A new study has identified that people who regularly cycle to work live longer than those who walk or drive to work. The study took place in New Zealand and demonstrated a 13% reduction in mortality during the period of the research. The study's lead author, Dr Caroline Shaw from the University of Otago, suggested that the reduction is a result of the health benefits of physical activity. The findings are particularly interesting because of the shear scale of the study, involving analysis of the transport habits of 80% of the working age population of New Zealand over a 15 year period.
Another interesting insight is that the researchers found no increase in road traffic injury deaths in either those who walked or cycled to work, despite the New Zealand road systems being heavily biased towards cars (sound familiar?). While this may not help people who think cycling is dangersous overcome their fear, it does provide robust evidence to support the provision of more cycling and walking based infrastructure such as the Greate Manchester Bee Network.
Reference to the study:
Caroline Shaw, Tony Blakely, June Atkinson, Alistair Woodward. Is mode of transport to work associated with mortality in the working-age population? Repeated census-cohort studies in New Zealand 1996, 2001 and 2006. International Journal of Epidemiology, 2020; DOI: 10.1093/ije/dyz257