Doctors will be cycling through Melbourne this Saturday morning as part of Bicycle Network Victoria’s Ride2Work Day activities.
“Most people know that cycling is a quick, cheap and fun way to get around. What we want to highlight are the health benefits because these are the key reason many doctors ride to work. Some doctors even do their house-calls by bike” said Dr Dimity Williams, spokesperson for event organisers, Doctors for the Environment Australia.
“Choosing to cycle rather than drive to work not only keeps me healthy, it is good for others too. This is because it helps reduce air pollution and tackle climate change which are major public health problems” said Dr Williams who cycles 8km to her general practice.
Air pollution from cars and trucks, especially diesel fueled vehicles, accounted for between 900 and 2,000 premature deaths in the year 2000. This is more than deaths from road traffic accidents.
The Victorian Government’s Inquiry into Environmental Design and Public Health recommended promoting cycling activities, provision and maintenance of cycling infrastructure and retrofitting cycling paths.
Doctors for the Environment Australia, along with other medical organisations including the AMA have called for the Baillieu Government to bolster funding on bicycle infrastructure in their submissions to the Inquiry.
“Cycling is a key preventative health measure because it promotes activity” said Dr Williams. “This means that anything we can do to encourage cycling has terrific health payoffs.”
In Australia it is estimated that the direct costs (2006/2007) to the Australian economy of inactivity are $1.49 billion.
Doctors for the Environment Australia submission to Inquiry:
For information on deaths due to air pollution:
Doctors for the Environment Australia (DEA) is a voluntary organisation of medical doctors working to promote health through care of our environment.