Last year, we spent this day by reminding our community about the health, safety, and environmental benefits that come when there are fewer cars on the road.
This year, World Car Free Day comes the same month that we’re celebrating our half-millionth rider. With that milestone in mind, we wanted to take a look at the impact 500,000 riders would have if we all committed to spending more time on an ebike and less time behind the wheel of a car.
Every time someone chooses to ride their electric bike instead of driving, they offset approximately 400 grams of CO2 with each mile.
This is great news when you consider the wide range of uses for ebikes. Even if you’re not thinking about the environmental benefits when you hop in the saddle, that commute to work or weeknight grocery run can add up to a big win for the planet.
In fact, if all 500,000 riders used their electric bikes to replace just 100 miles throughout the course of a month, that would amount to saving 50 metric tons of CO2 every year.
To put that in real world terms, that would offset the annual equivalent of burning 663,846 pounds of coal, using 67,514 gallons of gas, and 72,985,588 smartphone charges.
As a community of electric bike enthusiasts, we have a lot of power (and not just in our motors.)
500,000 riders is larger than the population of Atlanta, Georgia or Cleveland, Ohio. If we banded together and asked for better cycling infrastructure, we would have a major economic impact both in our backyards and across the globe.
For starters, research from the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy shows that 34 jobs are created for every $1 million invested in bike lanes. In contrast, only 8 are created when you put that same amount toward creating more roads.
Stepping back further, fewer cars on the road can reduce congestion, which currently costs the U.S. freight industry $66 billion in waste each year.
And if we adopted a longterm perspective and imagined a world where 23 percent of trips were taken with an ebike, we’d see cities worldwide save $25 trillion within the coming decades.
Pretty impressive, right? And that’s all before we consider the smaller financial benefits that come with cycling.
(By the way, did you know that on average, you save about $16 for every hundred miles you ride instead of drive?)
More Ebikes, Less Traffic
We get it. There are times it makes sense to take a car. If your trip is over 45 miles or if you’re unable to physically ride an ebike, it may be the only option available.
But wouldn’t it be nice to have less traffic during those times that you absolutely have to drive?
A recent Carnegie Mellon study focusing on our home city of Seattle found that 48 percent of rush hour trips were less than three miles. Of those, 29 percent could be replaced with micromobility options, especially if there was a higher adoption of electric cargo bikes that can haul groceries or other necessities.
With a strong rider community, we can complete more of these short trips via ebikes and clear up the road for those who need it, like the essential workers delivering packages or responding to emergencies.
Want to see the impact you're making every time you ride instead of drive? Check out our emissions calculator!