Whether you’re sticking to your New Year’s resolution to live a greener lifestyle or you’re tired of sitting in traffic during your morning commute, you’ve probably wondered once or twice in your life if riding a bike is more eco-friendly than driving a car. And, surprisingly, it’s a bit of a tricky question to answer. But once you’re armed with all the necessary facts and figures, you’ll be happy to know that two wheels is certainly a greener mode of transportation than anything with four. And you’ll have a new go-to cocktail party conversation starter...once those are a thing again.
To start, let’s go over the absolute basics. The act of riding a bike doesn’t produce any pollution (we’re talking both noise and energy pollution here!) and it doesn’t require the use of any fossil fuels. So, when compared to the average car, your beach cruiser or e-bike is obviously the more Mama Earth-friendly option.
And since most two-wheel styles weigh around 30 pounds, they don’t negatively impact our roads quite as quickly as a heavy car might. Not to mention, repairing a bike is much less minimal than an automobile, considering the hours of labor required, plus all the oil, gas and extra parts.
What about the carbon footprint of pedaling—that’s got to be better than putting your foot on the gas, right? That’s correct. The carbon footprint of riding a traditional bike is around 21 grams of CO2 per kilometer, because as you’re panting riding up a hill (or barely breaking a sweat on a flat street), you’re breathing out carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Turns out, riding an e-bike, like a Bluejay model, means you’ll be exerting less energy and, as a result, expelling even less CO2. By comparison, a car emits, on average, 123.4 grams of CO2 per kilometer. Want some stats in some units of measurements you understand? Well, on a mile-by-mile comparison, the average sedan’s carbon footprint is ten times that of a conventional bike, according to MIT graduate student Shreya Dave.
But wait, you’re probably thinking, my Bluejay is an e-bike with a battery! How does that affect this all? We’re glad you asked. E-bikes are still considered zero-emission vehicles, so you’re good to brag to everyone that your bike is, in fact, running entirely on green energy. The aforementioned battery that powers your bike is long-lasting—Bluejay’s 48V Phylion rechargeable, lithium-ion batteries are expected to last up to 500 full-cycle charges—and most can be recycled when they run out of juice. Meaning your preferred mode of transportation won’t add any additional waste to the world’s landfills.
Bikes and e-bikes currently contribute to 6 percent of miles currently traveled in cities around the world; if that number was bumped up to 14 percent by 2050, our planet would see a 11 percent reduction in carbon emissions.
So, while there was a lot of data and figures to get us to our final answer, we’ve finally come to a happy conclusion: Yes, it’s definitely more eco-friendly to hop on your bike than to jump in the car. Next up? Convincing everyone you know to get into the two-wheel life, that way the future will look even brighter and greener.