These are the 12 key reasons I would use to encourage more cycling. Starting with the most obvious one of enjoyment, other health factors include improvements in physical fitness through incorporating exercise as a means of transport, and the often over-looked mental health benefits of cycling.
The other key benefits fall under the headings of personal economic advantages (your wallet), economic advantages of promoting cycling infrastructure and reducing oil dependency, and the local and global environmental benefits.
Are these the most important 12, or would you put other reasons in?
1. Enjoyment (in a safe environment)
2. Physical Fitness (even just a short trip each day).
3. Mental Health (often overlooked, but essential - reduced stress, endorphins)
4. Cycling and walking are the only forms of transport free at point of use*.
5. Free to park (providing secure provision is created - at a cost of just £30 per stand)
6. Bikes are very low cost to buy, employers can subsidise (Boris bikes - later).
7. Cycling infrastructure costs a fraction of urban mass transit or high speed rail.
8. Every mile cycled means less reliance on foreign oil imports.
9. Cycling provision increases access to jobs across the whole city - not bus dependant. Cyclists and walkers also make more frequent trips to local businesses, and spend more overall (less per trip, but more trips!).
10. Reduce air pollution.
11. Cycling is actually carbon positive if burning calories already consumed, as it lowers health costs. Hospitals are incredibly resource intensive!
12. Catering for more walking and cycling can help make the city more pleasant to dwell in, as well as to get around.