New figures released today show that the 2014 Pedal for Scotland event was worth £1.05 million to the economy. On top of this direct economic benefit, there was an additional £1 million to £2 million annual health economic benefit stemming from the fact that thousands of participants cycled throughout the year in preparation for, or as a result of, the event.
The direct £1.05 million economic benefit stems from a range of sources including participant spend on food and drink, accommodation, transport and purchase of cycling equipment. The health economic benefit of between £1 million and £2 million is the financial value of lives saved due to the reduced death rate of those who have started cycling more regularly. In addition to the health economic benefit, the increased levels of regular cycling by participants could lead to fewer cases of Type 2 diabetes, Coronary Heart Disease, stroke and depression.
Research has shown that, in Scotland, physical inactivity contributes to approximately 2,500 deaths per year and costs the NHS at least £94million annually.
Transport Minister Derek Mackay said: “The economic benefits of the annual Pedal for Scotland event are clear to see with over £1million drawn in transport, accommodation and cost of cycle equipment in 2014 alone. This figure is increased even further by health economic benefits of up to £2 million as more people cycle throughout the year.
“Over 10,000 people will take part in Pedal for Scotland in September this year. Whether it’s for health reasons or for fun, they are embracing a more active and healthy lifestyle and we want to encourage even more people to follow their lead, making active travel part of Scottish life. That is why we invested a record £40m in active travel last year and I have committed to at least matching, if not increasing, that figure this year.”
In addition to the economic and health benefits, Pedal for Scotland participants annually raise thousands of pounds for charity. In 2014, Pedal for Scotland participants raised over £110,000 for the official charity partner the STV Children’s Appeal. The funds raised for the STV Children’s Appeal are then matched by the Scottish Government and every penny raised is spent in Scotland, making a real difference to the lives of children affected by poverty.
In September 2014, over 10,000 people from all across the country took part in Pedal for Scotland events. The events took place across the country with the events visit communities in Glasgow, North Lanarkshire, Falkirk, West Lothian, Edinburgh, South Lanarkshire and Aberdeen.
Although most took part in the Classic Challenge ride that goes from Glasgow to Edinburgh, 70% of participants hail from outside the two cities – some coming from as far afield as Shetland – so the health and economic benefits of taking part and cycling more regularly span across Scotland.
Keith Irving, Chief Executive of Cycling Scotland, the event’s organiser, said: “With over 10,000 people taking part, Pedal for Scotland is the nation’s biggest bike event and this economic and health impact data demonstrate its importance. The range of Pedal for Scotland rides – from 4 miles to 110 miles – are designed so anyone, of any age or ability has an opportunity to enjoy cycling. Cycling Scotland are focused on ensuring that more people can enjoy all the benefits of cycling regularly throughout the year whether to work, school, the shops or for leisure. ”
Pedal for Scotland 2015 will take place between 5th , 6th and 13th September, with rides for all ages and abilities in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen. Register online at www.pedalforscotland.org.