Free-to-use cycle provision schemes have potential to encourage cycling and reduce inequalities

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Abstract

Introduction: Cycling is an accessible, cheap way of incorporating health-promoting physical activity into everyday routines. One approach to facilitate engagement is to provide cycles through population-level approaches, such as commercial bike share schemes. However, these may increase health inequalities. An alternative is delivering cycle provision through not-for-profit and targeted schemes. However, there is a lack of peer-reviewed evidence on what comprises successful design and implementation.

Methods: An evaluation of two not-for-profit cycle provision schemes in Norfolk, England, is conducted: The Cycle Loan Scheme (CLS) aimed at the general population, and Welcome Wheels (WW) for refugees/asylum seekers. Quantitative measures assess the extent to which the schemes recruited and engaged groups of need (non-cyclists, women, over 55 years-of-age, living in deprived areas, not White British). Baseline and follow-up surveys established cycling frequency (absolute and change), and motivators, benefits, and barriers to taking part. Responses were compared across groups of need.

Results: At baseline, 87% of the 613 CLS participants were from a group of need, whilst 100% of WW participants (n=214) were. At follow-up, CLS participants (n=413) reported cycling a median of 5.5 hours a week (15 reported zero hours), an increase of 3.5 hours from baseline. Non-cyclists were less likely to engage than cyclists. WW participants (n=65) cycled a median five days per week at follow-up (all reported some cycling), an increase for 92%. Females were less likely to engage than males; all non-cyclists increased their cycling compared to 44% existing cyclists. Benefits of and barriers to engagement varied according to group of need.

Conclusions: Cycle provision schemes have potential to reduce health inequalities by encouraging cycling, particularly when tailored to need and local context, and when interventions are delivered by non-profit, community embedded organisations.

Application: A novel intervention framework is proposed to guide targeted interventions.
Original languageEnglish
Article number101391
JournalJournal of Transport and Health
Volume26
Early online date21 May 2022
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 21 May 2022

Keywords

  • Health inequalities
  • cycling
  • active travel
  • Behavior change interventions
  • bike share
  • Intervention
  • Cycling
  • Active travel
  • Bike share
  • Behaviour change intervention

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