In a world in which cyclists are now so popular and often travel in groups, it is natural to assume that they are at their peak, but a new study shows that the cycling community is facing a big health crisis.
The findings suggest that the number of cyclists with heart problems is set to double over the next decade, with one in six now being admitted to hospital.
And, according to the study, this is a situation which is likely to be exacerbated by the number and size of trips they take.
Researchers from Imperial College London found that in the UK, there were about 8.5 million people cycling in the capital, compared to a national average of 3.7 million people, and that the UK has the highest number of cyclist deaths in Europe.
“We found that while the numbers of cyclists are increasing, there are a lot of them on longer journeys, and these are people who have been travelling on a regular basis for a long time,” says Dr Peter Ward, one of the authors of the study and an expert in the epidemiology of health and wellbeing.
“If you go and look at the data, they are a little bit over-represented on longer distances.”
Dr Ward’s team examined data on cycling deaths from 2008 to 2016, and looked at how the number had changed since then.
They looked at a wide range of data sources, including the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) and the Office of National Statistics (ONS).
They looked into how the numbers had changed over time and compared the numbers with the number from the National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey.
The study found that the average distance travelled by a cyclist in the last 12 months was more than three times as long as it was in the previous 12 months.
It also found that when looking at the number who were admitted to hospitals, they were three times more likely to have a heart condition.
“In a way, the number has increased dramatically in the past year, so the number is increasing,” says Ward.
“There is a large number of people who are travelling to and from work, so they are getting sicker and sicker.
The numbers of people in hospitals are increasing and this is putting the strain on our infrastructure and the health system.”
A cyclist’s health and well-being is increasingly at risk Dr Ward and his team set out to analyse data on cyclist health, and to identify the factors that are causing this rise in health problems. “
There are some things that have happened in the health service that have affected the way people are treating patients, but it is clear that the underlying problem is a big one.”
A cyclist’s health and well-being is increasingly at risk Dr Ward and his team set out to analyse data on cyclist health, and to identify the factors that are causing this rise in health problems.
They also examined the role that the environment plays in the cycling problem.
Dr Ward believes that there is a need to focus on the “perfect storm” of illness, cycling, and health, with cycling becoming the most popular form of transport.
“The perfect storm is a combination of things that are affecting the cyclist’s wellbeing and health.
“They are not just the result of a problem on the roads, but also they have to be able to cope with the conditions in their life. “
It’s very important that the health and physical conditions of the cyclist are looked at,” he says.
The findings have been published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, but Dr Ward says that it is not just about a few bad apples, but an epidemic. “
This is what the cycling industry needs to recognise and acknowledge.”
The findings have been published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, but Dr Ward says that it is not just about a few bad apples, but an epidemic.
“I am not saying that all cyclists have heart problems,” he explains.
“A lot of cyclists have some form of heart problem, and if they have got a heart problem then that is their fault, but when the health of the cycling public is at risk it becomes a bigger problem.”
“When you are cycling with a friend you know that you are going to have your heart attack or stroke, so there is an underlying concern,” says ward.
“And you do have a better understanding of what’s going on and what’s normal.”
But if you are doing the same thing with a large group of people, then the cycling lifestyle can have a negative effect on your health.
“We have to understand that a cyclist is a member of a larger community and we need to be aware of the wider health implications of a large community.”