BICYCLING ENCOURAGES POSITIVE HEALTH AND SAFETY EFFECTS
Investing in cycling creates far-reaching benefits for society. Moving Beyond Zero was established on the belief that we can do better than reduce traffic-related fatalities and injuries to zero: traffic can provide significant health benefits to its users, allowing people to enjoy longer, healthier, happier lives.
One in four persons in the EU suffers from a mental health condition during their lifetime. Cycling’s contribution to better cardiovascular health delays dementia. Cycling can improve brain function and mental health. It also helps counter cognitive declines including memory, executive function, visuospatial skills, and processing speed in normally aging adults. The estimated value contributed by cycling to mental health across the EU is EUR 30 billion.
Cycling to school and for recreation at a young age contributes to life-long benefits. Cycling helps meet the objective of halting the rise of obesity in children and young people. Cycling brings health and social benefits for families.
Increasing the number of people cycling can also affect safety on the road in a positive sense. Researchers and observers argue that encouraging people to cycle can also improve road safety for all users, and that a motorist is less likely to collide with a person walking or cycling when there are a greater number of people walking or cycling – the so-called ‘safety in numbers’ effect. It is important to understand whether this is indeed a behavioural effect of drivers being more aware or if it is a consequence of a more bicycle friendly infrastructure that boosts numbers and safety.
The health benefits of cycling outweigh the safety risks by a factor of 20 to one
Cyclists on average live two years longer than non-cyclists and take 15% fewer days off work due to illness
An adult who cycles regularly will typically have a level of fitness equivalent to being 10 years younger
Countries with the highest levels of cycling and walking generally have the lowest obesity rates
Cycling has a positive effect on emotional health – improving levels of well-being, self-confidence and tolerance to stress while reducing fatigue, sleep disorders and a range of medical symptoms
People who commute by bicycle experience a mortality rate 28% below the population average
those who consistantly commuted by bicycle over a one year period self-reported a lower BMI than those who never cycled to work