When there is a discussion regarding sustainability in the context of transportation, the importance of riding a bike always comes up. Everyone knows that bike riding is better for the environment both now and in the long run, but the discussion of why it’s better never really comes up. These are just a few reasons why bicycles (especially in an urban environment) are a dream in terms of sustainability.
Improve Air Quality
Bikes are a “zero emissions” form of transportation. If they are used regularly and in place of cars/motorcycles/etc, they can provide the opportunity for entire cities to improve air quality and reduce their carbon emissions.
Reducing Noise Pollution
It’s often forgotten that air pollution can be beyond just emissions. Increased noise levels in cities are also pollutants. There have been studies that show that increased noise pollution can have long term detrimental effects on human beings. Children who come into contact with high level of noise pollution deal with communication, behavioral, and cognitive issues. Prolonged exposure to high levels of noise pollution are also related to tinnitus in adults, that can become permanent.
Can Contribute to the Restoration of Cities
Many cities face the issue of steadily decreasing state and federal funding. Making accommodations for the ever-increasing of city populations is becoming more of an issue with each passing year. Governments are slowly but surely turning to more sustainable means to manage their growth, and bicycling is becoming a part of that process. Cities with a limited amount of space to grow into (ie: Manhattan) must focus on building up their existing space. Creating walking or biking-only streets has been proven to increase the health of the economy of those areas. The car-free areas promote shopping and and interactive environments for families and pedestrians that would otherwise be impossible. This movement towards bikes as being the desired form of transportation can revitalize cities’ downtown (and residential) areas.