Using the bicycle has numerous benefits not only for people but even for the environment. The bicycle is one mode of transport that leaves a low carbon footprint unlike other transportations that travel by land. It is not a zero-emissions free transportation but is considered the lowest emitter of greenhouse gases per passenger kilometer traveled.
It is important to note, however, that the amount of carbon emission a cyclist can reduce also depends on what he or she eats. As the cyclist pedals his way through various routes, he or she also releases energy through the calories burned by his body during the activity. The amount of energy released normally depends on what the person has consumed before his trip.
Cutting Carbon Emissions
The healthier the food, the less energy is usually involved. Compared to cheeseburgers and bacon that leave a carbon footprint of more than 200 grams per mile, eating a banana before bicycling produces lower amounts of carbon at only around 65 grams per mile. Cycling using energy from cheeseburgers is the same as riding in an efficient car. Some other healthy food worth consuming include biscuits and cereals.
Other than the foods a cyclist eats to fuel his bike, the manufacturing and shipping of the bicycle frames and accessories also contribute to the carbon footprint.
A study done by the European Cyclists Federation (ECF) revealed that the emissions resulting from cycling (21 grams per kilometer traveled) are more than 10 times lower than those from a passenger car (271 grams per kilometer traveled). Another finding was the possibility of reducing EU oil importation by nearly 10 percent if only citizens in the European Union would cycle at the same rate as that of the Danish people.
Another research published in the British Medical Journal showed that bike sharing, similar to regular city biking, makes people healthier and cuts greenhouse gas emissions. The study that focused on Barcelona’s Bicing program found that bike sharing lowered the annual carbon dioxide emissions in the region by 9 million kilograms.
Worldwide, the top 10 countries recording a high rate of carbon emissions produce 67.07 percent of the world’s total. China, the U.S., European Union, India and Russia make up the top five list of countries with the highest carbon emissions. This is based on 2008 data gathered by the U.S. Department of Energy’ Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center. It covers emissions resulting only from the burning of fossil fuels and cement manufacture.
Image via worldwidecyclingatlas