Bikes, bikes, bikes. They’re around every corner of Savannah in all shapes and sizes; Some with baskets, bells, cup holders, and even a few with special carriers for their furry friends! Drivers may see them as a nuisance as they slow traffic and crowd sidewalks, but just what benefit do these childhood toys provide? Learn how putting pedal to the metal can decrease your ecological footprint.

Let me start by saying: Riding your bike everywhere is not easy. I can’t count the number of times I put off going out and running errands because the thought of pedaling there exhausted me. Not to mention it’s extremely difficult trying to add groceries, backpacks and portfolios to my load. Though there are many challenges I face as a rider, there are also many valuable aspects. As a matter of convenience, it’s  no hassle parking!! Those in Savannah know the struggle of parallel parking, sweep zones, and the last resort expensive parking garages. If you have to park blocks away anyways, why drive in Savannah?! From an ecological standpoint, there are even more reasons:

“Zero” Emissions

The average car produces 271 grams of pollution per kilometer (0.621 miles). Multiplied by a billion other cars going much longer distances than the average bike, those numbers really add up. While respiration from physical exertion doesn’t officially qualify bikes as zero emissions, their comparative production of 21g/km is practically negligible.

Minimized Manufacturing Costs

Not only is car manufacturing expensive, but it is also a huge consumer of natural resources. In addition, production of parts are often done separately in multiple stages. Bike production results in significantly less pollution as well as a decreased consumption of metals and rubber. Another aspect to consider is the rate at which we change cars. The average US citizen buys 9.4 cars in their lifetime. This is due to changing technology, accidents, and the general love of cars by Americans. Bikes however have maintained the same technology for years with little need to change. A  10-year-old bike in good condition is no different from a brand new bike today.

Reduced Road Expansion

Placed side by side, it is clear that bikes take up a considerably less amount of space. Introducing more bikers will decrease the need for highway expansion in metropolitan areas while preserving wildlife. Furthermore, bikes are much less destructive and will result in less money spent on road repairs. Australia alone spends an average of $25 million per working day on transportation improvements! In terms of parking, the average car stall can hold up to 20 bikes; decreasing our need for large parking lots.

Support Local Businesses

Riding a bike means you’re less likely to travel farther distances to shop at large shopping centers. Therefore, you’ll increase spending at local businesses closer to your home. Not only does this boost the local economy, but it also promotes sustainable shopping practices! Rather than buying imported produce at a chain convenience store, you’re more likely to purchase seasonal items from your local farmers market. While farmers markets can be a great source for fresh produce, they are also great cultivators of socialization within the community.

 

Depending on your city, it may be hard to adopt bike riding as your main mode of transportation. Instead, try swapping just a few car trips a week for your bike! You’ll be surprised just how easy it is.

 

Sources Linked:

CO2 From Cycling Revealed

Farmers Markets Act as a Gathering Space

Cycling Benefits (Queensland Department of Transport)

10 Ways Riding a Bike Can Save the World

How Riding a Bike Reduces Global Warming

297 thoughts on “Shifting Gears: How Riding Your Bike Can Save the Planet

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