There is a lot of focus these days on the problems with the environment. Cars are a major source of the pollution that is contributing to the environmental problems we have today. Especially in big cities the huge numbers of cars driven by people commuting to work every day have a huge environmental impact. Most people use their cars to make even short trips of a km or less, causing major pollution damage. There is a way to help us all out of this mess – cycling is one of the good solutions.
Commuting to work using a bike has become very fashionable in many developed and some of the developing countries among young people. Commuting to work by bike or using a bike to run errands and shop reduces pollution, and also reduces oil and gas use, which has environmental benefits and also can save money.
Cycling is one way a household can significantly reduce its contribution to the pollution that causes climate change. Cars produce an average of 0.3 kg of carbon dioxide (CO2) per km travelled. A cyclist emits minor greenhouse or other pollution, so for each kilometre you ride your bike instead of driving, you are saving approximately 0.3 kg of CO2. Using bicycles to replace short car trips and city driving gives the greatest savings in emissions.
Motor vehicles also produce other pollutants like oil and petrol residue, which enter the water system and are a major source of waterway and ocean pollution. Every time you cycle instead of drive, you significantly reduce emissions of pollutants and toxins into our environment.
The bicycle is much smaller, has slower speeds and lower maintenance and infrastructure needs than the car. Car-free city centres, or a shift to more bicycle-centred urban design, can make great savings in our transport systems’ chain of impact.
Dr Moses Amweelo