Letters

Cycling and health

BMJ 2000; 321 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.321.7257.386/a (Published 05 August 2000) Cite this as: BMJ 2000;321:386

Doctors should cycle and recommend it to their patients

  1. Richard Evans, ETA Car Free Day co-ordinator ([email protected])
  1. 29 Somerset Avenue, Raynes Park, London SW20 0BJ
  2. Faculty of Health Care Sciences, St George's Hospital Medical School, London, SW17 OQT
  3. CICLOBRASIL Group—Santa Catarina's State University—UDESC, 88085 700 Florianopolis, SC, Brazil Pedala Floripa project
  4. Gadsden State Junior College, Alabama 35904, USA
  5. Edinburgh Homeless Practice, Edinburgh EH1 3AT
  6. 9 Montagu View, Leeds LS8 2RH
  7. Royal Children's Hospital, Brisbane, Queensland 4029, Australia

    EDITOR—Carnall in his editorial is absolutely right about cycling.1 Under the right conditions many more short journeys could be cycled. In some Dutch and Danish towns up to half of all journeys are made by bike; in the United Kingdom it is about 1% or 2% in most towns, with notable exceptions such as York and Cambridge (20%), whose traffic engineers have catered for cyclists.

    Many people say they would cycle more if the roads were safer—the biggest deterrent to more cycling is high traffic speeds and volumes. There is obviously a vicious circle to be reversed here, and it is a shame that Prime Minister Tony Blair passed on his recent opportunity (the government's road safety and speed policy reviews) to introduce a national urban speed limit of 30 km/hour.

    None the less, cycling is a lot safer than it looks: the health benefits outweigh the accident risks, and the average daily cyclist enjoys a degree of fitness equivalent to someone 10 years younger. Doctors would do well to bear this in mind when visited by unfit and overweight patients. Instead of prescribing diets and gym based exercise, they could prescribe walking or cycling, or both, for regular journeys to work, to the shops, or to take the children to school.

    Cycling as part of a daily routine will save you money, save you time (you don't get stuck in the traffic jams), and add years to your life. Doctors should get out and do it more, then recommend it to their patients. Hey, you might even enjoy it!

    References

    1. 1.

    Cyclists endanger pedestrians

    1. Christine Love, senior lecturer orthopaedic nursing ([email protected])
    1. 29 Somerset Avenue, Raynes Park, London SW20 0BJ
    2. Faculty of Health Care Sciences, St George's Hospital Medical School, London, SW17 OQT
    3. CICLOBRASIL Group—Santa Catarina's State University—UDESC, 88085 700 Florianopolis, SC, Brazil Pedala Floripa project
    4. Gadsden State Junior College, Alabama 35904, USA
    5. Edinburgh Homeless Practice, Edinburgh EH1 3AT
    6. 9 Montagu View, Leeds LS8 2RH
    7. Royal Children's Hospital, Brisbane, Queensland 4029, Australia

      EDITOR—I have read Carnall's editorial on cycling with interest.1 I am an advocate of accident prevention as well as health promotion. I abhor the appropriation of space by motorised vehicles and the murder of innocent people by speeding …

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