All around the world, people are looking for ways to help improve the environment. The recent meeting of Obama and Xi Jinping, underpinned by an agenda to set some firm resolutions to tackle climate change, highlights how seriously we all need to take environmental issues.
Businesses are learning how to become eco-friendly and home owners are doing their best to become energy efficient. However, the transport sector is yet to see as much commitment. Many people are doing their best to help the environment, but only few are willing to take their commitment to their mode of transportation. This has seen cycling, a very good way to reduce carbon emissions, neglected in the past. This piece takes a look at the ecological benefits of en-mass cycling, as well as its impact on traffic flow.
How en-mass cycling benefits the ecosystem
Cycling is environmentally friendly as no emissions are given off. The average car on the other hand releases over a pound of carbon per mile. This means that more people taking up cycling will reduce the carbon footprint across the country a great deal.
En-mass cycling will also increase the quality of air in urban cities, and reduce the number of deaths arising from exposure to air pollution by sulphur dioxide, ozone gases and other particulates. People in urban areas living with Asthma often have to face the exacerbation of symptoms, as they struggle to breathe the poor quality air. With more people cycling the health and vitality of city populations can be greatly enhanced.
Traffic flow benefits
With more cycling the public transportation in most big cities will improve. This is because it will help reduce congestion on the roads, and therefore reduce the amount of time spent by commuters sat in traffic. In addition, cyclists are increasingly afforded the opportunity to take their bikes on public transport, or pick them up at stations.
It is estimated that by 2030, the UK economy may have lost as much as £300bn to traffic jams. This can be avoided if millions of workers around the country decide to go to work on their bicycles instead of spending an average of 124 hours stuck in traffic each year (expected to rise to 136 hours by 2030!).
En-mass cycling will also lead to faster access to services and facilities. A 10 minute bike ride to the cinema is often more like 45-minutes on public transport, when you factor in bus waiting times, stops and traffic congestion.
Fitness and social benefits
We are all busy these days. Most of us struggle to fit in time for regular exercise, even though it should be a top priority. The shift towards a more sedentary lifestyle is one of the main drivers for the rise in obesity that we have witnessed over recent decades. Regular cycling by many in the population will help improve fitness levels and reduce heart disease incidence. It will also help people save time and money spent in on the gym; so often wasted through lack of adherence to training goals.
Cycling also offers a great way to socialise and meet new people. Drivers in traffic don’t have the luxury of getting acquainted with one another, but it is very easy for cyclists to build a relationship with one another quickly. There can be great camaraderie on the roads.
With a culture of cycling, people can enjoy hours of fun without spending huge amounts of money. It only takes a good bike fitted with Tom Tom GPS to enjoy a healthy day of relaxation, or a speedier, less stressful, varied commute to work, switching up the route to keep things fun and interesting!
A “cycling first” mentality in a society offers so many personal, social, and ecological benefits. It is great to see Governments encouraging the bike culture through cycle2work schemes, and other incentives, but, as with all things in life, true change only occurs when individuals in society take personal responsibility for themselves; their health, their carbon footprint, and their contribution to society.