Just How Much Better Is Bicycling?
You’d be downright silly if you said that driving your car was better than riding your bicycle when it comes to almost anything besides (possibly, not always) getting somewhere faster. When it comes to your health, the environment, your wallet, and other things too, biking is better. So why don’t we do it more than we drive?
Part of the problem lies in the way we’ve set up our cities, which are infinitely more car-friendly than bike friendly, especially when we’re talking about a city that’s expansive in the way that, say, Los Angeles is expansive. And maybe another part of the problem is that many of our cities are not particularly bike-friendly, because while we know that bikes don’t need a ton of additional consideration on the roads, they do need some, as anyone who has ever been hit by a car will attest to. Special bike lanes or streets most likely go a long way to preventing a ton of accidents, and Portland does a great job of supplying those features to the landscape.
But what about plain old education? Maybe if we all came to terms a bit more specifically with just how much better biking is for everything and everyone, we’d all support the act more too. Check out these ideas about comparing biking to driving.
Biking Versus Driving: The Ultimate Showdown. Or Is It?
According to Bicycle Universe, while “the amount of energy used by automobiles is staggering,” the various types of pollution might be even worse. From general pollution that diminishes things like air quality, “pollution by cars causes lung cancer, respiratory problems, urban smog, and acid rain”; to ground-level ozone, lead (some countries still allow the use of leaded gasoline, and its contributions to global warming, the car and our use of it in such an overwhelming capacity has done its fair share of damage to the planet.
Did you know that regarding “the environment, for every gallon of gas burned, one will emit twenty pounds of carbon dioxide”? (see the full article at the first link below). Not a bad reminder to take your bike around town as often as you can, even when it goes as far as adjusting major things like your address when it comes to living closer to work, and the other places where you spend the majority of your time.
According to Bicycle Universe, “you’re paying more for your car than you think. A typical American who goes car-free for 35 years can save over a million dollars, even adjusted for inflation, and even if they pay for taxi, bus, and car-share trips often.” Use the link to their handy online calculator to see where you fit in with regard to potential savings from biking instead of driving.
For more information on the benefits, do some research on Copenhagen, which boasts of being the most bicycle-friendly city on the planet. One of the articles in the link section below asks “what are all the “social gains” that bicycling grants the city of Copenhagen,” and comes up with a lot of them in its Biannual Bicycle Account.
Bike to Work Day (it already happened this May, but feel free to make your own version whenever you feel so inclined) take a simpler approach, breaking it down thusly:
“How does bicycle commuting contribute to a clean environment? Bicycling uses no fuel. Bicycles take a lot less energy to make a than a car. Bikes don’t require toxic batteries or motor oil.” There’s also a link below to their site, where you can learn even more.
Links to More Information on Biking Vs. Driving
Biking Vs. Driving Calculator online: do your own math when it comes to finances, etc.
Biking Vs. Driving Calculator: analysis from a Portlander.
The vast economic gains of bicycling vs driving, according to Bike Delaware.
The Environmental Benefits of Bicycling, from the Bike to Work Day website.
[Photo Via: gloucesterpharma]