Health is wealth, literally. How cycling can give GDP a boost
New Delhi: Cycling for short distances may not only help reduce carbon emissions and save fuel, but it could provide annual benefits of up to Rs 1.8 lakh crore to the Indian economy, roughly equivalent to 1.6% of the GDP, said a report released by The Energy and Resources Institute (Teri).
The study titled ‘Benefits of Cycling in India : An Economic, Environmental and Social Assessment’ found that cycling approximately 3.5km regularly for 120 days could help avoid as many as 4,756 premature deaths, while also reducing 1million tonnes of CO2 emissions and 0.35 million tonnes of energy (oil equivalent) each year.
However, for cities to realise these benefits, proper cycling infrastructure and bike-sharing schemes need to be adopted. “Awareness campaigns need to be conducted to highlight the benefits of cycling and by dispelling the notion that bicycles are the poor person’s mode of transport,” the study said.
The analysis also revealed that substitution of just half the short distance work trips by cycles, which are typically undertaken by two-wheelers and cars, could result in massive fuel savings to the tune of Rs 2,700 crore. The study estimates that cycles can help unskil-
Safe cycling infrastructure
Awareness campaigns Own city-level bikesharing scheme
Lower GST on bicycles costing less than led marginal workers save up to 2.3 crore labour hours — equivalent to Rs 11,200 crore in terms of travel time savings.
To make cycles affordable, the report highlights the need to reduce GST on cycles costing less than Rs 5,000 from the existing 12% to 5%. “It is im- portant to make bicycles more affordable for low-income households,” the study stated.
Launched in association with All India Cycle Manufacturers’ Association, the event was attended by Union minister for commerce and industry Suresh Prabhu and MoS (water resources) Arjun Meghwal. Meghwal said he cycled to the event and has made cycling a part of his daily routine. “I prefer travelling on a cycle. You could call it my first love. This physical activity has helped keep me fit and I rarely fall ill now,” he added.
in energy savings (oil equivalent)
in CO2 emission reduction
Cycling in The Netherlands has prevented
premature deaths annually; total economic benefit of
as health savings
In Barcelona, an increase in work trips by cycling resulted in the average economic savings of between 2009 and 2013
4.7 million euros per year
According to a study conducted by in Mexico, substitution of car and taxi trips by a cycle sharing initiative resulted in annual health benefits of
Dr Ajay Mathur, Teri director general, said that safety remains a concern restricting the use of cycles as a mode of transport. “We need to change our mentality and make cycling a viable option to stay fit, and, at the same time, not affect the planet adversely,” he said.
Rs 5,000(annual figures)*in personal fuel savings in health benefits due to reduced air pollutionin travel-time savings in health benefits due to increased physical activityper year72.5%19 billion eurosC40