June 2016

Cycling & Health : meeting report

Over 100 people came along to our public meeting on cycling and health, with expert speakers on the huge physical activity benefits, the dangers of air pollution and road crashes, and how politics can help maximise the benefits and reduce the downsides.

centrep1 - intro

Click for pdf of our Spokes Bulletin 125 supplement on Cycling & Health

There’s a nice overview of the meeting in this Storify constructed by our main speaker, Professor Chris Oliver, from tweets about the meeting.

Two big lessons emerged early on…

  • The physical activity benefits of getting about by bike greatly outweigh the dangers.  In Scotland there are around 200 road deaths a year, and over 2000 deaths brought on by air pollution.  But, despite this, a middle-aged person who cycles regularly typically enjoys the fitness level of someone 10 years younger, and gains two years in life expectancy.
  • Everyone knows that cycling is healthy – but for most people that is not why they start to use a bike.  In two hands-up votes, everyone thought that cycling is healthy – but only a very few people had taken up cycling for that reason.  Surveys suggest that for most people the immediate fear of a road crash outweighs the much greater, but long-term, health benefits and, indeed, the long-term pollution disbenefits.  Road conditions need to feel safer for  an increasingly wide range of people to have the confidence to use a bike.

Prior to the meeting, Spokes published a Bulletin Supplement on Cycling & Health [click graphic above] with pages supplied by three of the speakers.   This material, together with the presentations, resulted in a very well informed hour of discussion after the speeches, with some very articulate – and gender-balanced – questioning.

Full Resources…

  • Tweeting … please RT our tweet of this report!


1606 PubMtg MMcD CROP

Our Speakers and a selected slide from each.   See above for links to full presentations…

1606 OliverCyclingHealth - title







1606 OliverCyclingHealth - slide netherlands

1606 Emilia Hanna spokes - slide title

1606 Emilia Hanna spokes - slide graph

1606 Jodi Gordon - title






1606 Jodi Gordon - slide 1606 Cammy Day - title 1606 Cammy Day - slide



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