Dutch bikers live six months longer than non-bikers

The Dutch habit of riding bicycles means that they live 6 months longer than the non-biking world population. Biking also prevents 1 thousand deaths in the Netherlands each year.

This is according to a study done by Healthy Urban Living, a research program of the University of Utrecht. The figures are based on Dutch cycling statistics combined with a new computational tool by the World Health Organization.

Surveys done by the Research Movement in the Netherlands collected mobility information on about 50 thousand Dutch residents. These surveys concluded that the average Dutch person spends about 75 minutes on a bike per week. This information was entered into the WHO tool.

"We were able to calculate that on average you live an hour longer for every hour of riding. With 75 minutes per week of cycling, Dutch get approximately half a year more life out. In addition, Dutch bicycle use appeared to prevent 11 thousand premature deaths." according to Dr. Carlijn Kamphuis, one of the researchers in the study.

Kamphuis believes that this information is important to convince policy makers of the importance of promoting bicycle use. "The enormous health benefits - and related financial benefits - shows that investing in things like better cycle paths pays for itself. And other benefits of cycling are not even included, such as improved air quality, reduced traffic and reduced illness as people move more."

The Tour de France is starting in Utrecht this year.