America’s future is filled with many environmentally conscious car options. Every year, another car company releases a plan or statement committing to making vehicles with little to no emissions. Some cars on the market completely eliminate the need for gasoline, and run entirely on electric motors. An increasing amount of Americans have been able to beat this green car trend. This demographic is already commuting to work in an emission-free, fossil fuel-free, and nearly cost-free vehicle, which, believe it or not, has been around for two centuries. That’s right, these savvy individuals are riding bicycles. The truly impressive part of this movement is that more people are choosing bikes, and they’re choosing bikes over other forms of transportation like cars and trains. Within the past decade, the number of people who choose to bike to work has increased by approximately 60%. (1)
We have to admit that sometimes it simply isn’t possible to bike to work, after all, bike commuters in the US only make up .6% of all commuters. (1) Those who live closer to their workplaces in a city setting are much more likely to bike to work than those who live a rural setting. To put it into perspective, the median commute time is 19.3 minutes. (1)
Cities have been rapidly expanding their bike commuting options with bike share and accessibility to bike lanes to meet the raising demand. Bike sharing stations serve as a system of point-to-point transportation which allows you to pick up a bike from any self-serve location. (2) There are typically ten stations within each system, and they contain at least ten bikes each. Bike sharing stations were merely a novelty about a decade ago, but now there are at least 55 systems throughout the US. That adds up to a growing total of 42,000 bikes, as of 2016. (3) Since 2010, the expansion of the bike sharing stations occurred, there have been 88 million trips made on bike share bikes. In 2016 alone, riders took 28 million trips, which is comparable to the annual ridership of the entire Amtrak system. (3)
The percent of commuters who choose bicycles over other transportation may seem less than significant, but it is important to remember the large impact that a single car makes. According to the EPA, the carbon dioxide emissions from the tailpipe of a car from using one gallon of gasoline is about 8,887 grams. The average passenger vehicle produces about 411 grams of carbon dioxide from the tailpipe while driving one mile. This means that an average passenger vehicle produces 4.7 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year. (4) Having less cars on the road makes a huge difference!
America is following the path that many countries have already taken in lowering their greenhouse gas emissions from transportation. It is especially inspiring to hear that the biking rate has increased. One day we may live in a world with where every car is tailpipe-less and riding a bike to work is just as convenient as driving a car.