Share The Road

What is the Economic Cost of Inactivity?

  • Several countries (mostly in Europe) have done health economics studies to calculate the cost of inactivity. These studies generally take into account the cost of medical treatment, employment/production losses, and costs of social assistance.
    • For Norway the result is 980 Euro per person per year.
    • For Switzerland the result is 564 Euro per person per year.
    • In Finland the result is 1,200 Euro per person per year.
  • Some countries now actually include this data in cost benefit analysis of road infrastructure projects(6)

What About Ontario's Weather?

  • Poor cycling infrastructure and safety are much larger deterrents to bicycling than poor weather. The Yukon has the highest bike share of work trips (2.0%) in Canada, and the Northern Territories (1.6%) far exceed both Ontario (1.0%) and Quebec (1.2%). (5)
  • Cities across Europe that have climates very similar to Ontario cities have much higher rates of cycling than we do (Table 3). This suggests that weather plays a minor role (at most) in decisions about cycling.

    Table 3: Comparison the Percentage of People Who Bike to Work in Three Cities with Similar Weather

    City Average Annual Temperature Average Annual Precipitation Percentage of People Who Bike to Work
    Amsterdam 9 800 35%
    Copenhagen 5 1500 40%
    Toronto 8 800 <1%
    Adapted from: Bicycle Use and Safety in Paris, Boston, and Amsterdam (31)
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