Health Benefits of Ciclovia Far Outweigh Costs

ciclovia san francisco

If you’re not familiar with Ciclovia, it’s the closing of roadways (temporarily or permanently) for bicyclists, runners, pedestrians, roller-bladers, and anyone else not using a form of motorized transportation. Ciclovia started in Colombia, but it has grown and spread to cities around the world (sometimes by different names, albeit).

Well, a recent study, published in the Journal of Urban Health, has found that the health benefits of Ciclovia events far outweigh their costs. The thorough cost-benefit analysis was conducted in four cities in three different countries (Guadalajara, Mexico; Bogota, Colombia; Medellin, Colombia; and San Francisco, U.S.).

“The cost–benefit ratio for health benefit from physical activity was 3.23–4.26 for Bogotá, 1.83 for Medellín, 1.02–1.23 for Guadalajara, and 2.32 for San Francisco,” the researchers write.

“Taking San Francisco’s Sunday Streets program as an example, the researchers found that with the event’s total annual project cost of $1.7 million (based on 52 events) and an annual cost per capita of $70.50,” Jonathan Maus of Bike Portland writes.

And Angie Schmitt of Streetsblog makes the apt point: “Learning about the tremendous health benefits that result from closing streets to car traffic just a few days a year makes you wonder how much society would benefit if more people felt comfortable being active on city streets every day.” Exactly.

More on the health benefits and other benefits of bicycling, for your reading pleasure.

Get on a bike today! And, if you don’t have a Ciclovia in your city, get one! And use this study to prove to your local decision-makers and neighbors that it’s worth it!

Ciclovia picture via sfbike

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