By spokesman | September 9, 2008
The video below is from a British project called CycleHero that aims to increase bicycle commuting by touting the environmental benefits.
There have been many incidents between motorists and bicyclists in the press lately. That is why I have been glad to see a number of initiatives to encourage bicycle commuting both from industry and Government. While the United States will never be a bicycling society like Holland and bikes alone can’t solve our energy and transportation problems, some growth in bicycle commuting can help. Trek is behind an initiative call One World Two Wheels to encourage bike commuting. The Trek website is tracking the environmental impact of people that pledge to commute. Cliff Bar is sponsoring a commuting initiative called the 2 mile challenge to encourage bike riding. Their website includes a custom mapping application to identify the distance to nearby stores, restaurants and other merchants. The recent Democratic and Republican political conventions had bike sharing programs where people took 7523 rides for 41,724 miles burning over 1,000,000 calories and reducing their carbon footprint by 14.6 metric tons. Complete details are in this press release on the Freewheelin Bike Sharing Project.
I gathered the commuting facts listed below from several websites including the US Dept of Transportation, Dartmouth College and the State of Delaware DOT in addition to the Trek and Cliff Bar sites mentioned earlier.
- According to a Federal Highway Administration 2006 report, nearly half of all trips are less than 3 miles. Therefore bicycles — which is perfect for short trips — saves gas money, and reduces air pollution and traffic congestion.
- Emissions are highest when a vehicle is started “cold.” Starting a 5-mile trip with after a car has been sitting for more than an hour generates 50% more volatile organic compounds and 17% more nitrogen oxides than starting up when the engine is warm.
- 40% of trips are less than two miles long—about a 30-minute walk or 15-minute bike ride.
- Cars are used for 75 percent of trips that are less than 1 mile.
- Because starting a cold engine pollutes five times more than a warm one, walking or cycling short distances greatly reduces air pollution. For instance, eliminating five separate 1-mile vehicle trips reduces about the same amount of ozone-related pollution as eliminating one 15-mile trip.
- Almost 90 percent of all trips are made in personal vehicles. More than 40 percent of these are solo. Less than one out of seven trips use transit, a bicycle, or are on foot.
- More than 22% of all motor vehicle trips that Americans take are less than one mile long, and 50% of the working population commute five miles or less to work, an easily bikeable distance.
As a nation, we take a large number of short trips, many of which can be replaced by a bicycle commute. Even if only a small percentage of these trips are done by bike, the results can be significant.
Topics: Bike Commuting |