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After years of decline in usage and image in the Western world from the 1950s onwards, the bicycle is now emerging as a centre of interest for many researchers, policymakers, practitioners and advocacy groups in the health and environmental fields. The proportion of journeys taken by bicycle still varies greatly, from around 1% to 2% in the US up to 30% in The Netherlands. In the past decade, bicycle promotion policies have begun to flourish in Europe and North America, in particular the highly popular city bike sharing programs as seen in Paris, London or Barcelona.
The increasingly recognised benefits of cycling are driving the support for such initiatives.1 Cycling as a means of transportation facilitates the integration of healthy physical activity habits into daily routines, and has been shown to promote such benefits as cardiovascular health, fitness and healthy weight status.2 3 As an alternative to motorised transportation, the bicycle can also contribute to improving air quality, lowering greenhouse gas emissions and reducing congestion. Other quality of life, health and environmental benefits may also accrue from policies and transport interventions that promote …
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Competing interests None.
Provenance and peer review Commissioned; not externally peer reviewed.