Dutch people have never been so mobile. Thanks to the car, train and aeroplane we can spend our free time wherever we want.
A downside to this is that we are still spending a lot of time in traffic jams and traffic causes air pollution (particulate matter, greenhouse gases), noise pollution and traffic accidents and takes up space.
Getting around by bicycle or on foot can have a positive effect on people's fitness and health. If people cycle more often than taking the car, this will be beneficial for the environment (lower emissions of CO2, NO2 and particulate matter, less noise), traffic flows and people's health. People who cycle regularly will be less susceptible to cardiovascular diseases, breast cancer, diabetes and obesity. What is more, cycling and walking are relaxing activities and lead to less absenteeism due to illness. There is a particular focus on reducing commuter travel by car because that would also reduce the number of traffic jams.
An analysis of (inter)national cycling projects has revealed that bicycle usage is highest in towns and cities where there is an overall approach in the field of mobility. In addition there is less car mobility in towns and cities where there is an active cycling and environmental zoning policy.
In short, if we can replace short car journeys with journeys by bike, this will be good for people's health and the environment. The health and environmental benefit certainly outweighs the costs of constructing a cycling infrastructure and any additional measures to prevent cycling accidents.