In the lead up to VeloCity Vienna, Bas de Geus from the Free University Brussels (VUB) presented the health benefits of cycling, which he said would be nothing short of fantastic if Europe managed to achieve a 15% modal share. Air pollution, coming mostly from cars, “presents much more serious risks to cyclists than to car occupants”, he said. Despite this and other risks, he insisted that “the health benefits remain high compared to the risks of not doing physical activity.”
de Geus reported that researchers observed that where rates of cycling are high, there are relatively more women than where cycling rates are low. On this basis he said that some have argued for “women to be considered as an indicator species”, a kind of barometer for cycling.