The British Medical Journal published an editorial on April 19, 2017, advising as follows.  The message is hard to miss.

Governments should do all they can to encourage commuters to cycle or walk

Except of course, here in BC, the current Provincial election campaign features no promises containing a hint of a whisper of this thinking.  Instead, we see the major parties competing with each other to out-promise vote-catching bribes to encourage motor vehicle commuters.  “Cities In a Sea of Green” has been supplanted by “Bedroom Suburbs, Commuting in a Sea of Despair and Asphalt”.  Population health and health costs be damned.


Governments should do all they can to encourage commuters to cycle or walk

Physical inactivity increases the risk of many diseases such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and some cancers.1 Many adults are not attracted to sports and other leisure time physical activities but may be motivated to integrate physical activity into their everyday lives. Commuting by walking and cycling are such activities. In Denmark, cycling is embedded in the national culture for two reasons: it is easier to navigate cities by bicycle than by car, and taxation on new cars is punitive.

A link between cycling and health benefits has been clear for some years — my colleagues and I first reported in 2000 that all cause mortality was 30% lower in cyclists compared with non-cyclists after multivariate adjustment.2 Since then, many studies have consistently reported lower rates of cardiovascular disease,34 type 2 diabetes,5 cancers,4 and mortality6 associated with cycling compared with not cycling. Other studies have shown that walking is also associated with health benefits, including a lower risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and all cause mortality.7  . . . .  

. . .  The findings from this study are a clear call for political action on active commuting, which has the potential to improve public health by preventing common (and costly) non-communicable diseases. A shift from car to more active modes of travel will also decrease traffic in congested city centres and help reduce air pollution, with further benefits for health.

Thanks to Kay Teschke for the link.