There was a time in late 1970s when all the intellectuals would say, “everyone in China rides a bicycle, why can’t we? ”Then one day to their horror they realised everyone in China was now either driving a car or yearning for one and they started a new chorus, “let’s now drive a car as they do”. However, the 1970s refrain was the right choice and remains right even today.
Cycling is green because cycle doesn’t need a daily dose of diesel or petrol. All it needs is the power of your two legs. No diesel or petrol means, no toxic fumes in the air and consequently better air quality. Better air quality decreases chances of respiratory problems and contributes in the growth of better environment of the city.
Regular long and short distance cycling improves ones stamina and general health. This improvement in overall health is also a green dividend a person enjoys.
Another big advantage of cycling is it reduces traffic jams. In a space of one car five cycles can be accommodated. If a large portion of the urban society takes to cycling traffic jams will become a thing of the past and parking problems will reduce considerably.
As the speed of the cycle will never exceed more than 35 kilometres per hour (an average human can’t pedal faster than this), chances of fatal accidents will also come down.
Cycling as a means to commute has been picking up worldwide ever since the 21st century has begun. Europe has been at the forefront of this movement. Dedicated cycle corridors have helped people take to this mode of transport.
Copenhagen, the capital of Denmark, has 200 miles of bike lanes within the city which is used by 36 percent of the population (about 600000) everyday to commute.
There are many groups in every city that have taken up the cause of cycling and are blazing a trail for the others to follow. Many of the enthusiasts have created a benchmark for themselves and keep posting about their progress on their Facebook walls.
On an average they cycle 30 to 40 kilometres in a week. It means they are doing all their chores within a range of 3 to 5 kilometres riding on a bicycle. This is a great way to unwind, improve your health and contribute to a cleaner environment.
Cycling is “cool” and green way to commute. Even Dutch Prime Minister goes to his office on a bicycle. So those who think car is the ultimate symbol of material arrival and the bigger automobile they have, the better, can have a different perspective.
Keshav Chaturvedi is a media professional for the last 23 years. Recently the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting’s publication division brought out his book – Climate Change Negotiations: An Assessment. He was also the content head of the renewable energy magazine Energy Next brought out by IREDA. Presently he writes for the Financial Chronicle (the financial paper of Deccan Chronicle) and is the consulting editor at http://www.greencommunications.in. He also maintains a regular blog on sustainable development issues.