May is National Bike Month! We hope this month’s quiz question got you revved up to ride, because we’re back with even more reasons to put feet to pedal this Bike Month.
You probably already know that there are some great reasons to get riding: cycling comes with some serious health and financial benefits, making riding a bike a natural stress reliever! But do you know how many pollutants you spare the air when you opt to take your bike rather than your car for just one ride? This month we asked you:
How many pounds of pollutants can be kept out of the atmosphere thanks to one four-mile round trip bike ride?
A. 4 pounds B. 10 pounds C. 15 pounds D. 20 pounds
The correct answer is C. 15 pounds Congratulations to our Green Quiz winners: Amy Frederick, Miranda Pratt and Danielle Tinker!
There are many reasons why cycling has stood the test of time. It’s a great way to exercise, it’s cost effective and energy efficient, and perhaps most importantly, cycling is a healthy, enjoyable and relaxing way to get around your community.
Motor vehicles produce a whopping 30 percent of carbon dioxide emissions, 80 percent of carbon monoxide and 50 percent of nitrogen oxide emissions in the U.S. And considering that it’s the shorter car trips that are the worst for generating pollution, this makes bike commuting even more feasible and beneficial!
Need more reasons to swap four wheels for two when you have the opportunity? Here’s a quick reminder of what your tailpipe lets loose when you drive your car:
Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colorless, odorless and poisonous gas. CO is produced when air-to-fuel ratios are too low during vehicle starting and when cars are not tuned properly. Nearly all carbon monoxide emissions in urban areas come from motor vehicles.
Nitrogen Oxides Exposure to nitrogen oxides can cause respiratory problems, including lung irritation and reduction in lung function. Nitrogen dioxide, a gas formed in vehicle exhaust systems, is 300 times more potent than carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas.
Particulate matter (PM) These are tiny particles found in air including dust, dirt, soot, smoke and liquid droplets. Fine particles pose a serious threat to human health since they accumulate in the respiratory system. Prolonged exposure to PM can increase one’s risk of developing respiratory diseases and problems.
Benzene is a toxic hydrocarbon present in gasoline and a common byproduct found in motor vehicle exhaust. Benzene is classified as a carcinogen since long-term exposure has been linked to the onset of leukemia. Short-term exposure to benzene by breathing or eating affects the central nervous system, causing dizziness, sleepiness, rapid heart rate, tightness of the chest, tremors and rapid breathing.
Sulfur dioxide (SO2) is a colorless gas with a pungent odor. Motor vehicles emit this gas by burning fuels that contain sulfur like diesel. Exposure to sulfur dioxide can cause breathing difficulties and obstructed airways and poses the largest health risk to children and asthmatics.
Greenhouse gases Carbon dioxide and other common greenhouse gases are also released in car exhaust. In the U.S., transportation emissions account for more than a quarter of total greenhouse emissions, making it the second largest contributing sector.
Ready to grab that bike yet? If you need a little more inspiration, check out the League of American Bicyclists for a listing of local events and cycling activities. And be sure to head over to Rails-to-Trails Conservancy’s TrailLink database to find some great rail trails near you.
Oh, and if you’re worried about being exposed to all of those nasty pollutants on your bike, turns out car commuters actually have it worse. Yet another win for bikes!