With the start of spring just days away, many of us are dreaming of warmer temperatures and the opportunity to get outdoors. One great way to enjoy the beauty and warmth of spring is by biking. Not only is cycling a great form of exercise, it’s also an easy way to help improve the quality of the air we breathe.
According to U.S. Census data, nearly half of all Americans live within five miles of their workplaces. For those who live close to work, choosing to bike, instead of idling in rush hour traffic, helps take cars off area roads and reduces the emissions that lead to poor air quality. Biking can also serve as an eco-friendly way to run errands and get around town when the weather is nice. Experts note that if just 1 percent of those who drive chose to bike regularly instead, automobile emissions would fall 2 to 4 percent.
On a larger scale, the actual production of bikes also has a much smaller impact on the environment than the production of cars. Each year, several tons of waste and 1.2 billion cubic yards of polluted air are generated each year through the manufacturing of cars. And during their lives on the roads, cars individually produce an additional 1.3 billion cubic yards of polluted air and create 40 additional pounds of waste from worn tire particles, brake debris and worn road surfaces.
On a more personal level, biking is good for both mental and physical health. It boosts endorphins, making cyclists happier. In addition, avid bikers tend to be in better, overall physical shape than those who don’t bike regularly. So, the next time the weather is nice, consider dusting off your bike and taking it for a ride. Your body, and the environment, will thank you for it.
For more information on alternative transportation options that can help reduce emissions and improve our region’s air quality, explore our website, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter @gatewaycleanair.