The bike health benefits “far outweigh the associated risks,” according to the work published in the Health Monitoring Institute (Invs), French organ competent in matters of public health.

In the context of a European research program, a study was conducted by the French researcher Audrey Nazelle (attached to the Imperial College of London) on the Barcelona metropolitan area which has 3.2 million inhabitants.

It assessed the overall impact on the health of a reduction in car journeys in favor mode of “active” movements: cycling, walking and public transport.

Several scenarios were studied, including the impact of the introduction in 2007 of a municipal self-service bikes on certain health problems: cardiovascular disease, dementia, type 2 diabetes, cancers breast and colon.

This system has “enabled, increasing physical activity of individuals, saving 12 lives per year against an increase of 0.03 deaths per year due to traffic accidents and 0 13 deaths per year related to greater inhalation of pollutants, “according to the study.

In addition, the practice of cycling and walking benefits the general population of a city by reducing the level pollution, the study said. For example “commissioning of bicycle sharing system in Barcelona led to a reduction in CO2 emissions, estimated at 9,000 tons each year.”

However, the health benefits of the general population an air a little cleaner are “much less than the benefits associated with physical activity” cycling and walking for those who practice them, says this work.

Between 2 and 15% transport is cycling in major French cities, according to the “National Cycling Plan” 2012. In some European cities like Amsterdam, this rate exceeds 20%.