People who ride a bike to work are smart, happy and healthy. And that is all scientifically proven! Read on for all eight compelling reasons to take the bike to work.
In Slovenia a new round of bike to work campaign ’Bring Happiness to Work’ has started. In the five years that this ’Pripelji srečo v službo’ project has been running, the number of kilometres, ridden in the month of the project, has grown from a total of 67.542 kilometres to 238.093 kilometres last year. Pripelji srečo v službo, this year part of Cycling Festival Europe, is a project of the Urban Institute of Slovenia and the Embassy of the Netherlands in Slovenia is one of the sponsors.
Slovenia is a small country where the distances are short. Capital Ljubljana, where most people work, is flat and in rush hour traffic is congested. But despite all this, most people still choose the car over the bike when commuting to work. It’s a big difference compared to the Netherlands where plenty of people bike to work ten kilometres or more. The other day I asked a Slovenian friend if he knows someone who bikes to work for ten kilometres or more. My friend, who is a cycling enthusiast himself, looked at me as if I’m from another planet. ,,No, we don’t do that in Slovenia.’’
There are many reasons to ride a bike to work.
As the title of the Slovenian project suggest, cycling makes happy. It is scientifically proven. Daily exercise reduces stress, eases symptoms of depression, reduces anxiety and improves sleep. Also, exercise, like cycling, can boost self-confidence and improve your mood.
Cycling is healthy. It improves cardio-vascular and aerobic fitness, builds muscles, lowers blood pressure and boosts energy. Employers attention! Cycling reduces sick leave and health-care expenditure.
Albert Einstein rode bikes. Daily exercise, and thus a daily bike ride to work can make you smarter. It improves brain performance, improves your learning ability and sharpens your memory. So, for many jobs, cycling makes you a better worker. Who knows, when you start biking to work as an employee you might end up biking to work as the director.
Biking to work can safe lives. If people in all European cities will use the bike just as much as the leading bicycle cities Amsterdam and Copenhagen 10.000 lives would be saved yearly and work for 76.600 people would be created.
Cycling to work can be faster. If the distance is less than five kilometres and the trip is in the city then riding a bike to work is faster then going by car or public transport. Especially if you also count the time that is lost with finding a parking place.
Cycling to work is good for the environment. It doesn’t even need explanation of course that a bike ride is a lot less polluting than a trip by car. In the five years of Bring Happiness to Work the extra kilometres, that were ridden to work, reduced the output of CO2 by 58 million kilo.
When I ask people in Slovenia why they don’t bike to work I often hear they don’t find it safe. But, if more people would go by bike the roads would be safer. A study by the University of New South Wales from 2008 showed that if more people ride a bike, the number of collisions between drivers and bicyclists decreases. Not only because there are fewer cars but also because drivers change their behavior when there are more cyclists on the road. And the safer the roads get, the more people go ride a bike, the safer the roads get, the more people…
In Amsterdam (photo) there are far more bikes in the city than cars. A city where cars are replaced by bikes is much more attractive. More bikes make less pollution and more space in the streets. In one parking place for a car, you can put ten bikes. Imagine if all the bikes in this picture were cars….