Promoting Safe Walking and Cycling to Improve Public Health: Lessons from The Netherlands and Germany

Source: American Journal of Public Health, Vol 93.9

"[The authors] examine the public health consequences of unsafe and inconvenient walking and bicycling conditions in American cities and suggest improvements based on successful policies in The Netherlands and Germany.

"Secondary data from national travel and crash surveys are used to compute fatality trends from 1975 to 2001 and fatality and injury rates for pedestrians and cyclists in The Netherlands, Germany, and the USA in 2000.

"Whereas walking and cycling [was found to] account for less than a tenth of all urban trips in American cities, they account for a third of all trips in Germany and for half of trips in The Netherlands. American pedestrians and cyclists are much more likely to get killed than Dutch and German pedestrians and cyclists, both on a per-trip and per-km basis. They are also far more likely to be injured

"On the basis of Dutch and German experience, [the authors] propose a wide range of measures to improve the safety of walking and cycling in American cities, both to reduce fatalities and injuries and to encourage more walking and cycling, thus providing much needed physical exercise for increasingly overweight Americans."

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