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04.09.13

Cycling study to examine benefit for elderly

A new study is set to identify the contribution cycling has to the mobility and wellbeing of older people. Led by Oxford Brookes University, the £1.4m study will consider how the built environment and technology could support older people’s cycling habits.

Cycling becomes more physically challenging as people age, and the fear of personal injury could put people off. But statistics show cycling accounts for 23% of all journeys for over-65s in the Netherlands, compared to 1% in the UK.

Tim Jones, senior research fellow of the Department of Planning, Oxford Brookes University, said: “It is a common misconception that older people don’t cycle or have no desire to do so. But having the option to ride a bicycle is a fantastic way of maintaining independence and community connections and in so doing potentially benefiting physical and mental health and wellbeing.

“The aim of this research is to better understand how built environment and technological design is shaping the willingness and ability of older people to cycle, their experiences of the built environment and ultimately how this affects wellbeing.”

The study is part of a joint research council programme, Lifelong Health and Wellbeing (LLHW), involving three of the UK’s research councils.

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