Our firm represents many cyclists who have been injured in San Francisco bicycle accidents. So, how can we still encourage commuting by bike? Because, other than bicycle accidents, bicycle commuters have been found to be exponentially healthier than other commuters, and more bicycle riding could help reduce our community’s health care costs substantially. A British study recently found that people who commute by bike are six times more likely to get their 150 minutes of recommended weekly exercise than those who don’t, according to Brunel University in London, England.
We all know that regular exercise is good for you. It keeps you in shape, boosts your energy, improves your sleep, increases your disease fighting capabilities, and has a significant impact on your mental health and overall mood. What if you could get all these health benefits without changing your schedule?
Although most know that cycling is good for you, many picture cyclists as riding hundreds of miles, wearing spandex and flying through steep curves and mountain passes. The truth is, being a casual commuter can be just as good for you in the long run, if not as thrilling as a mountain pass.
With only 70% of adults world-wide reporting some regular amount of weekly physical activities, the Brunel study showed that bicyclists are not only more likely to get their 150 minutes of recommended weekly exercise (even commuters!), but also that they’re more likely to be healthier all around. While the number of people who get the requisite minutes of exercise seems to be dropping each day, bicycle commuters are faring much better.
“People are often put off by the thought of being active for 150 minutes a week, but if this is made part of getting around, it almost becomes hard not to meet the guidelines.” says Glenn Stewart, lead for the study.
Stewart’s work shows that cycling can be a safe, simple, cost effective way to combat what is becoming a growing public health issue.
“We get stories about the National Health Service (NHS) being financially overburdened every week,” Stewart explained. “Seventy per cent of the NHS budget is spent on long-term conditions and 20 to 40 per cent of all long term conditions can be reduced or ameliorated by physical activity. So physical activity is a very good thing. Cycling and active transportation are very good things.”
Stewart notes that federal and local government spending could drop, health costs could plummet,and many could be leading happier, healthier lives if they were to just take up cycling for their regular commute.
And although bicycling is not without its risks, Stewart says the benefits far outweigh the potential concerns:
“Yes, there are risks in terms of collisions and exposure to pollution, but those things statistically are very, very small in comparison with the health benefits that you get from cycling,” adding, “The evidence on pollution is you’re much better off cycling than being in a car.”
And with thousands dying in car crashes every day, cycling seems to be one of the least complicated, easiest solutions to save lives, and stay healthy.
As a San Francisco Bicycle attorney, I am committed to making those who injure cyclists fully accountable. If we make the negligent drivers accountable when they hurt bicycle riders, then we encourage safer driving, and thereby make bicycling safer as well. My hope is to one day make bicycle riding so safe that my services as a San Francisco bicycle accident lawyer will no longer be needed.