Only one in 50 new cars across the globe were fully electric last year in 2020, only one in 14 in the United Kingdom. This sounds encouraging, but even if all new cars were electric now, it would still take 15-20 years to replace the world’s fossil fuel car fleet and repair their damage.
The emissions that have the potential to be saved from replacing each of those internal combustion engines with zero-carbon alternatives will not feed in fast enough to make the necessary difference in the time we can spare: the next five years. Tackling the climate and air pollution crises requires curbing all motorised transport, particularly private cars, as quickly as possible.
The electric car industry has the potential to grow, but we need targets that are truly ambitious. Cycling is ten times more important than a new fleet of electric cars for reducing emissions, even in cities with populations over one million people, because bikes can be used by almost everyone and almost everywhere; they don’t rely on fossil fuels or electricity grids – just human power.
A key solution is to make cycling a viable option for all by making it safer, easier and more convenient than driving or taking public transport – in 20 years’ time we currently don’t believe that we could have ten times as many people on bikes, at least not without setting an initiative in place to encourage this. Especially if they are too scared of traffic and how they are treated on our roads.
We have to be realistic about what is achievable and not set ourselves up for failure. Here at Niccolo, we also believe that it is necessary to put a strategy in place that is balanced between the promotion of cycling, the design layout-planning process in our cities (including safe cycle routes), and encouraging people who are already using bikes that are in danger of stopping because it’s too difficult or dangerous in their area – we can’t forget this group! It needs protecting just like any other vulnerable road user such smart phones on cyclists’ heads being banned; wearing hi visibility clothing at night if they want their bike lights blocked out by drivers with headlights switched off, etc… This will make sure there aren’t more fatalities than necessary which would otherwise happen due to lack of protection given to them against increased danger posed from vehicles.
The history of cycling in our cities is one that has been largely forgotten. As a result, we are now making steps to revive it – but there’s so much more that needs doing… History tells us how important the bike was for getting around before cars were invented and what an amazing invention they actually can be if used correctly.
In Copenhagen, 35% of the population commute to work or social events by bicycle each day, with an average of 80km to 90km cycle routes available throughout their city centre. This means that people never have too far or too unsafe a journey home on two wheels. We already know that this promotes the healthier lifestyle that we have been encouraging throughout the UK for a long time now, and everyone knows exercise equals better mental health which means less depression/anxiety, not forgetting all those benefits from breathing clean air instead of the flux of fuels your average car will pump into the air around you – Alternatively, we encourage fighting for no pollution at all.
But the irony is that Denmark also has more electric cars than any other country in Europe. So why would cycling be ten times better? Well, while they might have a long way to go before achieving 100% renewable energy for their electricity grid (so far, they have only reached 34%).
The truth is that most cycling routes are already powered by renewables.
And the other big difference between electric cars and bicycles? Cycling doesn’t need expensive batteries to store energy, which means they’re much cheaper up front as well! Electric vehicles also have a shorter lifespan than bikes – so you can buy one car instead of ten over your lifetime if sustainability matters just slightly more for some reason (like not having enough land). As long-time advocates in favor or sustainable transportation options we believe bike lanes will be every bit worth it when our streets become cleaner without the grand amount of fossil fuels that are polluting them today, fossil fuels that predominantly come from burning gasmobiles constantly on their journey home.
Net zero should matter to all of us, even if our cities are already there.
Achieving it will take more than electric cars and sidewalks – we need to change the way that everyone gets around in order for net zero to be a sustainable idea. As things heat up outside with temperatures rising faster every year, climate activists have been scrambling trying find ways their city can reach its goals without compromising safety or quality-of water supply, as companies may also experience an increased risk from drought as they adjust resources away form irrigation efforts and towards meeting residential needs.
Cycling is ten times more important than electric cars for reaching net-zero cities. According to a recent study from the University of California, Berkeley and Princeton’s Environmental Institute entitled The Climate Impact Of Cycling In 2050: A Case Study From Copenhagen in Denmark cycling 60 kilometers per day creates 90% less C02₀ emissions than those corresponding with private car ownership does.