Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Are bikes environmentally friendlier than cars?

You would think the answer to that question would be obvious. Cars are much larger than bikes, burn fossil fuels, require a massive network of roads and parking facilities, etc. Yes there are environmental costs related to producing, maintaining, and riding bicycles, but it's difficult to quantify those costs. In the article in today's Post Health section, Are bikes environmentally friendlier than cars? Green Lantern runs the numbers., there's a discussion of the cost comparison.

Based on information from two studies, it's estimated that the carbon footprint of manufacturing a bike is around 530 pounds of CO2 emissions. According to the article, "...you would have to ride your bike instead of driving for around 400 miles to cover the bike’s initial carbon footprint."
Calculating the total environmental impact of a mode of transit, however, involves more than just the easy-to-measure metrics such as miles per gallon. To get a full sense of the comparative eco-friendliness of bicycles and automobiles, you have to consider additional factors, including their toll on the roadways, useful lifetime and maintenance costs.

Dave’s research went on to measure the full carbon footprint of commuting by bike using life-cycle assessment, the analytical tool that environmental consultants employ to compare products that are often very different. She concluded that an ordinary sedan’s carbon footprint is more than 10 times greater than a conventional bicycle on a mile-for-mile basis, assuming each survives 15 years and you ride the bike 2,000 miles per year (or slightly less than eight miles per weekday).


What about other ways to get to work? According to Dave’s life-cycle analysis, the only vehicle that comes close is the peak-hour bus — and it’s not really that close. A fully loaded bus is responsible for 2.6 times the carbon emissions total of a bicycle per passenger mile.



Post a Comment

Contact FABB via email: info@fabb-bikes.org

Subscribe to the
FABB e-newsletter

Subscribe to posts:
[Atom 1.0] or [RSS 2.0]

  Bike to Work Day 2015 at Wiehle Station

  Transportation choices

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?