16 January 2018

European cities could avoid up to 10,000 premature deaths by expanding cycling networks

A study published in ‘Preventive Medicine’ has found that expanding designated cycling networks in cities could provide considerable health and economic benefits.

The analysis, part of European Commission funded Physical Activity through Sustainable Transport Approaches (PASTA) project, of data from 167 European cities suggests that the length of cycling infrastructures is associated with a cycling mode share of up to 24.7 percent, in which 1 in every 4 citizens would choose the bicycle for their daily commuting.

The study, estimates that if all the assessed cities achieved a 24.7 percent bicycle mode share, over 10,000 premature deaths could be avoided annually.

“This is the first study evaluating the potential associations between cycling network length, mode share and associated health impacts across European cities”, states Natalie Mueller, ISGlobal researcher and first author of the paper.

The health impact assessment conducted showed that a routine shift in the transport mode to cycling is positive for health due to the associated increase in physical activity, “whose benefits outweigh detrimental effects of air pollution and traffic incidents”, adds Mueller.

For more information and to read the press release in full, click here.