Cycling for Everyone
Cycling for Everyone

Cycling & Future Proofing Places

In recent years, there has been a growing attention on cycling worldwide. An increasing number of cities are developing strategies to increase levels of cycling. Although many set ambitious goals, progress is often slow and localized. Despite these disparities, the research is clear: cycling is good for people and society as a whole. People who cycle regularly live longer and healthier lives. People also report feeling happier when they travel by bicycle than with any other form of transport.

With an increasing proportion of people living and working in cities, the bicycle represents a practical alternative to the current car-oriented societies in which we live. With the appropriate infrastructure and policies to make cycling attractive, it is possible to reduce and avoid traffic congestion and spend the time saved on more meaningful activities. Because of the small amount of space required, the bicycle is a more efficient way to move people in a constrained urban environment than–for example–by car. Furthermore, as the effects of climate change increase, cycling helps us reduce our impact on the environment. 

Cycling is also beneficial to the economy. A bicycle is cheaper to purchase and maintain than a motor vehicle, which also makes it more equitable. Generally, businesses in areas with higher levels of cycling tend to perform better than more car-oriented areas. 

Taking cycling as a mode of transport seriously, for example, by developing cycle-friendly policies and comprehensive infrastructure makes cycling easier and safer. Investing in cycling benefits not only cyclists, but also other road users–including car drivers–as cities become less congested and polluted.

  • Cycling and walking are the means of transport that have the least impact on the environment. Switching from driving to cycling reduces carbon emissions and improves air quality. Cycling is good for the planet and for quality of life in cities. Did you know?

    • Cycling reduces carbon emissions: compared to cars and buses, the product life-cycle of a bicycle generates minimal carbon emissions.
    • Cycling improves air quality: local air quality improves drastically when switching from cars to bicycles. Switching from car to bicycle reduces nitrous oxide pollution per kilometer traveled by 65 percent.
    • Cycling improves the quality of public space: public space is improved by turning car parking into bike lanes and playgrounds with green areas to improve the local environment. Cycling is silent and helps to reduce traffic noise.
  • Cycling is a low-cost mode of transport for both individuals and society. Cycling requires a lower individual investment than driving a car. Each trip is free and maintenance is minimal. Each kilometer cycled yields a benefit to society whereas each kilometer done by car and public transport generates a cost on society. Did you know?

    • Riding a bicycle costs less: the annual cost of riding a bike is approximately 300 euros whereas the annual cost of driving a car is approximately 8,500 euros.
    • Society benefits from each kilometer cycled: a kilometer covered by bike yields a social benefit of 0.68 euro, whereas cars and buses cost society 0.37 and 0.29 euros per kilometer traveled, respectively.
    • Cyclists spend more: cyclists shop more locally, more frequently, and are more loyal compared to car drivers. Although cyclists spend less per visit on average, they spend more in total because they generally visit more frequently than people driving.
  • Cycling is good for you! Riding a bicycle is a healthy, enjoyable, and low impact source of physical activity for all ages and abilities. Employees who cycle to work are less likely to call in sick. Cycling keeps you fit longer and your immune system strong. In conclusion, cycling contributes to a healthy lifestyle. Did you know?

    • Cycling keeps you in shape: cycling regularly boosts physical fitness and prolongs life expectancy by 3 to 14 months. Cycling 30 minutes every day is equal to the weekly recommended level of physical activity.
    • Cycling prevents serious diseases. Cycling to work every day reduces the risk of serious diseases and depression.
    • Cycling is an easy way to burn calories Cycling is an efficient way to prevent obesity and reduce the incidence of type 2 diabetes.
  • People who cycle to work associate cycling with happiness. Cycling encourages social interactions between different road users. It improves mental health, well-being, and helps reduce stress. Did you know?

    • Cycling is associated with joy: 59% of all cyclists associate cycling with joy and only 2% dislike cycling.
    • Cycling offers freedom to children: Dutch children are the happiest in the world. Cycling allows them to reach destinations safely and gives them the feeling of freedom and independence.
    • Cycling improves quality of life: cycling is associated with convenience, independence, and flexibility.
  • Cities are struggling for space. As the number of residents continual grows, there is increasing competition for a limited amount of public space. Since bicycles take up less space than a car, replacing cars with bicycles frees up space in to create more room for green space and for people to meet each other. Did you know?

    • Cycling creates public space: bicycles take up less space than cars, both for driving and in the amount of space taken up by parking.
    • The bicycle is the easiest means of transportation: within the urban environment, locations are easier to reach by bicycle or a combination of bicycle and public transport than by car.
    • Cycling saves time: no need to search for a parking spot. Within the urban environment, the bicycle is the fastest means of transportation.
  • Policies that improve the safety of walking and cycling create cities safer for pedestrians and cyclists, but more broadly for all road users. Statistically, cyclists are less likely to cause deadly collisions. Did you know?

    • Cycling cities have fewer casualties: cycling cities embrace cycling in their policies and city planning. They build a cycling culture by teaching the future generations to cycle. Cycling cities develop safe cycling infrastructure.
    • Separating cyclists from motorized traffic results in fewer collisions: developing a effective road safety policy reduced annual traffic casualties by 1,600 between 1998 and 2007 in the Netherlands.
    • Lower traffic speeds result in fewer deadly accidents: the likelihood of a deadly accident at speeds 30 km/h or less is approximately 75 percent less than at 50 km/h.
  • Cycling is a democratic mode of transportation. It offers greater mobility to virtually everyone regardless of origin, age, income, or physical ability. The bicycle increases social participation and is an inexpensive solution to transport poverty. Did you know? 

    • Cycling improves access to opportunity: cycling is more affordable than driving a car and allows people to get access to a larger range of options for jobs and activities.
    • Cycling keeps the elderly socially connected: cycling allows the elderly to remain socially active for longer.
    • Cycling increases social interaction: cycling requires social interaction with other road users to mediate traffic flows or to prevent collisions. As a result, cycling is experienced as a social activity.

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Portrait of Margot Daris

Margot Daris

Project Manager

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We have improved cycling happiness for over a decade.

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