Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Health benefits of cycling through the city are greater than risks

Despite all of the dangers cyclists face in traffic, it is still considerably healthier to leave the car at home and to commute by bicycle instead. That is the conclusion of a new study conducted by Utrecht University’s Institute for Risk Assessment Sciences (IRAS) and the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (PBL). Driving less improves the individual cyclist’s health. The advantages of cycling weigh up against the possible health risks, such as traffic accidents or the inhalation of fine particles.  The researchers came to this assessment by calculating the health effects resulting from using a bicycle instead of a car for short distances. Using the results of a previous study on physical activity, they calculated that cycling would result in an increase in life expectancy of three to 14 months. “Encouraging people to walk or cycle a little each day would generally result in a better physical condition. “The advantages for the community are greater than those for the individual cyclist. Riding a bicycle instead of driving a car for short trips reduces the emission of dangerous substances, which in turn means that others will inhale less polluted air”. “Motor vehicles are also often the cause of fatal accidents involving cyclists and pedestrians.” Read more here.