Take a look at this report from the Transport and Health Study Group: http://www.healthandtransportgroup.co.uk/research/research20_july2010.php. Health on the Move: Active travel – a preliminary report from the THSG. February 2010, by N Cavill, A Davis, M Wardlaw, S Watkins, J Mindell.
So far just the first three chapters are published, but we understand the whole report will be out later this year. The health benefits of the “active travel” modes are a key argument in the sustainable transport case, and are presented here by some of the top experts in the field in the UK.
The chapter on cycling has some carefully argued evidence-based work which should at least dent the case of arguments of helmet advocates, as well as making a good case for the “Safety in Numbers ” approach. A key point made is the low level of risk of cycling : it is important to remember that the exaggeration of the levels of risk of cycling in places like inner London is part of the oppressive “Fear of Cycling” culture which is very much part of the problem for cyclists. That doesn’t, of course, in any way diminish the urgent need to reduce danger for cyclists (and other road users) at source: from inappropriate use of motor vehicles.
We look forward to recommendations on reducing road danger when the final report is out. Meanwhile, whatever your views on highway infrastructure, read your way through good quality research on key issues relating to cycling, walking, sustainable transport – what every transport professional needs to know about!