Saturday, December 5, 2009

Bike news around the world

A couple of bike-related articles caught our eye recently. Dc.Streetsblog and others mentioned a series of papers in the medical journal The Lancet entitled Cutting carbon, improving health (registration required). Articles include a discussion of climate change and the impact on people's health in the future.

In the paper Public health benefits of strategies to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions: urban land transport, researchers estimated "...the health effects of alternative urban land transport scenarios for two settings—London, UK, and Delhi, India." They compared doing nothing with using low-emission vehicles vs. increased active travel (bicycling, walking). They concluded that a
"...combination of active travel and lower-emission motor vehicles would give the largest benefits, notably from a reduction in the number of years of life lost from ischaemic heart disease (10—19% in London, 11—25% in Delhi).

Increase in the distances walked and cycled would also lead to large health benefits. Largest health gains would be from reductions in the prevalence of ischaemic heart disease, cerebrovascular disease, depression, dementia, and diabetes.
In another climate change-related article, a recent post by Biking Bis, How bicyclists are trying to make an impact on climate conference in Copenhagen, summarizes how bicyclists are trying to influence the UN Climate Change Conference that begins next week in Copenhagen. There's a link to an article in the NY Times, Danes Showcase Cycling Culture Ahead of Copenhagen Summit
The Danish government is taking advantage of the United Nations climate summit next week in its capital, Copenhagen, to promote it as a City of Cyclists. "Whatever the outcome of Copenhagen will be, the success of the fight against global warming depends on the efforts that all of us will be making as individuals," Joergen Molde, the Danish ambassador to Belgium, said on Tuesday.

"Using your bike going to work is one such small effort that you can make," Mr. Molde said, noting that about half of the commuters in Copenhagen used their bikes to get to their jobs.

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