New scientific guidance about the 'invisible danger' of inactivity puts cycle safety in perspective

Posted by sll33 at Dec 03, 2012 10:45 AM |
A common excuse to favour the car over the bike is that of safety but scientists are now pointing out that being sedentary is a far more 'invisible danger' and is now on a par with smoking

Walking and cycling should become the norm for short journeys rather than driving a car, the government's health advisory body has recommended in an attempt to tackle a national epidemic of inactivity and obesity, which now causes as much harm as smoking.

In strongly-worded advice, which places significant pressure on the government to increase the extent of safe walking and cycling routes, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice) urges local authorities, health bodies, workplaces and schools to do all they can to assist people in active travel.

When the age old issue of safety comes up, the lead scientisst responded with the warning of an "invisible danger". People go on at exhaustive length about the perils of cycling because cycling remains niche. Sitting around watching EastEnders and eating Pringles is, however, a national pursuit, and not enough people make the connection between that and an impact on health which is, the scientists told us, now on a par with that from smoking.

"All activities carry a risk. For some reason there seems to be strong focus on the risk of injury associated with cycling. Clearly, when deaths do takes place that's tragic, and we need to do all we can to avoid them. But I think there is a perception that cycling is much more dangerous than it really is.

This focus on the dangers of cycling is something to do with the visibility of them, and the attention it's given. What we don't notice is that if you were to spend an hour a day riding a bike rather than being sedentary and driving a car there's a cost to that sedentary time. It's silent, it doesn't get noticed. What we're talking about here is shifting the balance from that invisible danger of sitting still towards the positive health benefits of cycling.
Dr Harry Rutter, lead author of the report and an adviser at the National Obesity Observatory

Full article here

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