One of the many arguments bike share proponents make for these programs are beneficial health outcomes because of increased physical activity. Empirical validation of these programs, however, has so far been scarce.
This, however, is changing. Two studies weighed the potential health benefits of biking – more physical activity – with possible negative effects, such as increased accident risk and exposure to particulate matter. Researchers analyzed the bike sharing programs in Barcelona, which started in 2007, and London’s Cycle Hire program, which started in 2010.
The studies, published in the British Medical Journal, come to the conclusion that the positive effects outweigh the negatives but that the health effects for older users (45 years and up) are comparatively higher than younger users.
So I guess there aren’t really any more excuses. A nifty tool for planning your next health-conscious vacation is this map showing bike share programs world wide – check it out!