Did you know that there are 880 thousand bikes in Amsterdam which are owned by almost 811 thousand people? There are more bikes than people in Amsterdam. Amazing isn’t it? Why am I telling you this? Good question! Well, do you know that studies have shown that Amsterdam has a better AQI (air quality index) as compared to New York?
Now in New York, 902,000 New Yorkers ride a bike daily. This is less than Amsterdam. It’s also one of the reasons Amsterdam has cleaner air! I was stunned when I came across this research. That’s why, I decided it’s time we dig a bit deeper into the environmental benefits of cycling.
Environmental Benefits of Cycling
It is time to make Earth a much healthier place to live in!
1. The Elimination/Reduction of Air Pollution
You might not even think of this but using our cars or motorbikes for a prolonged amount of time is a bad habit. Once that bad habit spirals out of control, we start damaging ourselves and our environment. Riding our bikes will bring balance to nature, it will make us more environmentally friendly.
The first thing you can expect is a drastic decrease in air pollution when we use our bikes more. Since there will be a reduction in auto-vehicle usage, we will be leaving less of a carbon footprint. This piece from the World Health Organization (WHO) shows how walking and cycling can lead to a reduction in air pollution. Using bikes also reduces the emission of carbon dioxide, increasing the air quality.
We use our cars at least two times a day, one time for going to work and the other time for coming back. Let’s add other activities too, picking up and dropping kids from school, going grocery shopping, and hanging out with friends. All these activities lead to a great number of fossil fuel consumption.
Let’s say that we just replace our cars with bikes to get to work, do you know how much greenhouse gas emissions we would save? The actual number goes beyond 3000 pounds and that is just going and coming back from work! Just imagine if we use our bikes for even more activities and multiply that number by other people who start doing that too. We can see a huge change in our environment in not just months but in weeks!
2. The Elimination of Crowd Congestion and Parking Problems
When we see roads filled with cars, we get enraged, and when we get stuck for hours in traffic, the feeling is beyond unimaginable. Now replace seeing those cars with seeing bikes on roads, that feels like you are in some sort of utopia.
Once we start using bikes more, the frustration of people will decrease leading to a decreased number of accidents that occur. Lesser cars will lead to fewer problems, this will also make sure that drivers aren’t that impatient anymore. Then there is the problem of noise pollution, people living in urban areas know that you can’t get a good night’s sleep and that is just because of the huge number of cars on the road. Once cars are replaced by bikes, you will be able to sleep more peacefully at night and wake up more energetic.
Living in a situation where you are sleep-deprived and can’t even enjoy the basics of life leaves a heavy toll on your mental and physical health, this is the kind of issue that isn’t even talked about that much. We must pay attention to our mental health as much as we pay attention to our physical health. Let’s start by making people more aware of bikes and helping our urban areas get better and safer! An increase in bikes will also increase bike paths all around cities and towns can reduce more than half of your time in congestion.
3. Saving Costs and Reducing Renewable Fuel Consumption
How much can a developed country consume gas/oil in a day? Well, let us give you a precise number. In 2019, the United States of America consumed 20.5 million barrels of gas in a day. This is a crazy number, just imagine the harmful effects of this act.
This number was in 2019 when public transportation was also being used, then the pandemic happened. Now that things are better, the number of cars on the road has increased, and so have bikes though. Can you even imagine how much gas we are consuming in a day now?
If you own a bike, then just know that cycling helps reduce fuel consumption. This is a great time to be a cyclist!
4. Be A Cyclist, Save Nature
On average, families across the world just have one car but the statistics in the U.S. are a bit different. The average number of vehicles is 1.88 or even in some cases. This data also varies across different states, for example in California, the number is going to increase. More cars mean that more roads need to be constructed across America, and once that happens, nature is going to be severely affected.
It is always nature that suffers the most, especially our green areas, they will have to be cut down to construct new roads. Even beautiful parts that contribute so much to society will have to be demolished, where is humanity in that?
Take a look at this study here, National Geographic explains pretty clearly how the environment is impacted by cars.
5. The Elimination of Noise Pollution
Cars and other modes of transportation contribute a lot to noise pollution and that is what damages our environment and society. First, we used to think that pollution only comes from the invisible gas that cars emit but it is much worse than that.
Unwanted or disturbing sounds can be classified as noise pollution and that negatively affects both the lives of humans and wildlife. Did you know that sudden and disturbing noises/sounds can cause the heart of small animals/insects to beat faster? It can even lead to permanent damage. In the case of bluebirds, noise pollution disturbs their mating and it even leads to fewer offspring.
In the case of animals, we need to be even more careful. They use different kinds of sounds to navigate, find food, attract mates, and even protect themselves from predators. If we disrupt that then their survival can be threatened. Once there is a lot of noise pollution, these animals/insects/birds are forced to change their habitat which can harm our society and environment. Let’s take the example of the bluebird, once it leaves its habitat, that forest declines over time!
So if we choose to use our bikes instead of cars, that is going to reduce noise pollution and create a better environment for ourselves and precious wildlife.
6. Your Health Improves
We told you about the various environmental benefits of cycling, but what about your health? Cycling is one of the best ways of exercise, it can even be used for a HIIT Workout (High-Intensity Interval Training). Cycling also improves your emotional and mental health, which has long-term benefits.
What are some of the health benefits of cycling? Well, for starters, your overall balance and posture improve. Your cardiovascular strength and endurance also improve, you gain more energy, and even your mood improves. Then there is another benefit that isn’t spoken of that much, cycling allows you to have amazing adventures.
Read also: How Cycling Makes You Healthier And Happier
7. Cycling Leads To Growth In Local Economies
Once people start using bikes daily, their dependency on other modes of transportation will decrease drastically. Once the demand for bikes increases, it will also give rise to local bike businesses that can boost the economy by creating more jobs. Once more jobs are created, the rate of unemployment will start coming down, all of this can be done if we start cycling regularly!
Cars and other vehicles use a lot of fossil fuel, which is imported from other countries. By using bikes, we can support our local bike manufacturing companies to perform even better.
8. Cycling Protects Green Spaces and Also Boosts Biodiversity
You might have heard about biodiversity but what exactly is it? Biodiversity means the variety of life on Earth. It also refers to plants and animals living together in a single space, how these two species interact with each other is known as Biodiversity.
Now you might be wondering, why we need to care about biodiversity. If we have a healthy ecosystem, only then we can have quality food, water, and air. Global Warming plagues Earth, and as the planet gets hotter, these plants and animals fight very hard for their survival. Even their ultimate survival chances drop drastically like this.
Cycling leads to an improvement in biodiversity, which is a very big reason to go for bikes rather than cars. Cycling protects green spaces and doesn’t cause any noise pollution or greenhouse gas emissions. If we switch out our cars for bicycles then we will need fewer paved roads than usual. Once the demand for paved surfaces decreases, our green spaces will start thriving. Although this seems like a very small step, the effects can be really beautiful!
9. Cycling Promotes Community Building
Another great benefit of cycling is how it builds communities. Once we start using bikes more, we also attract other people to use bikes which can lead to community development. You might start with yourself in the neighborhood that uses a bicycle, but just by seeing you others can and will join you. Once they join you, a community can be built together that focuses on the betterment of each other.
Being a part of a community, resources can also be shared.
Watch: Biking For The Environment
Various studies have shown that we as people have contributed greatly to global warming, but we also have the resources to make things right. Using bikes daily means that you are protecting your environment and your community from harmful gas emissions.
Watch this fun and insightful video to see how you can make your environment better by just cycling!
Balancing life is the biggest challenge that we have to face but we must do it anyway. Cycling is an amazing sport, it works wonders for both our mental and physical health. One of the best things about cycling is how it also contributes to society and our environment as a whole. I am not telling you that you need to completely cut off using cars. Just that we need to use bicycles more!
So what are you waiting for now? Let’s go cycling!
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- Learn How Cycling Improves Your Health
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