It is interesting to look back and see how people switch from riding bicycles as kids to driving cars as they grow older. Once students finish high school and move to college away from home, their parents prefer them to use cars to drive back and forth from college and also for personal use. It is true that considering the general lifestyle of the people in the U. S. , the car is a necessity in almost every household.
However, if a comparison is made between the use of cars and bicycles based on key factors like speed, cost, door-to-door access, safety, ease of parking and the cost involved, impact on environment, health benefits, need for extra clothing, operation and maintenance costs and their impact on the community or society in general, bikes hold an edge over cars. Not surprisingly, there seem to be a lot more organizations today than in the past which advocate the use of bicycles. In the present day scenario of rising fuel prices, job losses, and housing crisis, people prefer to spend less time to commute to work.
Another fact worth to be noted is that more than half of them stay closer to work. Cars have a very high top speed but that’s irrelevant for most commutes, since most are slowed down by rush hour traffic. If a commuter is lucky enough to average 35 mph while driving to work which is 5 miles away from his home, it takes him 8. 5 minutes to reach his destination. A 25 mph average trip takes 12 minutes. Moreover, sometimes commuters need to look for parking spaces and then walk to their building which further adds their commute time. On a bicycle at 12mph, the trip would take 25 minutes.
Consider the fact that a person spends half an hour every day exercising or working out. While he is driving a car he does not burn any calories. That means he needs to spend 30 minutes after work exercising. If he is riding a bicycle he already gets exercise riding back and forth from work. He need not spend time in the gym. He saves costs of enrollment in gym and fuel costs every day. When other expenses like monthly car payments, oil changes, maintenance ; repairs, licenses, parking, and insurance are taken into account, he saves substantially if he rides a bicycle every day to work.
By the time he is old enough to retire, he can have enough money to buy another house for himself and his family. Cars emit several gaseous pollutants and are a principal cause of dirty air. Needless to say, the effects of such pollutants on plant, animal and human health is unsettling. Greenhouse gases emitted by cars causes global warming, which is not just a concern for the future, it’s happening right now. Overconsumption of oil means that more people will die as more wars are fought over an increasingly shrinking supply. Pollution by cars can cause urban smog and acid rain.
This can lead to lung cancer, cardiopulmonary disease, asthma etc. Cars have to undergo emissions test over a period of time, and might require maintenance, repair or replacement of certain body parts to keep emissions under check. Riding a bicycle is an excellent workout which helps a person stay in shape. He need not worry about emissions tests, as there is no emission of greenhouse gases while riding a bicycle. One of the reasons why people won’t cycle to work is because they get hot and sweaty by the time they reach work.
It is really not necessary to push oneself to the limit. The bicycle ride can be slow, pleasant and enjoyable. Additionally, the person can wear slacks and t-shirt on his way to work. Once he reaches work, he can change his t-shirt with a dress shirt. A person needs to plan his route in advance, and make sure you he wears a helmet and know the bicycle rules of the road. If the distance is prohibitive, many public transportation systems now offer ways for bicyclists to travel with their bikes and then start cycling when they are closer to their destination.
It is advisable that a person consider joining a bicyclist organization for connections, equipment advice and more information. If the bicyclist community doesn’t yet have a good network of bike paths, it can ask town planners to consider building them. Many bicycle organizations and communities with bike paths in place have bike path guidelines that can be useful for planning new ones. From point of view of safety, cars are a lot safer to drive on the roads than bicycles. To ride bicycles, people need to make use of the bicycle lane or alternatively the sidewalks by the roadside.
However, if met with an accident, the cost of repairs of cars is higher than that of bicycles. It is mandatory for the driver and the person in the passenger seat in front of the car to have their seatbelts fastened. On the contrary, except for a helmet, there are no other safety arrangements for people riding bicycles. In spite of all the convenience of using cars, it is observed that the number of people using bicycles for daily use is increasing in the US. People are a lot more educated and aware of the benefits of using bicycles.
Many would debate that cars are faster than bicycles, and hence stick to their guns about continuing to drive cars. However, there are still few who take advantage of bicycle riding based on factors like door-to-door access, safety, ease of parking and the cost involved, impact on environment, health benefits, need for extra clothing, operation and maintenance costs and their impact on the community or society. Both vehicles are significant to human beings in various ways; it is just a matter of choosing one over the other for their benefit based on circumstances.