New research backs bikes as most beneficial form of transport

August 17th, 2018

A new international study has found bike riding is the most beneficial form of transport for physical and mental health and social interaction.

The study of about 9000 people found bicycle use was associated with good self-perceived health, lower perceived stress, better mental health, higher vitality, and fewer feelings of loneliness – while higher frequency of car and public transport use was associated with poor self-perceived health.

Bicycle Queensland CEO, Anne Savage, said the findings contributed to the overwhelming body of evidence that cycling was one of the most effective ways to improve overall population health and social outcomes.

“This study highlights the effectiveness of bike riding in improving population health and well-being, and strengthens our mandate to get Queensland cycling,” she said.

“This is a ground-breaking study for its scale and significance, spanning seven major cities to underpin previous evidence that bike riding reduces isolation, improves physical health, enhances psychosocial wellness and quality of life, and enables social mobility and harmony.

“Cycling has also proven time and again to build social confidence, spatial awareness, independence, and road safety behaviours, improving cognitive skills and fostering active habits for life.

“Notably, the researchers have backed other international experts in recommending bike riding be encouraged on a population-wide scale and supported by the integration of healthy travel promotion in urban design principles, transport planning, and public health strategies.

“This study provides a compelling argument that policy makers would be wise to develop policies that promote active transport and increase awareness that transport must look beyond mobility to consider population health and human development.”

Ms Savage said healthy travel was among the most viable ways for Queensland to improve population fitness and reduce rates of obesity.

“Our goal is to increase the number of weekly cyclists in Queensland from 800,000 today to over 1,000,000 by 2020 – building a healthier, happier community in the process,” Ms Savage said.

“We look forward to sharing these findings with policy makers and government in order to inspire more Queenslanders to get on their bikes.

The research findings also highlighted the importance of investing in a bicycle-friendly future.

“We welcome this latest expert insight confirming that the creation of cycle-friendly streets is critical to population health and wellbeing,” Ms Savage said.

“We all have a role to play in creating a healthier, happier future for Queensland and ensuring that our transport systems promote public health and wellbeing through encouragement of healthy travel.

“This research provides us with another opportunity to foster policies and strategies which actively encourage bike riding for people of all ages and abilities.

“Notably, the study urges policy makers to strongly invest in the development of a culture of cycling, calling us to create a new promise to the community by prioritising investments in healthy travel.

“Riding a bike is one of the best ways to feel good and improve health and fitness.

“We want to encourage all Queenslanders to cycle for sport, for fun, to socialise, and to experience our culturally diverse community and natural environment.

“Bike riding has so much to offer – it’s a great way to harness community development, nurture versatility and creativity, and strengthening our connection with each other and the environment.

“We look forward to harnessing these insights to get Queensland cycling,” Ms Savage said.

ENDS.

To access the research paper, please follow the link below.

https://www-sciencedirect-com.ezproxy.library.uq.edu.au/science/article/pii/S016041201831314X
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