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Bike hire schemes may save lives

A study on the Barcelona bike hire scheme suggests averted carbon emissions saves 12 lives each year

London's bike hire scheme has many benefits, some widely acknowledged, others less so. But could it be saving lives by decreasing air pollution?

Researchers studying the Barcelona bike hire scheme – known as Bicing – found that the cyclists had helped to avert 9,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide pollution, which they believe has saved more than 12 lives each year the scheme has operated.

The Spanish-led research team found that for those using the Bicing scheme there was an estimated 0.03 extra cyclists' deaths each year from traffic accidents and an extra 0.13 cyclists' deaths from air pollution compared with an overall saving of 12.48 lives through the benefits of physical activity. This study did not provide a calculation for the lives saved in the non-cycling population but it stands to reason that they would also benefit from the improved air quality.

Article by stands for the Guardian, 5/8/11.


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