Cars vs. Bicycles: Which One is More Practical? And Where?

Posted by  | August 13, 2014 |
Originally published on Unhaggle.com 
Bike-vs-car

In the battle of cars vs. bicycles, cars are the resounding champions, but bicycles are becoming a preference for many young people. But let’s face it, bike-lovers, automobiles are the most dependable, practical and common means of transportation currently available, no matter how often you rely on your two-wheeler. Regardless of the weather, distance or climb, a car can get you places faster and with greater ease.

That being said, bikes can serve as the active, green and financially responsible option in plenty of scenarios too. With your lifestyle and geographical location in mind, we’ll take a closer look at the advantages and disadvantages of bikes, and see how they stack up against the modern automobile.

Cars vs. Bicycles in Cities

Let’s be honest, traffic jams don’t happen because of cyclists – it is the rise of the automotive industry that has nurtured this phenomenon into existence. In big urban areas, traffic is inevitable. So, if you don’t want to get caught in the doldrums of bumper-to-bumper traffic, ride a bike.

In densely populated areas, bikes are an incredibly reasonable choice for getting around – especially since the inception of bike lanes in many major cities. Gone are the days of bikers sneaking into the blind spots of vehicles or making risky maneuvers around moving and parked cars or pedestrians.

Remember that even though you are on a bike, you are still not above the laws of the road. While big cities are changing their philosophy and fostering the growth of biking communities, cyclists must also take responsibility while riding. Biking in the city may be an efficient alternative to driving a car a couple of blocks, but it can still be a stressful endeavour. But as long as you’re attentive and respectful, there is no reason you’ll be late or aggravating to others.

Cars vs. Bicycles in Suburbs and Beyond

Riding a bike can be a great workout, but if you live in a rural area or in a suburban neighbourhood far from where you need to be, a three-hour workout to and from the office or a cross-country trip to the store might not be something you want on a daily basis.

Canada is a big country and there are many smaller cities and towns where accessibility for bikes is limited to the endurance of the rider. Sometimes a dangerous highway separate two cities and taking a bike down those routes can be risky.

On average, a bicycle can travel between 15 and 30 km/h. If it’s a short trip, this sort of speed shouldn’t be a problem, but if you want to go a bit further, be sure to take your stamina into account.

Riders need fuel the same way cars need gasoline. A bad scenario for a biker is to end up between two points, too fatigued, thirsty and weak to continue. It’s important to challenge yourself now and then, but if you really need to get from the farm town to downtown, consider driving.

Costs

When comparing cars to bicycles, the price of each plays an instrumental part in making the decision which one to use.

An average bike cost is between $400 and $1,000. A higher-end bike lock cost is approximately $200, while a helmet can set you back another $100. On the other hand, a mid-size vehicle can cost around $800/month.

A reliable bike is expensive, but compared to a car, a cyclist can buy a new ride every month instead of paying to finance just one vehicle. And we are not even including insurance, fuel, maintenance and other expenses that go into caring for a car.

In terms of pure dollar bills, this is not a contest at all. There aren’t many ways to make it seem like cars are the more financially-feasible option. It just isn’t. So, if you want to save long-term money, pedal on.

Safety

In terms of safety, there are many variables going into both modes of transportation. When it comes to a collision between a cyclist and an automobile, there isn’t much to consider. But if we look at the statistics separately we might be able to identify which one is more prone to accidents.

In terms of accident rates per kilometre, bikes are 26-48 times more likely to get into an accident than cars. About 64 per cent of automobile-and-bike-collision fatalities occur in urban areas during afternoon and evenings. However, in 2009, bike fatalities only made up 1.9% of deaths on the road. The other 53.1% belonged to drivers; 19.5% went to passengers and 13.9% went to pedestrians.

On average, 60 cyclists in Canada are killed each year in a motor vehicle accident, which not that high when compared to the rate of deaths in car-to-car accidents.

Regardless of the vehicle, riders and drivers alike must take precautions. Cars and bicycles are dangerous and safe in different ways.

Other Factors

The invention of cars has changed transportation forever, but bicycles still come with many benefits that are often ignored due to the many benefits of driving a car.

It’s been proven that riding a bike to commute can enhance productivity as well as physical and mental health. Employees that bike to work are often more proactive with their duties and eager to interact with others. Although biking can be a laborious task, it can also boost your energy over time. Riding a bike will also increase a person’s stamina, physical endurance and help burn calories. Even if you have nowhere to go, biking is still a good option for exercising.

If there was a buzz phrase for our generation, it would probably be “go green.” If you want to reduce your carbon footprint on this planet, then go with bicycles. Even if you don’t drive a car, the process it takes to manufacture a vehicle takes a lot of materials and energy. Bikes are simple machines that don’t require a lot to function. So, even if you have a car, choose to take your bike out once in a while. If it probably wouldn’t be your first option, but it can be your second.

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