Cycling offers an opportunity to promote active and sustainable mobility among the growing population of older people. However, few studies have examined how environmental factors can promote cycling among older adults. This study interviewed older cyclists to gain an in-depth understanding of how environmental factors influence their perceptions and experiences. It found that traffic safety has a major influence on older people’s cycling experience.

Cycling has the potential to reduce carbon emissions and traffic congestion, and offers the opportunity to integrate physical health activity into the daily lives of the growing, insufficiently physically active, population of older adults. Cycling can be used by older people for transportation (to reach a shop or service) and for recreational purposes (e.g. cycling for pleasure or health).

To promote cycling for transportation among older adults, supportive physical environments should be provided. The physical environment is characterised as the perceived attributes of the context in which people spend their time (e.g. home and neighbourhood). It includes elements of urban design (e.g. presence of cycling paths), traffic density and speed, distance to and design of venues for physical activity (e.g. parks), crime, safety and weather.

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Source: European Commission