Today, the overall increase in population continues to generate widespread use of automobiles, leading to high levels of noise and environmental pollution. Urban areas are particularly sensitive to this issue, as they are home to 54% of the world’s population, and by 2050 this figure is expected to reach 68%, according to the
World Cities Report 2022
prepared by UN-Habitat.
As a result, greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise. The latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change(IPCC) warns that global warming is already at 1.1°C, close to the 1.5°C limit set in the
. In view of this, the United Nations has established the
zero emissions target
The goal is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by almost half by 2030 and reach “net zero” by 2050.
In this context, the bicycle is presented as a sustainable mode of transport that, by not relying on fossil fuels, produces no emissions and, in addition, brings numerous benefits associated with its use.
According to the United Nations, cycling is a key element in adapting to and mitigating the effects of climate change and in achieving the
Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
. On the one hand, contributes to cleaner air by reducing the use of combustion vehicles, reducing congestion levels, helping to solve mobility problems in cities and also reducing noise pollution levels, since more than 70% of noise in cities comes from motorized traffic.
On the other hand, the bicycle is also a versatile means of transportation, since it requires less space than other means of transportation. Thus, one parking space for a car takes up the same amount of space as 10 bicycles, so promoting their use helps to increase public space for other purposes, such as the creation of new green areas in cities.
In addition, in recent decades a decrease in the practice of physical activities involving mobility has been detected. According to data from the Revista Española de Salud Pública, total daily sedentary time has increased by more than 2 hours worldwide after the effects of the COVID-19 crisis, which increases the risk of obesity and cardiovascular disease.
Cycling is a moderate-intensity sporting activity, which has great health benefits. Thus, pedaling 20 to 30 minutes a day helps to improve cardiovascular health, prevent heart disease, increase lung capacity, lower blood cholesterol and reduce premature mortality. People who use bicycles as their usual means of transportation accumulate two hours of additional physical activity per week. Also, cycling contributes to improve mental health and sense of well-being by positively influencing mood, making it a good antidote to reduce stress and depression. For all these reasons, the commitment to this mode of transport contributes not only to improving people’s health but also to the promotion of a healthier planet.