Stian E. Lobben
GP, Nytorget Legesenter
Mathias Renberg asks me in his last post: If you had billions of kroner to spend on public health measures, is this where you would spend them? That is, on a cycle path.
The answer is yes.
The rationale remains: It pays off.
If we look at what disease that can be prevented with physical activity costs society, billions appear like a drop in the ocean. Only in 2011 for free diabetes treatment 4 billion. In a year. Then we can add cancer, heart disease, obesity, musculoskeletal disease, etc.
The reason why Renberg and I arrive at different conclusions on the question of what a cycleway is worth seems to be that Renberg is basing himself on calculations he has come up with himself. Among other things, usage figures from before the road was completed. While I place greater trust in calculations from professionals who have familiarized themselves with the problem.
I last referred to calculations done by the Institute of Transport Economics, which indicates that the bicycle trunk road is a good investment. I might add that the Directorate of Health also recommends investing in cycling infrastructure as an important measure to counter the pandemic of non-communicable diseases.
If Renberg is still afraid that it will not pay off with the bicycle trunk road, he can contribute to increased profitability by making better facilities for cycling. More cycle paths, a stronger cycling culture and financial incentives to choose a bicycle over a car are what we need.
In Copenhagen, the share of bicycle journeys has reached over 40 percent. In the 1970s, Copenhagen was as dependent on cars as Stavanger. The difference in development is a result of targeted cycling policy over many years. It works.