Should you swap your car for a bike to reduce your environmental impact?

The true environmental impact of cars

Photo by Marek Szturc on Unsplash

So should you swap to a bike?

Photo by yichuan zhan on Unsplash

What are the common barriers to cycling instead of driving?

In an ideal world (or maybe just in the Netherlands) there are rows of workers swapping cars for bikes on the daily commute families doing the school drop-off with their tandem bike trailer, elderly couples still making their outings by bike — all with ample space dedicated to bikes and clear road signs. And there’s still plenty of space for pedestrians too, because walking is the epitome of carbon free transport.

Typical roads in the Netherlands

Are there any other options?

If you can’t make the switch to cycling, here are some alternative actions you could take.

  • Public transport. If you can make a journey by bus or train instead of by car, you’ll still reduce your carbon footprint drastically, simply because more people can fit on one vehicle.
  • Car-sharing. Instead of owning your own car, could you car-share for your daily commute? Or use the local car club car at the weekends?
  • Keep your old car. Unless you have very high mileage it’s usually more sustainable to keep your car for as long as possible, because manufacturing a new vehicle is carbon-intensive. This argument is true for electric cars too — you’re still better off keeping your old car until it’s no longer road-worthy rather than buying the latest electric model.

Ramblings on communication and our climate crisis🌱

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