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Cycling to work lowers sickness absence (the Netherlands)

By News Editor / Updated: 01 Aug 2014
Employees who cycle regularly to work are less frequently ill. Average absenteeism for cyclists is roughly one day less per year than for non-cycling co-workers. If employers in the Netherlands stimulate bicycling to work more, this can save them 27 million euro per year. Results of this TNO study were presented earlier this year.
Employees who cycle regularly to work are less frequently ill. Average absenteeism for cyclists is roughly one day less per year than for non-cycling co-workers. If employers in the Netherlands stimulate bicycling to work more, this can save them 27 million euro per year. Results of this TNO study were presented earlier this year.

Previous TNO studies showed that getting regular exercise has health benefits and can reduce absenteeism. Since the effects of cycling to work were not known, two Dutch ministries asked TNO to examine the effects. Employees of three large Dutch organizations completed a survey about cycling to work as related to health and work performance. Afterwards the absenteeism data for the year preceding the survey were obtained from the employer. Of the 1236 employees 64% were regular cyclists and 36% were non-cyclists. Regular cyclists had significantly lower rates of absenteeism than non-cyclists: 7.4 days per year (cyclists) versus 8.7 days per year (non-cyclists). There was also a relationship between the distance travelled by bike and the frequency: the more often one cycled and the longer the distance travelled, the lower the rate of absenteeism.

The potential benefit of cycling to work is considerable. If the number of employees cycling to work were to increase by one percent, this regular cycling to work would deliver employers a cost-reduction of around 27 million euro per year. This is based on a working population of about 7.4 million people and an average cost of 280 euro per working day of absenteeism.

Source and link:www.tno.nl (pdf in Dutch)
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