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Bicycle for Earth's Sustainability Recycle

Transportation simply may be thought of as the act of moving people and/or goods from one location to another. From ancient times, transportation has a significant role in the development and survival of societies in various ways from military to economic purposes. Nowadays, with the increasing population and human interaction, the importance of transportation is increasing day by day. The history of transportation started with walking and diversified depending on the presence of other modes. Therefore, road networks have been designed based on the walking mode in the days of yore. Afterwards, depending on the developments and needs, the decision-makers have started to decide the features of the road networks in the following times. As a consequence of that, a brief history of transportation networks created as a result of transport engineering and planning can be shown in Figure 1.


Figure 1. A Short History of Transportation Networks Illustration

In today's world, the speed of change and social interactions are growing day by day, which causes transportation needs to increase by diversifying. As a result of this, decisions made by stakeholders about transportation have become more critical and complex over time. In addition, the scope and importance of parameters such as air and noise pollution, affected by these decisions gradually increased due to the need for a sustainable viable world. Furthermore, in order to ensure this sustainability, it has been understood that the efficient use of urban areas and the encouragement of nature-friendly transportation modes such as micromobility and active travel has been accepted recently. One of these sustainable travel modes may be considered a bicycle.


From those who can't afford a motorcycle or car to those who want to improve their physical health and maintain sustainable world conditions, people all over the world take extensive journeys using bicycles.Regardless of whether one cycles a short distance of 5 km or a long distance of 5,000 km, it is difficult not to be in awe of the remarkable engineering behind this seemingly straightforward yet impressive mode of transportation. Bicycles are available in a range of weights, spanning from extremely light options weighing 6 kg or less to around 20 kg, depending on the materials used and their intended purpose. Remarkably, even the lightest bicycles can effortlessly bear loads that are 15-20 times their own weight for extended periods. Despite the perception that bicycles are outdated, they have embraced modern advancements. They are now designed using wind tunnels and can even be equipped with exceptionally powerful electric motors. Bicycles have evolved into versatile machines capable of serving various purposes according to your needs. Moreover, they provide a straightforward and environmentally friendly mode of transportation, promoting cleaner and greener travel to benefit the planet. The benefits of cycling will be gathered into six different categories that are mentioned below:



1. Personal Benefits

In addition to serving as an efficient means of transportation, riding a bicycle is an enjoyable experience. Do you recall the sense of liberation you felt as a child while riding a bike? By embarking on a neighbourhood adventure, you can recapture that feeling of higher freedom and joy once again. Moreover, health professionals recommend a minimum of 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity every day. Bike riding provides a pleasurable way to stay active and offers various advantages linked to a healthy lifestyle. Choosing to ride a bike to work, school, university, or college presents a convenient and feasible approach to fitting regular exercise into a hectic routine.

Furthermore, participating in physical activity has a beneficial effect on your mental state and

bike riding provides various mental health benefits, including:

Diminished stress and anxiety levels

  • Encouragement of the brain to generate "feel-good" neurotransmitters, resulting in heightened happiness

  • Reduced likelihood of encountering depression

  • Enhanced sleep patterns

  • Increased levels of creativity and productivity.

2. Convenience and efficiency

Compared to motor vehicles, bicycles offer a distinct advantage in terms of predictable travel time, as traffic congestion is seldom an issue. Cycling provides convenience through the followings:

  • Enables door-to-door service, allowing you to park bicycles closer to your destinations than cars.

  • Often proves to be a quicker mode of transportation, particularly for distances under 5km.

  • The reliability of travel time by bicycle distinguishes it from motor vehicles.



3. Financial benefits

Maintaining and purchasing a bicycle costs around 1% of the expenses involved in maintaining and purchasing a car. Commuting to work by cycling a distance of 10km each way can result in saving roughly $1,700 per year in transportation costs, covering all expenses for running and depreciation. Furthermore, bicycle parking is usually free, conveniently accessible, and more convenient than car parking.


4. Mobility Benefits

Bicycles cause less damage to road surfaces than cars, and the creation of bike paths provides people with convenient and efficient routes similar to highways but at the cost of footpaths. Also, the estimated cost of congestion amounts to $5 billion per year. By increasing the prevalence of bicycles and reducing the number of cars on the road, congestion and its associated expenses can be minimized. Moreover, bicycle infrastructure has the potential to expand the accessibility of existing public transportation services. On average, there are ten times more households within a bike riding distance of public transport compared to a walking distance. Furthermore, a significant majority of car trips to schools can be easily accomplished by walking. Opting for biking or walking for these trips significantly alleviates traffic congestion around schools and improves safety for children.


5. Social and Community Benefits

Bike riding provides an affordable and independent means of transportation, particularly advantageous for individuals with limited travel options. It grants increased mobility to various demographics, such as low-income earners, unemployed individuals, seniors, and those under 18 years old, who have lower rates of car ownership. Additionally, the development of shared bicycle riding and pedestrian facilities not only benefits cyclists but also enhances the network of paths and road crossings for pedestrians and people with disabilities. Encouraging more people to engage in bike riding and walking within a neighbourhood fosters social interaction, nurturing a stronger sense of community and connection, leading to improved mental well-being. Moreover, having more bicycles on the road and fewer cars contributes to a safer environment, allowing children to ride bicycles safely due to reduced traffic speed and risks. By choosing to walk or ride a bike for transportation, individuals are more likely to support local businesses for their shopping needs, thus promoting community support. Overall, bike riding not only facilitates social interaction but also fosters a sense of belonging and connection to the local community.


6. Environmental benefits

Bicycle riding stands out as an environmentally friendly mode of transportation that minimizes the use of fossil fuels and produces zero pollution. By opting for bikes, there is a reduced demand for the construction, maintenance, and disposal of cars, leading to a more sustainable approach to transportation. Furthermore, choosing bicycles helps conserve valuable roadway and residential space, opening up opportunities to incorporate more greenery and plant life in urban areas. This shift promotes a healthier and more environmentally conscious environment, fostering a harmonious coexistence between nature and urban development.


Which day is a bicycle day? (Bonus Content)

In addition to the widely recognized World Bicycle Day, which is an official holiday acknowledged by the United Nations and celebrated on June 3rd, there is another significant event known as "Bicycle Day." This day commemorates Albert Hofmann's memorable bicycle ride, during which he discovered the effects of lysergic acid diethylamide, a psychedelic substance he invented. As it can be understood that bicycles have been a significant part of human lives since they were invented for various reasons from entertainment to travel. In addition to that they were a gate to the magical universe of chemistry for the remarkable scientist Albert Hoffman. Even though inventing lysergic acid diethylamide is a debatable topic whether it is a positive or negative scientific improvement it is an indisputable truth that bicycles can not only help to discover freedom's taste but also be environmentally friendly. Let's cycle for Earth's magical sustainable world.




References

  • Albert Hofmann’s Trippy Bike Ride (2023) Bicycling. Available at: https://www.bicycling.com/culture/a39763696/bicycle-day-albert-hofmann-lsd-psychedelic/ (Accessed: 04 June 2023).

  • Amsterdam calls for crackdown on menace of souped-up e-bikes (2023) The Guardian. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2023/jan/14/amsterdam-crackdown-souped-up-e-bikes-dangerous-streets (Accessed: 05 June 2023).

  • Benefits of riding (2020) Queensland Government. Available at: https://www.qld.gov.au/transport/public/bicycle-riding/benefits-of-riding (Accessed: 04 June 2023).

  • Colville-Andersen, M. (2018) Copenhagenize: The Definitive Guide to Global Bicycle Urbanism.

  • Dennisvdw (no date) Beautiful sunrise over Amsterdam, the Netherlands, with flowers, iStock. Available at: https://www.istockphoto.com/tr/foto%C4%9Fraf/amsterdam-summer-sunrise-gm516019979-48084840 (Accessed: 05 June 2023).

  • Here’s why we celebrate World Bicycle Day on June 3 (2023) EastMojo. Available at: https://www.eastmojo.com/ (Accessed: 04 June 2023).

  • Openai, C. (2023) Chatgpt - openai. Available at: https://chat.openai.com/chat (Accessed: 04 June 2023).

  • PenWin (no date) Dünya Bisiklet Günü , iStock. Available at: https://www.istockphoto.com/tr/search/2/image?mediatype=illustration&phrase=world%2Bbicycle%2Bday (Accessed: 05 June 2023).

  • Psillow (2023) April 19: Bicycle day. celebrating Albert Hofmann’s ‘problem child’, Psillow. Available at: https://psillow.com/articles/april-19-bicycle-day-celebrating-albert-hofmanns-problem-child/ (Accessed: 05 June 2023).

İsmail Furkan Çolakoğlu

He is a thinker who believes that civil engineering should be in every field of the building blocks of civilization and devoted himself to discovering sustainability balance in transportation, which is a substantial part of these building blocks. He is particularly interested in transport planning & modelling, road safety, sustainable mobility, and intelligent transportation systems.

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