Bike sharing boosts fitness, environment, study suggests

Public Bikes in Spain

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends adults should do at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise a week and says this could be done by walking for 30 minutes five times per week, or by cycling to work every day.

AUGUST 6, 2011

Public bicycle sharing schemes such as Barcelona’s Bicing program or London’s Boris Bikes save lives and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, according to a study released Friday.

Bike schemes are becoming increasingly popular in cities around the world, with more than 360 already running, but their main aim is usually to ease congestion rather than boost health.

Researchers at the Center for Research in Environmental Epidemiology in Barcelona found in a study, however, that around 9,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide pollution are averted and some 12 lives saved each year by Barcelona’s scheme, which was introduced in March 2007.

“Active transport policies such as bike-sharing systems promote physical activity among the population and are a good means to improve public health and also reduce expenses in public health services,” said David Rojas-Rueda, whose study was published in the British Medical Journal.

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