The European Cyclists’ Federation has taken the trouble to calculate just how far greenhouse gas emissions could be cut if we all followed their example.
And, they say, if we all cycled as much as the Danes – just 2.6km per day – transport-related emissions could fall by as much as 15 percent.
European targets call for transport emissions to fall by 60 percent by 2050, compared with 1990 levels. And, says the ECF, a quarter of this could be achieved by boosting pedal power alone.
The team carried out its research pretty carefully. They’ve not only taken into account the emissions caused by the production and maintenance of bikes, but even of the extra food people need thanks to all that exercise.
And, they conclude, emissions from cycling are over 10 times lower than those from using cars.
“Cycle 5km a day and we reach 50 percent of the target,” saysECF environment and health policy officer Benoit Blondel.
“The potential for cycling to achieve these targets is huge. And with such little effort. Getting more people on bikes is going to be a lot cheaper than, say, getting more electric cars on the road.”
The study also, sadly, backed up a recent assessment from the European Environment Agency that improvements in technology and fuel efficiency alone won’t be enough for the EU to achieve its 60 percent reduction target.
“If we’re serious about meeting these targets we’re going to have to change our behaviour,” says Blondel.
“It’s not about moving less. It’s about the way we move, and the transport choices governments make available.”