Bicycling for transportation and health: the role of infrastructure

J Public Health Policy. 2009:30 Suppl 1:S95-110. doi: 10.1057/jphp.2008.56.


This paper aims to provide insight on whether bicycling for everyday travel can help US adults meet the recommended levels of physical activity and what role public infrastructure may play in encouraging this activity. The study collected data on bicycling behavior from 166 regular cyclists in the Portland, Oregon metropolitan area using global positioning system (GPS) devices. Sixty percent of the cyclists rode for more than 150 minutes per week during the study and nearly all of the bicycling was for utilitarian purposes, not exercise. A disproportionate share of the bicycling occurred on streets with bicycle lanes, separate paths, or bicycle boulevards. The data support the need for well-connected neighborhood streets and a network of bicycle-specific infrastructure to encourage more bicycling among adults. This can be accomplished through comprehensive planning, regulation, and funding.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Bicycling / physiology*
  • Female
  • Geographic Information Systems
  • Health Behavior
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Health Policy*
  • Health Promotion*
  • Health Services Research
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motor Activity
  • Oregon
  • Social Marketing*
  • Transportation*
  • Young Adult