Tuesday, 13 July 2010

It's the others

AENEAS is an EU project which aims to encourage urban mobility for older people. The acronym stands for "Attaining Energy-Efficient Mobility in an Ageing Society". I fall comfortably into their target demographic, of people over 50. Like my peers, I am growing older.

AENEAS is working to raise awareness about energy-efficient travel options (walking, public transport, cycling, car sharing and public bicycles) and to promote them as alternatives to the private car.

A month ago they held a workshop in Odense (Denmark), and the presentations are posted here. They don't make particularly comfortable reading. It seems that the risk that older people will be involved in an accident, sustain a head injury, or be killed on the bike will rise as the years roll by.

However, as the risks of cycling increase, the benefits of better health more than compensate. Cyclists should still expect to live longer than non-cyclists. According to CTC the health benefits of longer life for each elderly cyclist is worth £235 a year to society at large (FWIW £235 is about the same as vehicle excise duty on a Ford Mondeo).

As a result AENEAS want to encourage older people to cycle. Unfortunately the elderly don't want to be treated as being old. Nor do they want to think about future illness or losing their mobility. They are in denial about their bodies getting fragile and becoming less mobile.

That would be the other old people of course. I'm all in favour of what AENEAS is doing for them. I don't have to worry about getting old, future illness, becoming fragile, or losing mobility.

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