Bicycling is a great alternative to traditional, carbon-based transportation methods. As indicated by The Guardian, transportation emissions could be cut by more than 25% if each country raised its cycling rate to that of Denmark. It can considerably reduce an individual’s carbon footprint by replacing a previous mode of transportation that relies on the burning of fossil fuels with one that works from human energy and produces no toxic emissions, save the one-time manufacturing emissions produced in the making of the bicycle itself. The degree of reduction of a certain individual’s footprint is dependent on how heavily their previous mode contributed to global emissions. For example, if someone usually takes the bus everyday before switching to cycling, their carbon reduction would be less than someone who usually drives their own car everyday. Regardless, a move from any carbon-based mode to a non-carbon based mode will result in a reduction of emissions and positively impact the planet, however small the degree.
When switching to cycling, however, there are certain things to keep in mind, the most important of which is safety. Cyclists are at higher risk of sustaining a life-threatening injury in the case of an accident as opposed to other motorized vehicles. According to Russo, Russo, and Slania P.C., serious injuries associated with bicycle accidents include broken bones, head and neck injuries, spinal injuries, and even death. Evidently, starting to bike to work instead of driving does not mean you will be involved in an accident or sustain injuries as the result of one, but because bicycles offer less protection than cars, it is imperative to take certain precautions for your safety. Proper head gear, learning how to signal your turns, and putting reflectors on you bicycle will all help reduce your risk of injury. Given some of the potential risks, cycling may seem intimidating at first, but the environmental and personal health benefits make it not only a fun alternative to driving to work, but one that makes a positive and lasting impact on the planet.