Why Bike?

Besides being fun and enjoyable, bicycle commuting has many benefits from the pocket book to the environment.

Health Benefits

2008 Bike to Work Day

  • Heart -  Cycling reduces the risk of serious conditions such as heart disease, high blood pressure, obesity and the most common form of diabetes.1,2,3 One study found that new cyclists covering short distances can reduce their risk of death (mainly due to the reduction of heart disease) by as much as 22 percent.4
  • Weight Management - Cycling burns about 300 calories an hour (equivalent to a chocolate bar).5 This type of cycling also fulfils the latest exercise targets: mild to moderate physical activity that leaves us out of breath for at least 30 minutes five times a week.
  • Mood - Moderate exercise has been found to reduce levels of depression and stress, improve mood, raise self-esteem and relieve premenstrual symptoms.6,7
  • Strength and Coordination - Cycling builds strength and coordination which reducing injuries from falls.7,8,9 Physically active older people have far fewer rates of hip fractures.7

Economic Benefits

  • The cost of operating a sedan for one year is approximately $7,800 (AAA, Your Driving Costs).
  • According to 2004 data from AAA estimates and US Census surveys, ownership of one motor vehicle accounts for more than 18 percent of a typical household's income.
  • The cost of operating a bicycle for a year is only $120 (League of American Bicyclists). 

Environmental Benefits

  • Motor vehicle emissions represent 31 percent of total carbon dioxide, 81 percent of carbon monoxide, and 49 percent of nitrogen oxides released in the U.S. (The Green Commuter, A Publication of the Clean Air Council).
  • 60 percent of the pollution created by automobile emissions happens in the first few minutes of operation, before pollution control devices can work effectively. Since "cold starts" create high levels of emissions, shorter car trips are more polluting on a per-mile basis than longer trips (League of American Bicyclists).
  • A short, four-mile round trip by bicycle keeps about 15 pounds of pollutants out of the air we breathe (WorldWatch Institute).

References:

  1. Carnall D. Cycling and health promotion. A safer, slower urban road environment is the key. BMJ 2000; 320: 888.
  2. Mersy DJ. Health benefits of aerobic exercise. Postgrad Med 1991; 90: 103-7 and 110-2.
  3. Kelley GA. Effects of Aerobic exercise in normotensive adults: a brief meta analytic review of controlled clinical trials. South Med J 1995; 88: 42-46.
  4. Mersy DJ. Health benefits of aerobic exercise. Postgrad Med 1991; 90: 103-7 and 110-2.
  5. Scully D, Kremer J, Meade MM et al. Physical exercise and psychological wellbeing. In MacAuley D (Ed.) Benefits and hazards of exercise. London: BMJ Books 1999.
  6. Fentem PH. ABC of sports medicine. Benefits of exercise in health and disease. BMJ 1994; 308: 1291-5.
  7. Joakimsen RM, Magnus JH, Fonnebo V. Physical activity and predisposition for hip fractures: a review. Osteoporosis Int 1998; 7: 503-13.
  8. Rank J, Folke J, Jespersen PH. Differences in cyclists and car drivers exposure to air pollution from traffic in the city of Copenhagen. Sci Total Environ 2001; 279: 131-6.
  9. Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions. A new deal for transport: Better for everyone. Chapter 2 Sustainable transport. Published 20 July 1998.