Cycling surge in Chesterfield provides £6m boost to town's economy
An increase in the number of people cycling in Chesterfield has provided a £6m boost to the town’s economy, according to a new survey.
Chesterfield Cycle Campaign (CCC) says the estimated benefits include health savings for the NHS through avoided serious illnesses as well as business help from the reduction in congestion.
Since the start of the pandemic there has been a major increase in cycling in Chesterfield.
New government statistics show that from November, 2019 to November, 2020 more than 5,000 additional Chesterfield residents cycled at least once a month compared with the same period in the previous year.
Around 9,400 people, or 18 per cent of the population, now cycle at least once a month in the town.
Derbyshire County Council has also agreed the route of a new multi-million pound east to west cycling superhighway across Chesterfield which is expected to boost cycling even further.
CCC secretary Alastair Meikle said: “Given the many benefits of increased cycling, building cycle routes offers excellent value for money.”
Some of the specific benefits for Chesterfield associated with the current levels of cycling include preventing around two premature deaths per year, 44 serious illnesses avoided a year, including 16 hip fractures, 13 cases of dementia, and six cases of coronary heart disease, and nearly one million vehicle kilometres not driven each year.
A CCC spokesperson said: “These benefits can be monetised to provide an estimate that, overall, cycling in Chesterfield contributes nearly £6m in health and congestion benefits.
"This does not include the benefits from cleaner air, or reduced carbon emissions.
"Cycling is not only good for health it is good for the local economy and there is evidence that building bike infrastructure is one of the most effective ways of creating jobs, with an estimated 33 jobs created for every £1m investment.”
The new path through Chesterfield will take cyclists and pedestrians from the A619 junction with Holymoor Road, along Chatsworth Road and the existing Hipper Valley Trail, through Queen’s Park, past the train station and to the hospital and beyond by using Crow Lane and Wetlands Lane.
The CCC has welcomed the reduction in the speed limit and a protected cycling path along Chatsworth Road as a ‘step change for cycle infrastructure in Chesterfield’.