Cycling has obvious potential health benefits for urban dwellers, but can mere proximity to a bike lane be enough to produce benefits?
A new study says it does, because it encourages people to actually use that infrastructure. Published in the American Journal of Public Health (via TreeHugger), the study found that UK residents living within a kilometer (1.6 miles) of a bike lane spent 45 minutes more per week on average walking or cycling.
This reportedly didn’t correspond to decreases in other forms of physical activity, so the utilization of bike paths can be counted as genuine gains, according to the study. The implication here is that bike paths don’t necessarily have to fill a pre-existing need; they can apparently encourage people to use them just by being available.