Cycling & walking – key publications

The potential of non-motorised transport for promoting health in The Greening of Urban Transport (ed. Rodney Tolley), John Wiley and Sons, 1997

The links between policy on transport and health have also been the subject of several research studies. These have highlighted the positive role that walking and cycling can play in health promotion and pressed the case in subsequent conference papers for giving pride of place in the mechanised transport hierarchy going well beyond simply treating them as modes of transport deserving more consideration in the allocation of public resources. Evidence based on these was first given to a House of Commons Select Committee Inquiry on Preventive Medicine in 1976.

Cycle helmets: the case for and against Policy Studies Institute, 1993

This study of the international evidence on helmet wearing, including its contribution to limiting head injury following a collision on the road and to altering behaviour, concluded that it should not be made mandatory. Where a law on this has been introduced in other countries it has led to a significant reduction in cycling, with a likely adverse outcome in terms of the promotion of public health as cycling represents an ideal means for maintaining fitness with wide benefits both for personal and public health. Cycle helmets are a secondary and not a primary means of reducing head injury. Helmet wearing does nothing to prevent accidents. The primary means of reducing serious head injury among cyclists is to create an environment in which accidents are less likely to occur.

Cycling: Towards Health and Safety BMA, Oxford University Press, 1992

This report, commissioned by and published in the name of the British Medical Association, examined all aspects of cycling in relation to health. It established that, in spite of the hostile environment in which most cyclists currently ride, the benefits in terms of health promotion and longevity far outweigh the loss of life years in injury on the roads. To derive these and many other benefits, it called for more emphasis to be placed on cycling and highlighted the fact that people are more likely to do so regularly if cycles are used as a form of transport rather than a recreational activity. For the great majority of the population, cycling as part of the routine of daily travel from childhood through to old age has the potential for improving fitness in a way that, given proper provision for it in the form of safe cycle networks, cannot be matched by any other comparable exercise regime.

Pedestrians crossing roads on sleeping policemen in The Book of Visions: An Encyclopedia of Social Innovations (eds. Nicholas Albery), 1992

The concept of road intersections raised to pavement level to create an uninterrupted pedestrian network consisting of linked pavements to give priority to pedestrians was put forward. Evidence from the UK and the Continent shows that drivers have to reduce their speed sharply to mount road humps and that they drive slowly and considerately when traversing paved areas. Whilst drivers would incur a few seconds’ delay at each pedestrian crossing, this new arrangement would ensure greater convenience for people getting about on foot as well as, of course, making it much safer for them. It would also give parents concerned about the risk of injury in a road accident the confidence to permit their children to make the school and other journeys on their own which they have been losing at an alarming rate.

Walking is Transport (with Anne Whalley), Policy Studies Institute, 1979

Analysis of successive National Travel Survey data sets revealed the significance of walking in daily life and the lack of attention paid to it in public policy. This PSI report called for “the incorporation of all aspects of walking (and for similar reasons, cycling too) into the consciousness of policy-makers and practitioners, and to assess comprehensively the role that the play, and could play in meeting transport needs”. It concluded that non-motorised modes should be included in tests of social, environmental, financial and energy performance, and judged on the same criteria as the motorised modes.

Design of First Pedestrian-Oriented New Town in the UK (with Jonas Lehrman), 1956

The plans and raison d’être for a new town giving priority to pedestrians over mechanised transport users were published in the Architects’ Journal, May 1957, and in the same year in two international journals. The plans were conceived as an architectural unity with a truly compact urban environment. The stated aim was to provide the right conditions for a healthier and better way of life in which social and cultural life for present and future generations would flourish.