Bike Sharing System Improves Health and Solves Traffic Problems

August 31, 2011

Unlocking Word Meanings
Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.   

1. congestion (n.) [kuhn-jes-chuhn] – overcrowding in an area making movement difficult and slow
Example: I arrived late for the meeting because of traffic congestion along Rose Avenue. 

2. epidemiology (n.) [ep-i-dee-mee-ol-uh-jee] – the scientific study of the causes and process of transmitting diseases among people in a certain population
Example: We invited one representative from St. Ann Hospital Department of Epidemiology to give us a lecture on influenza.

3. scheme (n.) [skeem] – a systematic plan of action or arrangement usually applied to solve problems
Example: The new incentive scheme implemented by the company encourages employees to work better.

4. launch (v.) [lawnch] – to start something new; to begin to carry out  a carefully planned activity
Example: Michelle is going to launch her new hair product this Saturday in time for the town festival.

5. persuade (v.) [per-sweyd] – to make somebody believe or do something by giving good reasons
Example: My friend persuaded me to go to the gym on weekends because she noticed that I have gained weight.

Read the text below.
Bicycling is becoming popular in cities around the world. Studies show that it does not only solve traffic congestion but it also improves health.

Researchers from the Center for Research in Environmental Epidemiology in Barcelona found that Barcelona's biking scheme, known as “bicing,” has reduced tons of carbon dioxide pollution and saved a number of lives each year.

Bicing, introduced in March 2007, lets people share bicycles that they can use for short trips around the city. A similar scheme called “Boris Bikes” was also launched in London a year ago by its Mayor, Boris Johnson.  

According to David Rojas- Rueda, who led the research team in Barcelona, bike sharing systems improve public health by promoting physical activity. Consequently, government expenses for health services are lessened.

Results from the research showed that a total of 12.28 deaths are avoided every year because of increased physical activity among people. There is also an estimated loss of over 9 million kg or 9,000 tons of carbon emission per year. This amount is equivalent to flying 1,800 individuals to Sydney back to London.

Based on the study, the researchers are hoping to persuade other cities to implement bike sharing systems to improve people’s health.

Similarly, the World Health Organization (WHO) said that adults should exercise at least 150 minutes a week by cycling to work every day or walking five times a week and for at least 30 minutes each time. 

Viewpoint Discussion
Enjoy a discussion with your tutor. 

Discussion A

·         Is your country experiencing traffic congestion? What do you think are the causes of these?
·         What are other solutions to traffic problems?

Discussion B

·         Are there community bicycle programs in your country where people could rent bicycles?
·         How should the government encourage people to use bicycles more often?

August 31, 2011