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Cycling as a part of daily life: a review of health perspectives


Götschi, Thomas; Garrard, Jan; Giles-Corti, Billie (2016). Cycling as a part of daily life: a review of health perspectives. Transport Reviews, 36(1):45-71.

Abstract

Health aspects of day-to-day cycling have gained attention from the health sector aiming to increase levels of physical activity, and from the transport and planning sector, to justify investments in cycling. We review and discuss the main pathways between cycling and health under two perspectives — generalizable epidemiological evidence for health effects and specific impact modeling to quantify health impacts in concrete settings. Substantial benefits from physical activity dominate the public health impacts of cycling. Epidemiological evidence is strong and impact modeling is well advanced. Injuries amount to a smaller impact on the population level, but affect crash victims disproportionately and perceived risks deter potential cyclists. Basic data on crash risks are available, but evidence on determinants of risks is limited and impact models are highly dependent on local factors. Risks from air pollution can be assumed to be small, with limited evidence for cycling-specific mechanisms. Based on a large body of evidence, planners, health professionals, and decision-makers can rest assured that benefits from cycling-related physical activity are worth pursuing. Safety improvements should be part of the efforts to promote cycling, both to minimize negative impacts and to lower barriers to cycling for potential riders.

Health aspects of day-to-day cycling have gained attention from the health sector aiming to increase levels of physical activity, and from the transport and planning sector, to justify investments in cycling. We review and discuss the main pathways between cycling and health under two perspectives — generalizable epidemiological evidence for health effects and specific impact modeling to quantify health impacts in concrete settings. Substantial benefits from physical activity dominate the public health impacts of cycling. Epidemiological evidence is strong and impact modeling is well advanced. Injuries amount to a smaller impact on the population level, but affect crash victims disproportionately and perceived risks deter potential cyclists. Basic data on crash risks are available, but evidence on determinants of risks is limited and impact models are highly dependent on local factors. Risks from air pollution can be assumed to be small, with limited evidence for cycling-specific mechanisms. Based on a large body of evidence, planners, health professionals, and decision-makers can rest assured that benefits from cycling-related physical activity are worth pursuing. Safety improvements should be part of the efforts to promote cycling, both to minimize negative impacts and to lower barriers to cycling for potential riders.

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6 citations in Web of Science®
3 citations in Scopus®
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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, further contribution
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Prevention Institute (EBPI)
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Uncontrolled Keywords:Bicycling, physical activity, safety, air pollution, impact assessment, health benefits
Language:English
Date:2016
Deposited On:17 Jul 2015 08:33
Last Modified:20 Jul 2016 16:05
Publisher:Taylor & Francis
ISSN:0144-1647
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1080/01441647.2015.1057877
Permanent URL: https://doi.org/10.5167/uzh-111548

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Licence: Creative Commons: Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

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