A cycling-on-prescription scheme trialled in West Yorkshire has proved so successful that it is now ready to be rolled out across the UK, according to its local government funders.
Over the last four years, 1,000 people with long-term physical or mental health conditions have been referred to the scheme - which is paid for by the West Yorkshire Combined Authority (WYCA) - from the region's GPs, hospitals and charities.
The aim is to help patients achieve NHS activity guidelines of 150 minutes per week – a level now being achieved by 73% of participants.
The initiative originated within the WYCA's CityConnect programme, which has overseen some £60m of spending on cycling and walking schemes across the region.
Transport committee chair Cllr Kim Groves said: 'Two-thirds of journeys made by West Yorkshire residents are of under five miles. Yet, according to data from the last census, although 11% of journeys to work are already made on foot, just 1.3% are by bike.
'Again, Public Health England estimates that one in 20 deaths in our region are attributable to air pollution. The case for making more of our journeys by bike and on foot has never been stronger'.
Funded by a Department for Transport’s Cycle City Ambition Grant, CityConnect has already created the Leeds to Bradford cycle superhighway, and a string of canal towpath upgradings.
National charity Cycling UK reports interest from in other areas including Manchester and is keen to see the scheme go national.