While the Montreal bike-share program, Bixi, is up for auction, researchers across the ocean are looking into how bike-shares can benefit cities in ways above and beyond financials.
A new study published by the British Medical Journal in February looked at the health benefits to regular users of London’s bike-share program.
The system in London is slightly larger than Montreal’s. The British capitol has 8,000 bikes parked at 571 stations around the city. In 2013, Bixi in Montreal maintained 5,000.
The analysis looked at the health of 578,607 unique users in London who made 7.4 million trips, totalling 2.1 million hours of cycling time. Taking into account the added dangers of cycling on city streets and without a helmet, the researchers still found that there were significant health gains to the population that used the bike-share regularly. On an individual basis, benefits were small, but, as a whole, the program was found to have a positive effect on the health of users.
Older users gained more benefits from using the bike-share program regularly, as older users have a higher risk of chronic disease.
Men also used the bike-share program more often than women and were safer using it. Men seem to have have fewer injuries while cycle commuting than women, overall.
Commuters who used the bike-share program had fewer commuting-related injuries than regular cycle commuters.