On the right track

By Kenia Cris

Cover image by Silvia Sabatini

Bike commuting is a lifestyle and a good evolutionary choice one can make to help keep the planet cleaner now and for future generations.

For every mile a person rides on a bicycle instead of driving alone in a car, about 1 pound of pollution is kept out of the air. Riding bikes for short-distance trips will reduce fuel use and transport-related greenhouse gas emissions, produce no waste and improve health considerably.

London, England – Annalaura Masciavè

A paper published this month in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health said that if New Zealanders cycled instead of driving for trips of less than seven kilometers there would be 116 fewer deaths per year. The country is among the ten with the highest obesity rates, but the suggestion to drive less applies to many others.

Despite the world being car-centric, authorities and non-governmental organizations in different countries have been working on programs and projects to encourage people to take greener ways to get to places.

Pescara, Italy – Tommaso Tuzj

– Groningen, in Netherlands, a model of continuous bicycle integration in transportation and land use planning policies for over four decades, boasts 37 percent of all trips by bike. Bikes have right-of-way over cars in areas with heavy cycling traffic and are given preference at traffic stops.

Barcelona, Spain – Riccardo Bandiera

– In Birmingham, a community-based project called Birmingham Bike Foundry fixes discarded bikes, teaches bicycle mechanics, and promotes cycling activities to members of the public, schools and businesses.

Birmingham, England – Alex Mason

– In Israel, the Nature and Parks Authority, some Israeli ministries, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and the Jewish National Fund are working together to sponsor and construct a 1,200 kilometer bike trail running north-south through the country.

– Mexico City government implemented in May 2007 its Ciclo-Paseos or “Cycle-Rides” program, making Sundays car-free from 7:00 am to 2:00 pm along a 14 kilometer circuit near the city center.

São Paulo, Brazil – Sabrina Fidelis

– The League of American Bicyclists created National Bike to Work Day holiday, which is celebrated on the third Friday in May to promote bicycle safety, bike maintenance, and health.

Woodland Hills, California, The US – Leia Starshine

Get yourself a cheap second hand bike through a bike shop, the Internet or a newspaper, if you can’t afford a new or modern folding one, and ride it toward the reduction of your carbon footprint. (Attention: bicyclists should always take safety precautions such as wear a helmet, ride with traffic, have lights and reflectors if riding in dark or twilight.)

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