Syndicate content

Cycling Is Everyone’s Business

Leszek J. Sibilski's picture

This post is also available in French.
“I’ve seen some of the highest performance bicycles in the world, but I believe the most powerful bicycle is the one in the hands of a girl fighting for her education, or a mother striving to feed her family.” 
- F.K. Day, Founder of World Bicycle Relief

  
The rainbow jersey, Giro d’Italia, Tour de France, or Vuelta a Espana—that’s what usually comes to mind when we think of cycling. However, elite cycling is only one small spoke of a much larger wheel.
 
By some estimates, there are already more than two billion bikes in use around the world. By 2050, that number could be as high as five billion. Over 50 percent of the human population knows how to ride a bike. In China, 37.2 percent of the population use bicycles. In Belgium and Switzerland, 48 percent of the population rides. In Japan, it is 57 percent, and in Finland it’s 60 percent. The Netherlands holds the record as the nation with the most bicycles per capita. Cyclists also abound in Norway, Sweden, Germany, and Denmark. The Danish capital, Copenhagen, is considered the most bicycle-friendly city in the world. It’s known as the “City of Cyclists,” where 52 percent of the population uses a bike for the daily commute. Bicyclist commuters are generally healthier than those who drive motor vehicles to work. They also remain unaffected by OPEC decisions about crude oil production or the price per barrel.
 
Due to the size of China’s population, and the need for bicycle transportation, statistics on the country’s bikeshare program are staggering. In a database maintained by Russell Neddin and Paul DeMaio, more than 400,000 bikeshare bikes are used in dozens of cities on the Chinese mainland, and the vast majority of those bikes have been in operation since 2012.  There are an estimated 822,000 bikeshare bikes in operation around the world. China, therefore, has more bikeshare bikes than all other countries combined. The country with the next-highest number of bikes is France, which has just 45,000.
 

For many years, the world has produced over 100 million bicycles per year. In comparison, car production oscillates at around 60 million units per year. Bikes are used every day and on every inhabited continent, in the most affluent nations as well as developing and the least developed countries. This makes sense; cycling is often the fastest, most flexible, and reliable way of getting around cities.

In Europe alone, 655,000 people are directly employed in cycling production, services, tourism, and other facets of the industry—more jobs than in mining and quarrying and almost twice as many that work in the steel industry. The European Cyclists' Federation has a very simple message for governments and local authorities: “You know that investing in cycling is justified from your transport, climate change, and health budgets.  Now we can show clearly that every cycle lane you build and every new cyclist you create is contributing to job growth. Investing in cycling provides a better economic return than almost any other transport option. This should be your first choice every time.”
 
According to the European Trade Union Confederation, the cycling industry is another example of the way that, with the appropriate investment, a transformation to a green, low-carbon economy can create jobs. Growth in the cycling economy should, thus, have a higher job creation potential than, for example, in the automotive industry, which employs three times fewer people per million euros of turnover.​
 
The bicycling industry not only providse economic benefits, but shifting trips from cars to bicycles helps reduce congestion, air pollution and CO2 emissions as well as improve riders' health. The value of the contribution of cycle use in Europe has been estimated at between €143-155 billion annually, with 80 percent of those benefits arising from reductions in mortality alone. Danish research found that the risk of death for daily cycle commuters is almost 40 percent lower than for non-cycle commuters, even after taking into account leisure transport and other physical activity (Andersen et al, 2000).
 
Should we who work in development pay attention to the immense popularity of cycling and the prevalence of bicycles? Does bicycle ownership offer the potential to enhance lives for people in need? Below is an example that the World Bank Group community might want to look at as we ask those questions.
 
World Bicycle Relief (WBR) is a nonprofit organization whose motto is, “Mobilizing People through the Power of Bicycles.”  Since 2005, WBR has distributed more than 200,000 specially designed, locally assembled bicycles to students, healthcare workers, and entrepreneurs across Africa, South America, and Southeast Asia. They also have trained more than 1,000 local candidates as field mechanics to ensure that bicycle owners have access to qualified maintenance.
 
According to the WBR, compared to walking, children and adults with bicycles are able to reduce their commute times by up to 75 percent. As a result, they have more time to study, are more productive, and experience less fatigue. With a bicycle, entrepreneurs can now travel four times further, carry more goods (load capacity is increased five-fold), and increase profits up to 50 percent. In schools where students were given bikes, attendance rates rose by an average of 27 percent and academic performance improved by up to 59 percent. Healthcare workers on bikes have also been able to visit more than twice the number of patients per day.

In South Africa, where there are 16 million schoolchildren, 12 million walk to school. Of these, 500,000 walk more than one hour each way, spending two or more hours getting to and from school each day. Undeniably, giving these children bicycles would have a positive impact.
 
And global leaders are taking note. Just last week at one of the world’s most exclusive gatherings, a challenge was issued: Bring the barrier of distance to the forefront of global development, presenting the bicycle as a solution. World Bicycle Relief, together with UBS, The UBS Optimus Foundation and the World Economic Forum, hosted The Davos Challenge: Walk for Education. Industry and political leaders were challenged to walk the same distance as a typical child walks to school each day in rural South Africa. For every six kilometers walked, UBS and UBS Optimus Foundation agreed to donate a bicycle through World Bicycle Relief to a young student in South Africa. Global leaders walked 15,000 kilometers and, as a result, WBR will distribute more than 2,500 bicycles. The impact for these students, their families and the surrounding community will be powerful and long lasting.
  
When the people of Copenhagen were asked why they choose to ride their bikes rather than ride in a car or on public transportation they answered simply “because it’s the fastest way of getting around in the city.” The bicycle offers an economic, comfortable, easy, and sustainable way of human mobility— for the rich, and the poor. It’s still a major mode of transport for many cities in emerging countries and could continue to be if encouraged as an alternative to the car. Walking and cycling represent up to 90 percent of trips in these cities, yet facilities for these modes constitute "less than one percent of the project expenditures" on transport at World Bank Group (Gakenheimer and Dimitriou, 2011, p 205).
 
Problems related to congestion in the cities of the emerging world continue to grow and will grow faster than any investment in new roads could match. India’s motor vehicle fleet is forecast to grow from 73 million in 2005 to 364 million by 2025 (Gakenheimer and Dimitriou, 2011, p 207. Investing in facilities for cycling as a clean, healthy alternative to motorbikes and cars will help reduce congestion and pollution.  It will also provide access to cheap transportation in countries where up to a quarter of a person’s income is currently spent on mobility.
 
The Sustainable Development Goals include sustainable transport, but presently the main focus is on public transport. With careful investment—including making sure there is a provision for bikes in every major transport project—the high levels of cycling in the developing world can be fostered and maintained. This offers huge potential for cost savings and reduction in carbon dioxide emissions. The World Bank Group already recommends the development of better infrastructure for cyclists, but too many schemes still only deal with increased motor traffic or public transport that is beyond the financial means of the poorest.
 
Bicycles for all? Certainly it is an idea worth considering. According to Tim Blumenthal of People for Bikes: “When people cycle, great things happen.”  Wouldn’t you agree?
 
Why don’t we at the World Bank Group start to consider finding a way to help people out of extreme poverty and into shared prosperity… by rolling on two wheels?


Follow PublicSphereWB on Twitter!

Photographs courtesy of World Bicycle Relief

Comments

Submitted by Tim Erson on

I love the analogy about the small spoke and the big wheel. Cycling is a wonderful and affordable idea that can give hope to many people who have need and who lack transportation to support their families. Thank you so much for bringing this important information to light. It makes me think that people in developed countries who have extra bikes in their garages should have options readily available to donate them to organizations that will distribute them where needed.

Submitted by Grilled Bear on

Haven't you heard of Bicycles for Change ? They are having a donation day at St Ives Showground next Saturday 28 th 11 AM to 3 PM . It has existed for many years .

Submitted by David Gorman on

Our "Bikes for Lesotho" project began sending used bikes to orphans and other disadvantaged people in 2012. There were less than one hundred bikes in the entire kingdom at that time. There are now a few thousand, mostly ours. There is no better return on investment than a bike. The cost to send, repair (in country), distribute and maintain each bike is about $30. Our bottleneck is funding (donations and grants) since we have an abundant supply of bikes in Chicago. You can find us on Facebook.

Submitted by Kennedy Ombat on

This is absolutely the way to go. The only problem is that most of the middle income and developing nations don't invest in infrastructure for cycling. With this kind of infrastructure, cycling becomes dangerous and the probabilities of one dying from cycling related accidents increase. A good start would be to invest in cycling lanes, cycling parkings etc. As World bank co-funds most of the infrastructure projects in these countries, maybe it is a high time they promoted the idea of cycling lanes and this will go a long way towards green energy and a healthy populace.

Submitted by Michael on

By promoting low cost, highly efficient bicycles rather than petrol powered vehicles with all of the problems that go along with them, more people can benefit more quickly and a stronger more stable society will result. Bicycles are sustainable technology, they are the smart way to go!

Submitted by Vera Campos on

En El Salvador, una mujer adulta, víctima de la violencia intrafamiliar, usó su afición por la bicicleta en su propia restauración económica y emocional

Submitted by Isabel Ramis @yayel on

Great article! I can't remember where I read: "the economic system will not promote bikes because bikes may change the economic system".
In Madrid (Spain) we are making steps forward for the cycling promotion through www.mueveteenbicipormadrid.com, but our society is too car-oriented. That shouldn't surprise us, It's been many years of very good commercials of cars...

Submitted by Johnny Chen on

Couldn't agree more!
"Investing in cycling provides a better economic return than almost any other transport option." The return of investing in cycling is very broad, not only economic, but also environment, health, and happiness of life! Thanks for promoting the importance of cycling to make this world better!

Submitted by Edson Millan on

Cycling should become a priority in our current society. This could ease the emission of gases and decrease traffic congestion. Along with that, the health benefits are very important for well-being of our society.

Submitted by Kathy Awkard on

I remember my first experience in The Gambia. west Africa in 1980 as a college student participating in an exchange program. Traveling through the country to the village where I would work, I was struck by a scene of a healthcare worker making his way on bicycle. What an amazing way to get from place to place enjoying the beautiful countryside I thought. Then, BAM, our transport hit one of the many deep and rugged potholes. Pulled over to the side to change the immediate flat tire, I then thought how tough it must be to maneuver on these roads in the back country by bicycle weaving around these potholes on the roads and dirt paths. I applaud ideas and programs that put bicycles in the hands of folks-- it is cheap, green, and a healthy means of getting around-- but it's most beneficial when the infrastructure is adequately developed to support the bikes. I agree that we should have bicycles for all. I just also think a smooth path on which to ride them is necessary too.

Submitted by Patrick Leckie on

Society have change rapidly over the years. with the increase in cars for transportation, we are polluting the earth. we take things for granted in the United States of America. our neighbors arcoss the globe are walking miles happy while we complain. the cycling should become a trend for America.

Submitted by hamish wilson on

Much of the world is "carrupt" (including where I'm at in Caronto, Ontcario), and bikes don't work for all of us at all times. But we need to bike local and thus act global to trim sins of emissions plus just get around in a simpler, better, faster, cheaper way than the mobile furnace/carcoon. Thanks for this.

Submitted by Joe L. on

I'm impressed with the statistics about children in schools! With nearly 30% increase in attendance, many more children will have improved chances for a healthy and productive life.

Submitted by Trevor on

This is a great idea depending on location. In the city bikes would be more efficient then cars and buses. In others it's faster and easier to use public transportation. As a society we desire to have a car more then any other method of transportation. As before great idea, but would be a real challenge to get people to change.

Submitted by James Saratis on

Using a bicycle more often than a motor vehicle is a very simple way people can reduce their carbon footprint and make their commute much more environmentally friendly. With the addition of the Captial Bikeshare stations in many areas around the DC Metro area, I feel that we are making progress towards using bicycles more than motor vehicles. This article cites many reasons why using a bicycle is much better for the environment and for the rider. More people should understand the benefits of using a bicycle and then we can increase the amount of people using bicycles!

Submitted by Adam Vasquez on

We need to change from cars to bikes. They're more economicly friendly than a car. More than half of the world's population knows how to ride a bike. More bikes=less carbon dioxide emissions.

Submitted by Chris Daigle on

Bicycling is by far the most sustainable form of personal transportation available. No pollution is produced. No paved roads are worn down. It makes no noise pollution. It is the only form of transportation that makes the operator more healthy when used.

Submitted by Maria F. on

Bicycling indeed can positively impact us all! I agree that bikes facilitates ones way to maneuver around in the city. It saves one money, helps our earth planet, less pollution will spread, and helps one's body to get it moving. In my parents' country, El Salvador, whenever I go to visit the majority of the people ride bicycles to the market, to school and to even church. It is just a faster and cheaper mode of transportation. It wouldn't hurt to give it a try.

Submitted by Maricruz Esparza on

I agree with the mission you and the World Bank Relief are trying to accomplish by providing bicycles to everyone. People fail to realize that riding bicycles instead of automobiles reduces the amount of carbon dioxide released into the air. Also, most third world countries don’t have access to cars, so providing bicycles for them will make their lives easier. In many congested cities using bicycles is the only means of transportation left in order to get around. Countries are used to walking therefore, everyone else should follow in their footsteps and begin using alternative means of transportation that doesn't hurt the Earth. The only challenge will be to actually change countries that depend solely on cars for transportation to switch to bicycles.

Submitted by Maricruz Esparza on

The quote by Antonio Garnero, “Let’s ride against climate change,” defines the reason behind the cycling movement. In today’s society global warming has affected the climate change all around the world and it is time the people do something to stop it. Getting the population to use bicycles will greatly cut greenhouse gas emissions and in return crate a better environment for us. It is inevitable the global temperature will continue to rise therefore, society has to do anything in order to reduce the amount of greenhouse gasses released into the air. Cities are experiencing more overcrowding and congesting thus producing more carbon dioxide, imagine if everyone there was using bikes instead. I agree that switching to bicycles is the way to go!
There are already countries around the world such as Norway, Sweden, Germany and Denmark who have the majority of their population using bikes instead of cars. There are billions of bicycles available throughout the world and more and more people are switching to cleaner means of transportation. Bicycles are the fastest way of getting around in cities and it is a reliable means of transportation. Bicycles are also inexpensive which means third world countries can afford them and have access to them. Organizations such as World Bank Relief help those in need by providing bicycles for them. These people benefit from bicycles because it makes traveling quicker and easier rather than walking.
The biggest challenge will be getting people on board for this mission because most depend on their car for transportation. However, soon enough bicycles will replace cars as a cheaper and more reliable transportation. Bicycles will be more efficient at helping people get around, and it will benefit all aspects of society. In the end people need to look into greener ways of moving around rather than leaving carbon footprints because the Earth won’t last forever. There are already people and organizations taking steps into promoting bicycle use and they should continue pushing everyone to switch. It will be difficult for first world countries to change because they are not used to bikes but with congestion rising I’m sure they’ll change. It’ll take time but at least people are doing something to help the climate.

Submitted by DukHyun Park on

Use your bicycle more often
Many people know about increasing bicycle users can reduce carbon dioxide in atmosphere, and many students, environment group staff, and charity members publish those issue to public. However, transmit meaning to public well. If we can give a new motivation and change awareness specifically, more people will participate to use bicycle than auto mobile.

Submitted by Ying Ma on

“When people cycle, great things happen.” I can't help repeating this sentence! Cycling is a magic sports. It gives you good workout,good mood, and meanwhile, less pollution to the environment. I am so glad to see that cycling is getting extremely popular in China these years. Trust me,as someone who hopes to be done with the air pollution,nothing is better than having a cleaner earth.

Submitted by Christian Bowman on

While cycling might be convent and help in some situations it is not a magic cure all. When a bike is used its peices get worn down and needs replaced like all machines, and so without proper matnance those 2500 bikes are going to be 2500 frames in the dump. All transport systems need a support system to help keep them running.

Submitted by Scott Montgomery on

Great facts in this article and as we sit in the rain (instead of snow) in Idaho this February it reminds me that for all the reasons noted in this story - we need to think about how we build a safe healthy world for the growing population. Driving off into the sunset will ultimately end the party for us all.

Submitted by DeCourcey Gascoigne on

Bicycling is a perfect way to stay green & lower the air pollution. It is also a perfect way to reduce the obesity in the United States plus other countries around the world. But this could also have its down fall, if places that you need to go to needs automotive transportation. which in today's society is mostly focused upon.

Submitted by Dukhyun Park on

Regular bicycling has health benefit, positive externalities, and pollution reduction. If we assign a new motivation and change awareness to bicycle users successfully, many other people will be interested and participate to use bicycle than vehicles. That will lead to positive environmental and economic effect in the world.

Submitted by Latvian Princess on

It's true that bicycling helps with climate change, but more emphasis should be put on the health benefits of cycling. The article mentions several positive health effects of bicycling.It states that children and adults who rode bicycles were able to reduce their commute time, which resulted in more energy, more productivity, and more time to study. World Bicycle Relief studied Health care workers who rode their bikes and found that they visited many more patients everyday. Danish research showed that people who rode their bikes daily lowered their death rate by almost 40 percent compared to those who didn't ride theirs. This article also mentioned that riding bikes reduces pollution, which is obviously healthier than more pollution. However, there are many more health benefits than just these.
A recent article from the Huffington Post (09/03/2014) lists some of the positive benefits from cycling. Cyclists are in really good shape. They burn over 500 calories per hour. Biking is an excellent way to get your heart rate up. Cyclists use a lot of different types of muscles including quadriceps, hamstrings, calves, and even your core. Biking doesn't put pain on your joints like running does. Cyclists have a lot of energy- more energy than those who don't cycle. Cyclists live longer due to the intensity of the exercise.
Many health organizations agree that cycling has all these benefits and more. This is very important to mention because it will motivate people for personal reasons, while it also works toward having a green planet. Let's start riding for ourselves and for our planet!

Submitted by Jamilet Machado on

Obviously bicycling is way more economy friendly than vehicles. Depending on where you live and where you want to go whether its far or close bicycling would be a better choice of transporting yourself to your destination. It's so impressing how more than half of the world's population uses more bicycles than vehicles.

Submitted by Viviana Sol on

I think its really hard for a society that is so use to driving cars to switch to cycling. But, if everyone started the movement to ride a bike then it would make the environment so much better. Cycling not only helps to save money but to stay in shape. There are many benefit that come from cycling. It would be great to see people bicycling everywhere.

Submitted by Rova 34324 on

Bicycles would be a great alternative to our dear four-wheeled friends (aka our cars). For traditional cities, and cities whose design allows this green mode of transportation, cycling could be a miraculous cure for our environment. However, for most industrial cities, such as the United States, this might not be the most ideal answer. Using cars might be so ingrained in our mindset, that this change would take decades and decades to be fully implemented. And accepted.

Submitted by Raquel Fuentes on

Cycling is so important around the world. I think cycling should be something us Americans do more. Just by reading how much healthier a person is by riding a bike daily is unbelievable to me. Just owning a bicycle is life changing for others. Lets find a way to change the WORLD!

Submitted by Raquel Fuentes on

Before reading this article, I saw a bicycle as a toy. It was something I would use during a nice summer day to play around with as a kid. I must admit that I am that person who looks for a parking spot nearest to the store just because I don't feel like walking much. It's straight laziness. It never crossed my mind how important a bicycle can be not only for me but for other people around the world. After reading this article, I now have a new understanding for cycling.
Cycling has become a big way of transportation for millions around the world. For cities that suffer from so much traffic congestion this is the way to go. Just by making cycling part of your everyday life not only do you help save our planet but your health as well. Its crazy to think that those who cycle have a 40% chance of living longer than those who don't. For those who live in poverty owning a bike is life changing. Its crazy that child in South Africa walk hours to go to school. I can only imagine how exhausted they are before their school day has started. Giving those kids a bike gives them the opportunity to have less of a commute time. Also. its nice to know that cycling will open the doors to many job opportunities for people.
Lets give cycling a chance. We can become eco-friendly people. We can reduce congestion, air pollution and CO2 emissions just by changing our transportation. Lets get our cycle on!

Submitted by Anonymous on

I think it's time we ought to do something with a long-lasting effect against climate change. We need to mobilize the people and spread the facts. We need to do less talking and more doing. The world isn't foreign to conversations intended to elicit passion for movement that would die down soon. I think and hope this movement against climate change won't end up in that lot.
There is great potential to tap and make great use of all around the world. We need leaders with initiatives that aim to guide these potentials to a better cause than ourselves.
The 'Bicycle' alternative to cars can do great deal of advocacy for this cause. Bikes promote healthy commute routine and life style. And they do so without emitting toxic to the environment. Although the motive of making bicycles all-inclusive transportation alternatives is rather abrupt and would be less favored by most, I believe officials and researchers can develop ways where setbacks with this aspect would be obviated.

Submitted by Pascal van den Noort on

I can only be happy with the general trend in your article. However, being a chauvinist Dutch, I would like to point out that your figures can work against you if not quoted properly. Copenhagen is certainly not the most bike friendly city in the world. Indeed 52% use their bike to go to work /school but that figure halves when one looks at the figure for all trips in Copenhagen which is 26%. My message: Yes! Cycling is a real tool for everybody, but don't burden this great potential with inflated figures. that others might abuse or be intimidated by. Velo Mondial is ready, from Amsterdam, to assist the World Bank.

Submitted by edson millan on

Cycling should become a priority in our current society. This could ease the emission of gases and decrease traffic congestion. Along with that, the health benefits are very important for well-being of our society. Recently, there has been an increase in healthy lifestyles. This agenda for cycling can be very convincing to the people aiming for a healthier lifestyle.

Submitted by edson millan on

Cycling should become a priority in our current society. Nowadays, there is an increasing value of fitness and being healthy. People are exercising more and eating organic foods. The new wave of people concerned with their health should also be interested in riding their bikes rather than driving.This could ease the emission of gases and decrease traffic congestion.
Cycling can become an interest for people that waste time commuting. Rather than sitting in traffic in the morning rush hours, they can just ride their bikes to work without worrying about being late to work. The levels of stress that exists in work can also be lowered because cycling can help ease stress. An increase in the amount of cyclists can also influence the community into pushing for more public bikes. This could also have a greater impact in the community.
The societal impacts are very important. Cycling can also contribute to society because this would mean less people need to stop for gas and road conditions would improve. The level of automobile accident related deaths would decrease because people would be more on their bicycles. In various countries, cycling has had a better impact on their society. This example in other societies should be followed to create a more eco-friendly world.

Submitted by Jhancy Diaz on

It is amazing to believe that one small object can make a whole nation change. It makes many nations join together to make a change. You would have known that riding a bike every day can be making change in the nation and not only in the nation but also in our self's. Riding a bike can save us a lot of money. The change has been made around the world. But we still need to expand the voice around other countries so that the change can continue. With bikes there is no harm being made to the environment, which means no pollution. This is a good way and helpful tool that transports you to many places.

The change can be made, the only thing we have to do is start. We need to expand the voice and let other people know the damage that is being made when we ride cars, buses, taxis. It can all work out and at the same time we can save a whole lot of money. We need to make a change now before it is too late. With all these cities where a lot of transportation takes place is where mainly the voice should be expanded. An example is New York city, this city is a big city filled with a lot of population of people that have busy schedules and sometimes don't even have time to be taking a bus, or cab. These are the ones we need to reach too.

Tell them about riding bikes how healthy it is and how helpful it is economic wise. It is a very helpful tool and get you to the place you want. It is amazing how in China is one of the most tools being used and over 40,000 people are now riding bikes around the world. The second country that is putting this for use is Paris. It is amazing how one small object can help in so many ways. It still transports you to your destination and you don't even have to stop for Gas.

The change can be made but it has to start with you to expand the word in our communities, schools, jobs, friends, and family. Do the change.

Submitted by Rova 34324 on

In a way, bikes bring to mind romanticized images of the past. When I think of bicycles, I think of the roaring twenties' incessant change and fast pace-life. A period where bikes were men's, women's, and children's best friends.
However, the clock is constantly ticking, and our society has since greatly evolved. Redesigning huge cities and mindsets to become bike-friendly again is one crushing task.

Submitted by Frederick Nguy on

Bicycling will change the way students go to school in South
Africa. I really support bicycling. This can save a great amount of time for students who walked to school and back in South Africa.It is an Eco-friendly way of transportation. It can Change the World.
These ways of changing life in Africa from hours of walking to mins in bicycling. The effects would be extraordinary. I grew up with always being in a car to point a to point b. I would agree that using a bicycle to go to school is healthy and avoids traffics. It is not polluting the world. It is easily to use. 50% of the world knows how to ride a bike. And out of those can teach others to ride a bicycle. We can start making a move from cars to bicycle with great push for Eco-friendly transportation.

Submitted by Judah Yoda on

I read this article a couple times and decided to talk to people about it. So I asked a friend of mine what he thought about cycling as a primary source of transportation. The answer I got was not one I expected but one I could understand. He said "sure, I would definitely ride a bike everywhere if I didn't have to worry about a 16 yr old hitting me and possibly killing me because he or she does not know how to drive". Recently on the news, there have been some cases where bicyclists died due to incidents with vehicles. And even though those cases aren't as relatively high compared to other cases, the information alone can change ones mind about doing something if their safety is at stake.
I feel like if there is an effective way to ensure the safety of bicyclists, more people will take the initiative because it is a very good one. Cycling is important in our climate change mission. Why? One reason noted from "Cycling For A Green Planet" is the bicycle's sheer global popularity and prevalence. People actually like biking and it's easy to obtain in many countries. What I don't understand is, why the U.S. isn't a big factor in this initiative. 37 percent of China's population ride bicycles, 48 percent of Belgium and Switzerland commute by bikes, 57 percent in Japan and 60 in Finland. Where is the U.S. data in this initiative?
I get the gist that not enough people are aware of the initiative #Sport4Climate or they just don't care. People seem to care only when situations affect them immediately. But this is something where if we wait for the situation gets to grave standards it'll be too late to do anything to stop. Humans and politics have a tendency to try to implement or fix something AFTER is has had bad effects. For once, we should change and improve our cause so our effect will tolerable

Submitted by Judah Yoda on

I found this article very interesting. I didn't know that bicycles were preferred as a global tool for commute. And to a greater surprise, I did not think it could be used as a means to improve our economy and environment. It's very smart and efficient. If people use the media in a responsible way to inform others about the initiative it can have a positive change for us all.

Submitted by Jimmy Vu on

Biking has been around for a long time it is one of the oldest ways to get anywhere. It is much safer than most other transportation. You also get a workout when you ride a bike. Another thing is if you get in a bike on bike accident it will be way less severe then a car on car accident.

Submitted by Sierra Larenas on

I didn't know that Bicycles were so popular around the world. Bicycles are easily one of the most beneficial tools to help the earth stay healthy. It is also interesting that bicycles can help our health in a variety of ways. I loved how the students in South Africa were given bicycles so they wouldn't have to walk an hour to and from school. Lastly about using bicycles in the city, I had never thought about how bicycles are the fastest way to get around them.

Submitted by Sierra Larenas on

I found this to be a very good article. I wasn't expecting to see the high percentages of bicycle users in other countries. It's nice to see that bicycles are very much depended on around the world, even in underdeveloped nations. I would have liked to know what America's percentage of bicyclers is because I don't see many people using them here. And I am somewhat interesting in learning how to ride a bike after reading this.

You brought up a lot of great purposes that the bicycle has that I didn't think about. I never thought about them being the fastest way to get around in cities, and that is probably my favorite quote from this article. I also wasn't aware about how big the bicycle industry is, and how many jobs can be provided from it. I agree that bicycles are extremely beneficial to the earth and our daily lives in multiple ways. And I loved how giving students bicycles improved their attendance and their academic performance.

However I didn't understand the Davos Challenge. Why did they give out one bicycle after six kilometers? The total was 15,000 kilometers walked and only 2,500 bicycles were distributed, but there are 500,000 students who walk to and from school. They should have given out way more bicycles. It was a nice event and a lot of people did get bicycles, but only a small portion of the group.

Submitted by James Saratis on

Let's face it, we (humans) are destroying our mother Earth. The planet that gave us life, we are taking advantage of and killing. We need to preserve our planet and environment. Not just for us, but more importantly for our children and future generations to come. So what can we do to help our environment? The answer to this question is very simple, use a bicycle instead of a car!

This article highlights a plethora of reasons why making a simple switch from car to bike will have major implications on the local and global environment. Notably, using a bicycle would greatly reduce a person's carbon footprint and would keep the rider in good physical shape. In another article written by Dr. Sibilski on the Connect4Climate website, Dr. Sibilski noted how the people in Copenhagen say that "[their] bicycle offers an economic, comfortable, easy, and sustainable way of human mobility - for the rich, and the poor." And quite frankly, the people of Copenhagen are 100% correct.

As for local efforts here in Montgomery County, the Capital Bikeshare program has started to make its way into MoCo and so far it has seen much success. The only thing that is holding back more cyclists in MoCo, is the lack of bicycle friendly streets. Yes, there are some bike lanes in a few neighborhoods, but if there was a way to safely install bike lanes on almost every road (most importantly Rockville Pike), then I feel that more people would be inclined to use the bicycles to get around because they are convenient, quick and most importantly, safe. There is a lot that we can do to change the world, and something as simple as using a bicycle more often than a car can, and will change the world.

Submitted by Cameron Grad on

While this article held some good information to it, I fond myself personally able to stand behind it for one simple reason. I myself cannot ride a bike I tried in the past, and couldn't get it down, I never have been able to ride a bike, and at this age, I don't think I'd be able to learn it.

Simply put, while the idea is wonderful, and has helped all of these people, I find myself unaffected simply because it is urging me to take part in something I am physically incapable of joining. How does that tie into this? How does that work? I don't really think it fair that I should be punished or looked down upon for something I just can't do.

Submitted by William C on

Bikes are a very good substitute for vehicles for city life. I believe that there can be a day where majority of people can ride bikes. But that will be a slow process getting there. It was interesting how the bike industry is still booming in some areas.

Submitted by Mark Schellhase on

This was an interesting read. I haven't heard a lot on this subject, but I feel as it deserves more airplay. I'm interested to do more research on cycling, particularly as it relates to global economic development. The environmental aspect of this discussion also can't be ignored, and as we see increasingly, can cause have real economic impacts within an economy. I look forward to seeing a greater focus on non-automotive transportation in the coming years, and I think articles like this one provide an excellent starting point.

Submitted by Maria F. on

The idea of cycling to help our planet earth sounds like a brilliant idea to me! Cycling is not only can be consider as a sport now but it can also be put into play in our daily lives. One of the best childhood memories anyone can have is remember the first time they rode a bike. It takes complete time and patience. Thanks to our parents, relatives, and friends we were able to learn how to ride a bike just like we learned how to swim. It takes baby steps to learn how cycle, just like how it takes to make our planet green.

I remember the different types of cuts and bruises I would get from learning especially since I learned at a later age compared to other kids. Cycling is not only a one person thing but it's something a family does together. I would remember my dad, my brother, and I grabbing our bikes in the afternoon and just have a stroll in the park. These were unforgettable and cherishing moments. Cycling in this case can be promoted to the family as a whole, which will just improve not only our well-being but also the planet.

In the city it's always hectic and takes eternity to arrive at your destination. There's people continuously crossing the streets, load of traffic everywhere you turn, buses on both sides which delays your commute especially in the morning. Cycling as you say, is a beneficial way of arriving to work, getting one's body fit, and minimizing pollution. This mode of transportation is cheap and harmless. It's definitely something the whole family can get together to do and have fun while at it.

I agree with you and I definitely support cycling as a mode of transportation we should all use more often. Other countries, like El Salvador (where my family is from), use bikes instead of cars all the time and I do not think it would hurt to give it a try.

Submitted by vineet on

Bicycling is one of the most efficient to travel around the city. It also has many benefits for environment and health. Some of the benefits include reduction in emission of carbon dioxide which is released cars and bikes, and helps improve bikers health. This reduces pollution in cities and making cities environmentally friendly. This results in more healthier population in cities.

Pages

Add new comment