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Riding a bike is good for our minds and bodies

For employers, having more of your people riding bikes to work, or during the day, means a more alert and healthier workforce. That has the obvious benefits of people being ‘on task’ more at work (improved productivity) and at work more often (fewer days off sick).

Regular cycling has been shown to significantly reduce the risk of serious ill-health from inactive lifestyles, cutting rates of heart and respiratory (cardio-vascular) disease, cancer and Type II diabetes.  

These positive outcomes far outweigh any risk from injury.

Facts and figures

Here are a few facts and figures from recent health-based research:

  • A UK study (2017) of over 250,000 commuters, published in the prestigious British Medical Journal, found regular cycling cut the risk of death from any cause by 41%, and the incidence of cancer and heart disease by 45% and 46% respectively.
  • A New Zealand (University of Auckland) study from 2010 estimated that shifting 5% of vehicle kilometres to cycling the health effects would include avoiding 116 premature deaths annually as a result of increased physical activity and six fewer deaths due to local air pollution from vehicle emissions. On the flip side it did estimate an additional five cyclist fatalities from road crashes.
  • Another NZ study, in 2016 from the University of Otago, indicated that cities with higher levels of active transport (cycling and walking combined) tend to have populations with higher levels of physical activity and lower levels of harm to health from inactivity-related conditions, such as high blood pressure, obesity and diabetes.
  • A Dutch study in 2010 concluded that cycling to work is associated with less sickness absence. It found that cycle commuters take one less sick day than non-cyclists on average, and the more they cycled, the less they reported sick.
  • Over in Australia, a 2015 study from the University of Sydney looked at the risk of injury from cycling. It used a population of over 2,000 cyclists, who collectively reported cycling a total of 682,000 kilometres (in 32,500 hours). It found that the injury rate was only one injury requiring hospital treatment for every 2,000 hours of cycling. And further there were no injuries which required an overnight stay.