In the U.S., cities like Washington D.C., Minneapolis and Boulder have received national attention for their bike share programs. It seems like the movement is gaining momentum as the positive effects pop up: reduced carbon emissions, money saved and increased physical activity for commuters. Just yesterday, our athlete Nitish Nag posted about how cycling can protect you from heart disease and today we stumbled across a study in Barcelona shows that their bike sharing program is actually saving lives. Check it out.
According to a study published earlier this summer by the British Medical Journal, a successful and widely used bike sharing program in Barcelona prevents 12 deaths a year.
Barcelona started its bike sharing program, Bicing, in 2007. Two years later, more than 180,000 citizens had enrolled: a full 11 percent of the city population. Since many of the people who participated in the program were likely new bikers transitioning from driving, the BMJstudy examined the net impacts on public health resulting from a significant citywide shift to biking from driving. The researchers measured the health outcomes and mortality risk associated with changes in residents’ amount of physical activity, chance of accidental injury, and exposure to air pollution.
Crunching data provided by the city of Barcelona and Bicing’s management company, the researchers determined that despite increased risk of injuries and exposure to air pollution from biking (yes, even cycling has some negative health effects), the increased physical activity still decreased the death rate.
Now how’s that for proof that you should ditch your car and ride your bike. It just might save your life!
Every Wednesday on Ditch Your Car we’ll be bringing you just another reason to spend more time on two wheels. Be it a photo, a statistic or an inspirational video, we want to keep reminding you about why riding is great!