Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Biking instead of Driving Extends Expected Lifespan - Biking is Safer!

Many people feel safer inside a car than outside on a bike. The sheet metal carapace confers a frame of safety for many people.

However, about 40,000 people a year die in auto crashes.

(Photo: Intro to Smart Cycling on Saturday - Jeff Leach)

Recently, academics at the University of Utrecht assessed life expectancy for bicycling, balancing improvements in fitness against air quality and crash rates.
We quantified the impact on all-cause mortality when 500,000 people would make a transition from car to bicycle for short trips on a daily basis in the Netherlands. We have expressed mortality impacts in life-years gained or lost, using life table calculations. For individuals who shift from car to bicycle, we estimated that beneficial effects of increased physical activity are substantially larger (3–14 months gained) than the potential mortality effect of increased inhaled air pollution doses (0.8–40 days lost) and the increase in traffic accidents (5–9 days lost). Societal benefits are even larger because of a modest reduction in air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions and traffic accidents.

Conclusions: On average, the estimated health benefits of cycling were substantially larger than the risks relative to car driving for individuals shifting their mode of transport.


Obery family said...

Great picture of that cycling class!
A similar study of the health effects of bicycling was presented at Velocity conference. I recall that they were talking "years" of life added rather than "months". Still waiting for the presentation to be released on the conference website. I'll send it when it appears.

Salem Breakfast on Bikes said...

Welcome to the internets! The velocity presentation will be interesting, and it will be interesting to read it!