Happy People Ride Bikes, Research Finds

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In addition to being among the healthiest worker bees, commuters who cycle to work are also the happiest, according to a new research.

Maybe it's because cyclists don’t need to deal with being pushed up against a stranger in a crowded subway car. Or have to deal with the stress of traffic and aggressive drivers. Maybe it’s because they arrive to work after a solid workout, ready to tackle their day.

For these and other reasons, those who biked to work reported being the happiest during their commute, compared to those who drive or take public transit.

Researchers from Clemson University in South Carolina sifted through data from the American Time Use Survey, which surveyed more than 13,000 respondents about their moods during randomly selected activities, including different modes of travel.

"Bicyclists are generally younger and physically healthy, which are traits that happier people usually possess," said lead author Eric Morris.

After cyclists, car passengers emerged the second happiest commuter, followed by those who drive to work.

The grumpiest commuter? Not surprisingly, that would be commuters who take the bus or train to work.

The findings, which were published in the journal Transportation, could be used to help shape public transportation services and suggest that greater emphasis be made on public bike share programs, which are already in place in more than 600 cities around the world.

A joint study out of London and Cambridge, for instance, found that London’s bike share scheme has had a positive overall health effect on the population, particularly among men and older users.

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