What would the US look like if everyone biked? Unless you’re an avid car enthusiast, this probably already sounds pretty nice. Over 37,000 people die in road crashes every year. If a cyclist is going to die in an accident it’s going to be one involved with a vehicle.
So already we know that our world would be safer. But it would be healthier, cleaner, and more beautiful too. Here’s why.
A Healthier World
Medical News Today published an article of the top 10 leading causes of death in the U.S.
The article starts out with the shocking announcement. These 10 causes caused 75% of the deaths in the U.S. and the top 3 accounted for 50%. What are these three major killers? Heart disease, cancer, and chronic lower respiratory disease. Accidents ranked number 4. You can read the full list here.
Smoking alone contributed to 80% of chronic lower respiratory disease deaths. Other factors were pollutants in the home and workplace or genetic factors.
The British Medical Journal found that biking commuters were 45% less likely to die of cancer. They’re also 46% less likely to die of heart disease. This study looked at correlation, not causation, but the findings are still remarkable. And it’s not the only study that came to the conclusion that biking can prevent both heart disease and cancer.
We cross-referenced well-known biking health benefits with Medical News Today’s list. Biking fights or prevents 8 out of 10 on the list. Our exceptions? Influenza and accidents.
This is in part due to the benefit of exercise as a whole, and not specific to biking. But the healthiest people incorporate natural activity into their daily lives. Their primary forms of exercise don’t come from punching a time card at the gym. Instead, they pick healthy alternatives, like taking the stairs or biking instead of driving.
So even if people stopped going to the gym, we would live in a much healthier world if everyone biked.
Biking Helps the Environment
The U.S. carbon footprint for 2016 was 5,170 million metric tons. Road transportation was responsible for 22.9% of that. That means if we didn’t drive, as a nation we would cut 1,183 MILLION metric tons every year. This would dramatically improve air quality. In fact, Copenhagen has the second cleanest air out of the major cities in Europe. It makes sense that over half the people get around by bikes.
So not only is better air quality good for the environment, it’s good for us too. Better air quality would prevent chronic lower respiratory disease.
For many people whose commute is too far, an e-bike would be a viable option instead. E-bikes have their environmental hurdles, they’re the best option for many people. And the CO2 footprint of an e-bike is still 100 times less than a daily commuter car.
We Would Have Prettier Cities
Parking lots are estimated to take up approximately 3,590 square miles of viable land. That’s the entire state of Delaware and Rhode Island combined and then some. In some cities, an estimated third of the area is just parking spaces.
Our wasted land on parking spaces is a severe issue. These ugly chunks of asphalt do nothing for the environment or a city’s aesthetic. Since parking spaces spread out businesses and residences, driving is most practical. It’s a Catch-22. You need parking because you drive, and you drive because there’s too much parking.
Parking lots spread out residences and businesses. This makes it impractical to get around for many people unless they drive.
If we were to replace all cars with bikes, we could get rid of parking lots. What would we do with this extra space? Anything! We can build parks and new businesses, or new apartment complexes or homes. And each of these new places would be a reasonable distance from nearby locations. This, in turn, would allow more people to bike, or even walk, from place to place.
And if everyone biked instead of drove cars, we would have less traffic on the road. For every single passenger car on the road, you can fit four bikes. We could have more scenic bike trails that naturally follow rivers and lakes or wooded areas. Furthermore, our cities would be quieter, more peaceful places to be.
What You Can Do Now
So why doesn’t everyone bike? We would be healthier, safer, and we would live in a cleaner, better world. What’s keeping people from biking? People for Bikes looked into that.
They found that the biggest reason people don’t bike comes down to safety. Many people don’t think that the existing infrastructure is compatible with cycling.
And unfortunately, lower-income households, don’t bike because they can’t afford it. Black and Hispanic people also worry about being targeted by police, which is a very real threat. Biking can create such a beautiful world. Often, police action against bikers of color is directly standing in the way of that.
And of course, bike as much as possible. Our world depends on it.
If Everyone Biked, The World Would Be a Better Place
If everyone biked, we would live in a healthier, safer, cleaner, more beautiful world. The top 10 leading causes of death would be completely rewritten with new ailments. Less of our valuable land would be taken up with parking lots, and our air would be cleaner.
Are you ready to replace your car? Talk to one of our Gurus about turning your bike into an e-bike today!