others.

“Taking steps to break down the barriers to participation, encouraging people from all backgrounds and modernising the approach to access and rights of way would provide a real opportunity to deliver the outcomes of the new sports strategy.”

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British Cycling has called upon the government to explore the possibility of opening up more public paths to cyclists to boost participation and help deliver on sport strategy outcomes.
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Debit Finance Collections DFC