Most health and environmental experts would agree that increasing physical activity is good for your health and decreasing the amount of travel time in cars is good for the environment. However, questions have been raised recently as to whether the negative safety and health risks associated with cycling in the urban environment are worth the positive health and environmental benefits.
At the end of last year, the International Transport Forum (ITF) Working Group on Cycling Safety released a report titled, "Cycling, Health and Safety." This report has put forth that the positive benefits of cycling (e.g., increased physical activity, impact on mortality and chronic disease, reduction in carbon emissions from motorized transportation) far outweigh the risks (e.g., crash injury risk to cyclists, health reduction from breathing in polluted air in an urban environment).
The report lends support to the argument for increased investment in cycling (and pedestrian) infrastructure, and provides a range of recommendations for policy makers on the most effective way to invest in active transportation. Among them include "the moderation of some urban road speeds to 30 km/h or less, and the use of separated cycling infrastructure to increase the number of new cyclists, hence reaping the greatest health benefits through increased physical activity, including reducing risks linked to cardiovascular disease, obesity and Type-2 diabetes."
As ICF states, "The report, published at a time when many cities are seeking to increase the share of cycling amidst concerns for safety, shows that the key to delivering overall benefits from cycling is creating a safe system through government policy and city action."
Read the full report here.
For more related info, check out three videos below, which were created by ICF. Enjoy!