Big Benefits, Tiny Footprints – Why Electric Bikes are Our Future
We travel and commute exponentially more than previous generations. With so much technological expansion, business growth, and urban immigration, our cities have become way more crowded, and the pressures on our limited resources and environment have greatly increased.
It might be difficult to measure our immediate negative impact on the environment. And we might never become zero-impact creatures. But there is something we can do to significantly reduce our everyday carbon-prints on our planet – without changing who we are at our core.
Movement is in our DNA
The human quest to be able to get from point A to point B – or just somewhere other than point A – is not a new one. Whether it’s to secure subsistence, get to know our surroundings or meet others, such territorial movement has been a part of our lives since the early days of our existence. We began to travel and commute for educational and even recreational purposes as early as classical antiquity, and since then our reasons for travel became multi-modal. So did our vehicles.
Today, car pollution is a leading cause of global warming and the reduced quality of urban air that we inhale daily. We can’t change our collective history, but we have the power to change our present and future.
The Level of Impact is Under Our Control
Most of us commute to work at least five days out of most weeks, also commute to meet our parents, friends, other loved ones, and to do all kinds of social and extracurricular activities. As urban souls, we are consumers, producers, creators, companions, and many other things – multi-faceted individuals who spend a lot of time on the go.
According to a study carried out by the European Cyclist Federation, taking the complete life cycle of each transportation mode into account, our approximate carbon emissions when using each vehicle are:
- Bicycle: 21 g CO2/km traveled
- Electric-bicycle: 22 g CO2/ km traveled
- Passenger car: 271 g CO2/ km traveled
- Bus: 101 CO2/ km traveled
It’s very interesting and crucial to note that the carbon footprint of pedal-powered bikes and electric bikes are almost identical.
The above are per person statistics, meaning:
Every day that you decide to ride your bike, you personally prevent a considerable amount of pollution.
The Ripple Effects of Our Actions
Vehicle pollution is more than just direct fuel consumption. It’s also about the indirect effects such consumption causes in other parts of the world, plus the ability recycle parts, the longevity of the average vehicle, its potential negative impacts on the human body and more.
- Extracting petroleum products from earth can damage local ecosystems, affecting animals, people, and even politics.
- Shipping petroleum is an energy-intensive process, and there can be oil spills, causing vast damage to oceans and waterways.
- While many car parts are recyclable, many others are disposed of as waste.
- Driving is a sedentary activity, which can affect your blood sugar, cholesterol, and cardiovascular fitness.
Electric Bikes and the Environment
As aforementioned, even electric bikes come with a tiny amount of carbon emissions. But this amount becomes negligible when we consider the fact that even when we walk or sleep, we emit carbon dioxide! We are built to create such an emission, in small amounts.
- Unlike cars, electric bikes do not cause any smog, carbon monoxide and other hazardous toxins.
- There’s considerable amount of time and energy saved by not circling around looking for parking, or sitting in traffic.
- In European countries, the collection and recycling of batteries, including those found in electric bikes, is ruled at the EU level, by the “battery directive” (2006/66/EC).
- The average yearly electric usage of an e-bike (1,600 kilometers/year) is equivalent to the electric energy used to power a medium-sized window AC unit for just one day. Plus, electric bikes come with the option to switch off the motor whenever you wish.
- When properly cleaned and cared for, the bike frame, arms, pedals, wheels and crank all last a very long time.
- Electric bikes are good for preserving joint health, by “flattening out” hills, and aiding those with pre-existing knee, ankle and wrist conditions.
With so much at stake, more and more people are acquiring and using electric bikes today. There’s a growing international movement, and we’re very happy to be a part of it.
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