As a number of polls have shown, Danes – and Copenhageners in particular – are some of the most dedicated cyclists in the world.
However, a new study published in Preventive Medicine shows that cycling could save thousands of lives every year in other cities around Europe.
As part of the PASTA (Physical Activity through Sustainable Transport Approaches) project, the Barcelona institute for global health, ISGlobal, looked at the connection between the number of available cycle paths and the number of people cycling.
Using data from 167 European cities, they found that adequate cycle paths alone can get up to 24.7 percent of a city’s population to cycle to and from work, reports Videnskab.dk.
If all the cities in Europe followed suit, that would prevent around 10,000 deaths annually due to the health benefits accrued from cycling.
Denmark in the forefront
Copenhagen is particularly far advanced in terms of catering to cyclists. According to the latest figures from the Danish road directorate, Vejdirektorat, 45 percent of Copenhageners cycle to and from work or their place of study.
“This is the first study that has evaluated the potential connection between the length of the cycle network, cyclists and health advantages in a number of European cities,” said Natalie Mueller, the primary author of the report.
“[The advantages] outweigh the harmful effects of air pollution and traffic accidents,” she added.
The study concluded that the three cities that could potentially save the most lives per year through improved provisions for cyclists were London, Rome and Barcelona.