Cycling, Cities, and "Well-Being"

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Cycling, Cities, and "Well-Being"

Postby HausFinch » Thu May 24, 2018 10:27 pm

"A Yale-led team of researchers has identified 12 community factors independently related to well-being. The factors included some obvious ones, such as higher levels of education and income, as well as some surprises, including a higher percentage of black residents, a higher percentage of bicycle commuters, and better access to preventive care, such as mammograms. The results appear in the journal PLOS ONE."

This excerpt is from an article on the US NPR website. As a Canberra cycle commuter who can ride 15 kilometres to work without traveling on surface streets, the cycling infrastructure in Canberra, while not perfect, is a huge benefit to my personal sense of well-being. I feel so much less stress when I don't have to look over my shoulder or worry about who might be driving and texting, or texting and driving, behind me. Not to mention looking ahead for car doors opening. Interestingly, though I haven't read the actual study, the correlation is with numbers of cycling commuters, not with cycling infrastructure per se. But one would expect that better infrastructure for cyclists contributes to more cycling commuters. More from the article:

"This could be because places with bike-friendly infrastructure might also support other types of policies that improve living in that area. Or it could be that commuting by bike improves physical health, which in turn improves a sense of well-being; a study in Heart this week showed walking or cycling to work cut the risk of dying from heart disease or stroke by 30 percent."

All cities should be doing what they can to provide safer and more diverse routes for cycling. There are so many people who aren't capable of mixing it up with rush hour car traffic, but they would surely cycle if they didn't feel under threat on the streets.

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