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  • Can Riding a Bicycle Save the Planet?

    Can Riding a Bicycle Save the Planet?

Stepping away from gas-powered vehicles (fossil fuels) and opting for bicycles can have significant positive environmental benefits over car trips. Just by bike riding over choosing a car for one daily trip, an average person can reduce their carbon emissions from fossil fuels by a remarkable 67%. With more than half of daily trips covering distances of less than three miles, bike riding has become an ideal and climate-friendly mode of transport. Shedding pounds and breathing clean air is another great thing we will discuss.

In 2021, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change recognized bicycling as a solution to create a sustainable world for present and future generations. Let’s delve into how this simple change in transportation habits can substantially impact environmental benefits by reducing greenhouse gases in cities and towns everywhere. I am bicycle lawyer Michael Ehline. I am an avid bicyclist and have been riding a bike to and from work since 1990.

About the Author

I have vast experience riding on California bike paths from the Santa Ana River and the Redondo Beach Bike Path all the way to Venice, Malibu, and beyond. I do this for my mental health, but I am happy to do my part to reduce my carbon footprint and prevent harmful emissions. Fewer cars on the road per mile driven and green spaces are a good thing. However, with more people choosing the pollution-free mode of riding a bike, safety becomes a much bigger concern than someone protected inside a roll cage. In this article, I will cover the positive environmental benefits and disadvantages of city riding and bike riding in urban areas.

Addressing Obesity: A Path to Better Health

Obesity is a pressing challenge many Americans face, impacting their overall wellbeing and contributing to various health problems. Bicycling presents an accessible and effective solution to combat this issue. By encouraging individuals to use bicycles for trips shorter than 5 miles, a significant percentage of non-work trips, estimated at around 40%, could be covered. This estimate is derived from an analysis of available studies and data.

Regular biking can help combat obesity by promoting physical activity and calorie expenditure. It offers a convenient means of incorporating exercise into daily routines, contributing to weight management and overall fitness. By embracing bicycles as a mode of transportation for shorter distances, individuals have the opportunity to incorporate physical activity into their daily lives effortlessly.

Weight Management

Maintaining a healthy weight is crucial for overall wellbeing and preventing obesity-related conditions. Cycling is an effective calorie-burning activity that helps individuals manage their weight. By promoting bicycle usage as a means of transportation, society can facilitate weight management efforts and combat the rising obesity rates. Encouraging individuals to choose cycling for shorter trips can contribute to a more active lifestyle and healthier body weights.

Promoting Physical Activity

Regular physical activity is essential for maintaining good health and preventing chronic diseases. Cycling is an excellent form of exercise that engages various muscle groups, improves cardiovascular fitness, and enhances overall physical endurance. By encouraging widespread bicycle usage, society can motivate individuals to engage in regular physical activity and reap the associated health benefits.

Cardiovascular Fitness

Engaging in cardiovascular exercises, such as cycling, strengthens the heart muscle, improves blood circulation, and reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Regular cycling helps maintain healthy blood pressure levels, lowers cholesterol levels, and enhances overall cardiovascular fitness. By promoting bike usage over a car, society can contribute to a healthier population with a reduced incidence of heart-related ailments.

Mental Wellbeing: Cycling as a Mood-Boosting Activity

Physical activity positively impacts mental health, as research and cycling are no exceptions. Regular cycling releases endorphins, also known as “feel-good” hormones, which promote a sense of wellbeing and alleviate symptoms of stress, anxiety, and depression. By encouraging individuals to incorporate cycling into their daily routines, society can foster better mental wellbeing and support a happier, more resilient population.

Embracing a Culture of Wellness

By encouraging widespread bicycle usage, society can create a culture that prioritizes proactive health management and wellbeing. This involves promoting physical activity, advocating for healthy lifestyle choices, and providing infrastructure and support systems that facilitate cycling as a viable transportation option. By making cycling accessible, safe, and convenient, society can empower individuals to take charge of their health, leading to improved overall wellbeing and a more vibrant and resilient community.

Health Insurance Premiums: The Potential for Cost Reduction

With healthier individuals resulting from increased physical activity, the demand for medical procedures and interventions could potentially decrease. Consequently, health insurance companies may experience a reduced need for funds to cover costly medical claims. Healthier individuals tend to require fewer medical services. This idea, for example, can lead to a potential decline in health insurance premiums if you ride a bike.

By encouraging widespread bicycle usage, society can promote a culture of proactive health management. Of course, regular physical activity, such as cycling, has been shown to have numerous health benefits and is fun. Life benefits include reducing the risk of chronic diseases, improving cardiovascular fitness, enhancing mental wellbeing, and maintaining a healthy weight. By advocating for the widespread use of bicycles as a mode of transportation, society can foster a culture of proactive health management among its members.

Less Noise Pollution

The disturbing sounds generated by cars contribute to noise pollution, adversely affecting ecosystems (wild animals are spooked and killed by loud noises) and causing health problems for people. By local businesses replacing noisy vehicles with quiet bikes can reduce engine noise and alleviate traffic congestion, thereby supporting a healthier environment.

Less Air Pollution and Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Gas

Vehicles emit harmful particles, chemicals, and gases into the air through their exhaust systems, leading to air pollution. This pollution has detrimental effects on both human health and the overall wellbeing of the planet. In contrast, being human-powered and not reliant on gasoline, riding bikes rarely contributes to atmospheric pollution, at least not like a car.

Reducing practical fuel consumption is critical in mitigating the harmful effects of carbon emissions on the environment. Biking cuts or eliminates the need for fuel consumption altogether. Unlike passenger vehicles that emit substantial amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, bikes operate solely on human power and do not rely on burning fuel.

Passenger Vehicle v Bike

On average, a typical passenger vehicle emits approximately five metric tons of carbon dioxide per year from burning fuel. This contributes to the growing levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, exacerbating climate change and its associated impacts. Individuals can greatly reduce their carbon footprint and contribute to a cleaner, more sustainable environment by riding bikes instead of driving.

Riding a Bike for Fun, Work and Daily Transport

Not only does riding bikes eliminate the direct emissions associated with burning fuel, but it also offers a number of additional environmental benefits. It helps decrease air pollution by reducing the release of harmful particles, chemicals, and gases into the atmosphere. Furthermore, biking promotes a quieter and less congested urban environment by reducing engine noise and traffic congestion, thus supporting a healthier and more pleasant living environment for both humans and ecosystems.

Bicycle Messengers

A bike messenger, often referred to as a courier, is an individual who specializes in transporting packages, documents, or goods using a bicycle as their primary mode of transportation. These messengers are known for their speed, agility, and efficiency in navigating through urban environments, maneuvering through traffic, and delivering items quickly and reliably.

They often work in metropolitan areas, places where their ability to navigate congested streets and narrow alleyways provides a distinct advantage over traditional delivery methods. Bicycle messengers are known for their physical endurance, as their work involves cycling long distances and making numerous deliveries throughout the day. Their services are commonly utilized by businesses, law firms, courier companies, and individuals who require fast and efficient delivery of time-sensitive items within a local area.

Regular Transport

What are you waiting for? By embracing riding as a means of transportation, individuals can actively participate in the reduction of fuel consumption and carbon emissions. It’s one of the best things you can do in connection with saving the planet. This small change in transportation habits can significantly impact the connected environment, contributing to a brighter and more sustainable future for future generations.

By choosing to ride a bike instead of driving a typical passenger vehicle, which emits nearly five metric tons of carbon dioxide per year from burning fuel, individuals can significantly reduce fuel consumption, saving vehicle wear and tear, road damage and repair spend, and subsequently minimize the air pollution that presently exists.

Sustainable Transportation

The environmental impact of carbon emissions from cars and trucks is a growing concern. Riding a bike provides a sustainable and non-carbon emitting alternative to traditional modes of transportation, significantly reducing pollution levels.

An added benefit is that less concrete and space is needed in the streets, lowering city costs and traffic. Individuals can make a substantial difference in curbing environmental pollution by choosing a bike over motor vehicles like a small car or SUV. They can protect the planet and contribute to developing and constructing safety lanes to protect riders.

Near Zero Emissions With Cyclists?

True, riding a bike as a primary means of transportation helps mitigate air pollution and decrease carbon dioxide emissions. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), transportation plays a significant role in the United States carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. The EPA reports that approximately 33% of CO2 emissions in America can be attributed to transportation activities.

Out of this total, more than half of the emissions come from commuting by car, harming the goal of using minimal fossil fuels. Cars are a primary source of greenhouse gas emissions, including CO2, due to the combustion of fossil fuels such as gasoline or diesel. As these fuels are burned for energy, CO2 gets released into the atmosphere, contributing to the growing levels of greenhouse gases and their impact on climate change.

Unlike cars and trucks, which contribute to greenhouse gas emissions, bicycles produce zero emissions during operation. This commute reduction in household emissions benefits the immediate environment and contributes to the planet’s overall wellbeing.

Combating Climate Change and Extreme Events

Climate change, manifested through events such as wildfires, droughts, and increasingly severe occurrences, poses significant risks to the present and future generations. Transportation is one of the leading causes of greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global warming and serve to fuel these extreme events. Choosing to ride a fun bike offers a genuine solution to this pressing challenge.

A moderate increase in bike riding each year has the potential to save between 6 and 14 million tons of CO2 over driving a car. Bikes even reduce your contribution to overall landfill waste when we look at the supply chain. As CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere continue to rise to unsustainable levels, its warming effect intensifies.

This increase further endangers our planet. When people ride more bikes for affordable daily transport to home, work, school, or shopping, they can help save the planet. They may even add more life to Mother Nature, its wildlife, plants, and trees!

Greener and Healthier Environmental Benefits

Every neighborhood journey on two wheels, instead of behind the wheel, brings multiple benefits to our earth environment. Biking is a greener alternative to conventional transportation methods, promotes individual health, and proves more cost-effective. By embracing a bike as a mode of transport, individuals can contribute to a cleaner and brighter future with less land needed for parking lots and better air quality.

All this can be achieved while enjoying the personal advantages that come with a green, physically active lifestyle known by those who ride bicycles. A green bike may even encourage you to eat better food as your body seeks proper nutrition.

Conclusion: Riding a Bike Can Make the World a Better Place!

No matter your age, science shows that stepping away from fossil fuels and riding bicycles from home to work, school, university, and eating out can help make the world better. Less rubber is used, which means less plantation gas. It also saves on dangerous chemicals like oil and antifreeze. It even reduces water use for those who drive to a car wash or wash cars near the roads at home. So riding helps reduce CO2 emissions, improves health, and sheds weight, reducing obesity by burning more calories while promoting more clean air globally. But don’t assume that switching and leaving the car in your garage will make you safer physically on your journeys.

However, green bicycle transport comes with far less roadway protection from car accidents per mile of distance traveled. Hence, you must take steps to prepare for this journey, including wearing a bicycle helmet and proper riding gear and other accessories. Call our superior Los Angeles bicycle case lawyers today if you have questions or have a bicycle-related issue. We have over a decade of experience helping bike-riding victims and know the reasons insurance companies violate your rights. Call us, and we will look closer and get you the necessary answers.

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Michael Ehline

Michael Ehline is an inactive U.S. Marine and world-famous legal historian. Michael helped draft the Cruise Ship Safety Act and has won some of U.S. history’s largest motorcycle accident settlements. Together with his legal team, Michael and the Ehline Law Firm collect damages on behalf of clients. We pride ourselves on being available to answer your most pressing and difficult questions 24/7. We are proud sponsors of the Paul Ehline Memorial Motorcycle Ride and a Service Disabled Veteran Operated Business. (SDVOB.) We are ready to fight.