Cycling and health promotion. A safer, slower urban road environment is the key.

BMJ Clinical Research (Impact Factor: 14.09). 05/2000; 320(7239):888. DOI: 10.1136/bmj.320.7239.888
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The consensus that regular physical exercise is a vital part of maintaining health and wellbeing has existed for at least a decade.1 The human body is made to exercise, yet our increasingly motorised existence means that we now walk an average of eight miles less each day than our forebears 50 years ago.2 Cycling has shown a similar decline: in 1949 34% of miles travelled using a mechanical mode were by bicycle; today only 1-2% are.2The car, weighing the best part of a ton and often conveying only one person and a briefcase, is a highly inefficient mode of transport. The fumes cars expel cause appreciable mortality3 and are a major contributor to …

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    ABSTRACT: With the expansion of bicycle usage and limited funding and/or space for segregated pedestrian and bicycle paths, there is a need for traffic, road design and local government engineers to decide if it is more appropriate for space to be shared between either cyclists and pedestrians, or between cars and cyclists, and what restrictions need to be applied in such circumstances. To provide knowledge to aid engineers and policy makers in making these decisions, this study explored death and morbidity data for the state of New South Wales, Australia to examine rates and severity of injury arising from collisions between pedestrians and cyclists, and between cyclists and motor vehicles (MVs). An analysis of the severity of hospitalised injuries was conducted using International Classification of Diseases, Version 10, Australian Modification (ICD-10-AM) diagnosis-based Injury Severity Score (ICISS) and the Disability Adjusted Life Year (DALY) was used to measure burden of injury arising from collisions resulting in death or hospitalisation. The greatest burden of injury in NSW, for the studied collision mechanisms, is for cyclists who are injured in collisions with motor vehicles. Collisions between cyclists and pedestrians also result in significant injuries. For all collision mechanisms, the odds of serious injury on admission are greater for the elderly than for those in other age groups. The significant burden of injury arising from collisions of cyclists and MVs needs to be addressed. However in the absence of appropriate controls, increasing the opportunity for conflict between cyclists and pedestrians (through an increase in shared spaces for these users) may shift the burden of injury from cyclists to pedestrians, in particular, older pedestrians.
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