UTRECHT, Netherlands, June 30 (UPI) — Dutch researchers found cycling is healthier than driving, despite the increased risk of a cyclist’s injury and exposure to car exhaust.
Jeroen Johan de Hartog of the Utrecht University and colleagues did an integrated health risk assessment of cycling versus driving and concluded cyclists may breath in more car exhaust fumes more deeply and face more serious injury, but they are healthier than those taking cars due to their increased exercise.
The study, published online ahead of print in Environmental Health Perspectives, suggested not only does the health of the individual cyclist improve as he or she drives less and exercises more, the resulting reduction in exhaust emissions benefit the whole community.
“The promotion of walking and cycling is a promising way to increase physical activity across the population by integrating it into daily life,” the study authors said in a statement.
The study estimated the health impacts if 500,000 Dutch people ages 18-64 were to switch from driving to cycling one round trip daily.
The researchers estimated that in the Netherlands the health benefits of cycling are at least nine times greater than the hazards, with the average person who switches to cycling living 3-14 months longer, while potentially losing 0.8-40 days of life due to increased exposure to air pollution and an average of 5-9 days due to fatal traffic accidents.
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