Benefits of biking to work appear to outweigh risks

The benefits of biking to work appear to outweigh the risks, according to Walter Willett, professor of epidemiology and nutrition at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and a longtime bicycle commuter.

He was commenting in a June 15, 2017 Harvard Health blog on a recent Scottish study that found bike commuters had a lower risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD), cancer, or death from any cause during the five-year study period compared to those who took a car or public transportation to work. Walking also was linked to a lower CVD risk.

“The benefits of regular physical activity are well documented, but there have been concerns that traffic crashes may negate the benefits from commuting by bicycle,” said Willett. “This study is important because it confirms, with a much larger sample size, previous findings from other countries. Moreover, it shows that the benefits strongly outweigh the risks.”

If traffic or road conditions make it unsafe to bicycle to work, Willett urged residents to contact officials to request safe, convenient bike paths and secure bike parking facilities.

Read the Harvard Health blog article: Biking to work linked to reduced risk of heart disease, cancer, and early death

Learn more

Urban Cycling Safety Tips (Harvard Longwood Bicyclists)

Bicycling, brisk walking help women control weight  (Harvard Chan press release)

How can we make biking safer and easier? (This Week in Health podcast)

Biking on cycle tracks safer than cycling in the road  (Harvard Chan news)