The Netherlands is an example for the world to follow
If everyone commuted as much daily as the Dutch do, it would save nearly 700 million tons of carbon dioxide annually.2, or 20 percent of the emissions of all passenger cars in the world. This is evidenced by a study conducted by a team of European researchers led by the Danish authorities, which has now been published in the professional journal. Nature Communications Earth and Environment. Denmark is also an example for the world, but the Netherlands is a slightly different example. The average Danes ride 1.6 kilometers a day, and the Dutch 2.6 kilometers.
“Going Dutch” It could make a significant contribution to the fight against climate change, say the researchers. Thus, you offset one-fifth of the global passenger car fleet’s emissions, which equates to nearly 90 percent of total carbon dioxide.2Emissions from a large economy such as Germany.
And not only the climate will help, but also the cyclist. Obesity is less common among adults in countries where cycling is common. There may be many explanations for this, but cycling certainly helps reduce this risk, the researchers say.
Bicycle production has grown faster than automobile production
The World Health Organization once defined the overall health impact of cycling, and expressed it in prevented deaths: 170,000 annually, worldwide. If the world were to follow the leading Danish-Dutch group, the health gains would increase to 780,000 prevented deaths annually. On the other hand, more cyclists will die in traffic: 160,000. But then you still have a profit of 620,000.
They are some rough calculations, not the core of this research. This team of scientists wanted to determine how bicycle ownership and use have evolved over the past half century. Because that was not known. Cars are registered and you can count them, but almost no country has an obligation to register or number plate for bikes.
So the researchers collected data from various sources, including bicycle production and bicycle trade, in order to paint a reliable picture of the evolution of cycling in sixty countries. Over the past half century, bicycle production has grown faster than automobile production: in 1962, just under 21 million bicycles were manufactured worldwide (compared to 14 million cars) and in 2015 123 million (compared to 69 million cars).
One bike for three people
The largest bicycle manufacturer in the world was the United States. Until 1975, when China took over. This was the beginning of the heyday of bicycles in China, which lasted until the mid-1990s, when the automobile also became a means of mass transportation in China. But there is still a lot of cycling in China.
The researchers estimate per capita bicycle ownership at 0.29. That’s a little too low for our standards, a one bike for three. The Netherlands has more than one bike per capita, Denmark and Norway go even further.
Going to Dutch can’t be everywhere
Now that says nothing about bike kilometers. With the vehicle, ownership reasonably matches use. This is not the case with bicycles, the researchers say. There are countries where almost everyone owns a bike, and yet a few kilometers are made, like the United States. For Americans, the bicycle is not a means of transportation but a sport and pastime. If you look at passenger transport, less than 5 percent of it worldwide is done by bicycle. In real cycling countries, such as the Netherlands, this percentage is over 20 percent.
Researchers emphasize that going Dutch cannot be done everywhere. In countries with an arid climate, it is absolutely not recommended to cycle for miles every day. Countries do not always have adequate infrastructure or are very inhospitable. In sparsely populated countries, the distances are long and the bike is not comfortable. But still, the researchers say, building bike paths, promoting bike use and education, and taxing car use can be good for health and the climate.
The Cabinet allocates millions for people to ride their bikes
Cycling is healthy, good for the climate, and reduces congestion on the road and on public transport. Therefore, the government allocates tens of millions of dollars to a national cycling plan.
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