Car And Transportation Handbook – The Cyclist Edition!

Car and Transportation Handbook

I’ve gathered some very interesting facts about cycling, cars, pollution, and transportation as a whole.

There are some very curious facts, but unfortunately, a lot of the statistics are extremely disturbing.

Do facts and figures matter when it comes to undertaking a sport that has become your passion?

They do.

Not because you want to show off your impressive brain but because knowing what’s going on that relates to bicycling has the power to impact both your safety and your savvy.

On the lighter side, if you like playing trivia games, these stats could earn you bragging rights, so keep reading to see how much you already know!

Air Pollution

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Road transport is estimated to be responsible for up to 30% of particulate emissions (PM) in European cities and up to 50% of PM emissions in OECD countries – mostly due to diesel traffic – World Health Organization

Fresno-Madera-Hanford, CA and Bakersfield, CA are the two most-polluted metro areas by an average year-round concentration of PM2.5Quartz

More than 90% of people worldwide live in areas exceeding the WHO Guideline for healthy air. More than half live in areas that do not even meet WHO’s a least-stringent interim target for air quality – State of Global Air

Air pollution now causes more than 4 million deaths a year, and bikers are among the most vulnerable –VICE

4.2 million deaths every year as a result of exposure to ambient (outdoor) air pollution. 91% of the world’s population lives in places where air quality exceeds WHO guideline limits – World Health Organization

Air pollution led to one in 10 deaths in 2013, which cost the global economy about $225 billion in lost labor income. The amount is getting bigger and bigger each year – World Economic Forum

Only 14 million Americans use public transportation daily while 88 percent of all trips in the United States are made by car—and many of those cars carry only one person. Public transportation in the United States saves approximately 1.4 billion gallons of gasoline and about 1.5 million tons of carbon dioxide annually –ThoughtCo

Electric Vehicles make up 50% of the new car sales in Norway so far in 2019. Norway is making battery-driven cars tax-exempt and offering incentives such as toll-free travel, bus-lane access, privileged parking, and extensive charging infrastructure – Yale Environment

The economic cost of air pollution in Europe alone is estimated to be around USD 1.6 trillion. It includes the cost of human lives, the ability to work, affects vital products like food, and cultural and historical monuments – UNECE

Car vs. Bike Calculator – Find out how much you can help the environment ( and your pocket ) if you ride your bike daily.

Traffic Safety Statistics

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28% of cyclist fatalities in the EU countries occurred at junctions. Bicycles have the second-highest fatality share at junctions – ERSO

In 2016, about 2.000 cyclists were killed in road accidents in the EU countries, 8% of all road fatalities. The number is falling for 10 consecutive years from 2006 – ERSO

Cyclist deaths in the United States increased by 10% last year, while overall traffic fatalities decreased slightly. New York City is the most dangerous city to bike in, and cyclist fatalities are already 50% higher this year than they were in all of 2018 – Business Insider

Highway 99 in California is the most dangerous road in the States with averages 0.62 fatal crashes per mile. The four-lane highway from Wheeler Ridge to Sacramento is a NO-NO for cyclists – Best Life

Fifty-four percent of bicyclists killed in 2017 were not wearing helmets. However, helmet use among those killed has remained relatively consistent at 16 percent since 2010 – Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

27% of the cyclists killed on the road had been drinking. (Blood alcohol over .01 g/dl) 37% of the crashes involved either driver or cyclist drinking – NHTSA

1.3 percent of bike accidents result in fatal injuries vs. 3 percent result in fatalitiesLewis and Tompkins

Globally, ozone pollution has been estimated to cause more than $11 billion worth of crop damage every year – Young Champions of the World

The most deadly highway in the UK is the A6 with 70 fatalities per year. The second most deadly highway is the A5 with 67 fatalities ( 2012 – 2016 ) – Teletracnavman

Most of the Top 10 safest cities for cyclists are in California and other west coast states. DAVIS, California, and BERKELEY, California are the two safest cities in America – Your Local Security

The Dutch may set records for bicycle ownership, but the #1 safe bike-friendly city on the planet happens to be Copenhagen, Denmark. The nation even built a “Cycle Super Highway” connecting city and ‘burbs that offer riders “air pumps, safer intersections, and traffic lights timed to average cycling speed to minimize stopping.” Mentalfloss

Bicyclist deaths occur most often between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m., but places they occur differ: 75-percent happen in urban areas; only 25-percent in rural areas. Men’s bicycle death rates are 8 times higher than women’s as of 2017. NHTSA

Between 2008 and 2017, pedestrian/bicycle fatalities increased by 32-percent. During that 9-year period, total traffic deaths decreased by 0.8-percent. Pedbikeinfo

Denmark’s government is developing “cycle superhighways” that prioritize riders over car passengers. Included in this massive project are wide cycle paths and even dedicated cycle bridges. Denmark.dk

Energy/Efficiency

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Cycling is calculated to be the most efficient self-powered means of transportationWikipedia

A bicycle can be up to 98.1% efficient in terms of converting energy at the pedals into forwarding motion – San Diego Earth Times

Three fossil fuels—petroleum, natural gas, and coal—have provided more than 80% of total U.S. energy consumption for more than 100 years. In 2015, fossil fuels made up 81.5% of total U.S. energy consumption, the lowest fossil fuel share in the past century – US Energy Information Administration

Total life cycle energy use of the typical bicycle to be 60 kilojoules per passenger mile traveled (PMT): 51 kilojoules for manufacturing and 9 kilojoules for maintenance over an estimated 15-year life span vs 4027 kilojoules/ PMT consumed by a sedan. Walking is at 0 – Massachusetts Institute of Technology

When you drive your car 70 mph for an hour, you erase 20 minutes of your life and burn the equivalent of $35. Riding a bike for an hour adds 4.5 hours to your life and $100 of monetary gain is secured MrMoneyMustache

Cost of Transportation

The average used car ownership costs in 2017 are $8,469 per year or about $706 a month. The average cost of repairs, maintenance and tires is $99 a month for a new car. NerdWallet

London, Dublin, and Auckland are the most expensive cities for public transport. Forbes

Americans are working over two hours a day to pay for their cars vs. just 3.84 minutes per day to pay for their bike. This is not including the food ( calories ) for cycling. TreeHugger

Bicycle Sales and Popularity

Netherlands, Denmark, and Germany are the top three countries with the most bicycles per capita. America is lagging behind. Spokefly

The term bicycle is getting less and less searched over time on Google. This is definitely bad news for the bike industry.

Improving walking and cycling conditions can boost retail trade by up to 30%, devoting space to bicycles parking delivers five times more retail spend per square meter than car parking spaces. Forbes

Giant Manufacturing Co. Ltd. is the biggest bicycle manufacturer in the World. By 2018, Giant had sales in over 50 countries, in more than 12,000 retail stores. Its total annual sales in 2017 reached 6.6 million bicycles with revenue of US$1.9 billion. Wikipedia

Currently, two billion bicycles are in use around the world. The global bicycle market is $61 billion in 2011. Wikipedia

47 percent of UC Davis students ride bikes to campus. 23.9 percent drive alone, 18 percent commute by bus. UC Davis

Over the past 3 years, bike riding in the U.S. increased from “around 43 million to 47.5 million” as of 2017. The number of young adults riding bikes has remained stable at around 4 million. Statista

Ridesharing has become one of the best ways U.S. consumers can save money. In New York City alone, the city’s bike-sharing program recorded 16.4 million trips between 2010 and 2017. Statista

“There are more bikes than people in the Netherlands,” so while Americans use theirs for 1 of 100 trips, the Dutch use them 30 times out of 100. Want a free bike? Pull one of the 12,000 to 15,000 bikes dumped in Amsterdam canals annually out, clean it up and start riding. MapMyRun

Sales of electric bikes have become voluminous of late as drivers shift their allegiances from cars. Electric bike companies report difficulty in keeping up demands and waitlists for them to continue to remain extremely long. PPM

“Almost 50 billion e-bikes are projected to be sold globally in 2020.” Chinese customers are expected to buy 16 million of them. Statista

As of 2019, “Around 99 percent of bicycles sold in the U.S. are imported from China and Taiwan. Their average value has increased by 96-percent since 2000. Statista

The number changes with every worldwide sale, but if you want to know the number of bicycles sold this year, watch those numbers change by visiting this website.

Other Bicycle Facts and History

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So many bicycle parts are made in Taichung Chit, Taiwan, it has been called “The Bicycle Kingdom” since the 1970s. Workers produce frames, chains, pedals, grips, lights and computers at factories along the coast. Momentummag

Though the first bicycle-like device was created in 1817 by German Baron Karl von Drais, history notes that the first commercially-sold models (called Boneshakers!) were sold in Paris market in 1868. Early bikes were called velocipedes. BicycleHistory.net

It took more than 100 years to get the first bicycle to China. The nation is now home to half a billion bicycles available in all styles and models under the sun, which is why this nation is called “the world’s bicycle capital.” GBTimes

Women were finally able to ride bicycles in 1894 thanks to a fashion design that appeared in magazines called “Betty Bloomers.” Before that time, women were relegated to riding oversized tricycles! Brown.edu

Around the same time, women were warned not to straddle and ride bicycles unless they chose a bike with tall handlebars and extra seat padding. These two measures were recommended to prevent women from becoming sexually aroused when they rode. Annie Londonderry

Decades passed before the front and back wheels of bicycles were deemed too out-of-proportion to deliver a safe ride. In 1885, Brit John Kemp Starley perfected “the safety bicycle” featuring equal-sized wheels and a chain drive. History Channel

Before Orville and Wilbur Wright built the first “flying machine,” they ran a bike repair shop. Their iconic bicycle, named The Wright Flyer, was built in 1903. National Geographic Kids

In the early 1900s, 6-day-long bicycle races were wildly popular. Whoever rode the longest distance within that period was declared the winner-even if he was found to be exhibiting hallucinations as a result of getting no to little sleep. Wikipedia

In 1935, 25-year-old Fred A. Birchmore circled the globe by bike! He covered 40,000 miles (spanning continents by boat) and wore out 7 sets of tires! Smithsonian

In 1940, Jewish refugees Hans and Margret Rey escaped Paris on bikes just hours before the Nazis arrived. Within their possession was the world’s first original, illustrated manuscript for “Curious George,” the iconic children’s book. Wikipedia

When 60 military aircraft piloted by the Japanese invaded Malaya by air, a bicycle infantry was dispatched by boat – minus bicycles that wouldn’t have survived sandy beaches in WWII. The Japanese commandeered bikes from citizens (made in Japan) as they marched, making it a stealthy, quick invasion. Cilisos

While a bicycle can stay upright without a driver, it must be traveling at a rate of 8 mph to achieve that fete. Decrease that rate by only 1 mph and it will fall over without moving afoot. MWPolar

Yes, size matters. The smallest adult bicycle ever built ran on wheels made from silver dollars and the longest tandem bike on record was nearly 67-feet long and had 35 seats for cyclists. HowStuffWorks

It cost £1,000,000 to custom-design the world’s fastest bicycle and took over four years to complete the prototype. It has “a theoretical top speed of 250 mph and has such a high gear ratio that it can travel 150 feet for every turn of the pedals.” Independent

A psychological study of bicycle rider personalities was conducted in 2014. Doctors determined that bike riders have “a unique blend of intelligent generosity and the “cool” factor. ActionAid

Tour de France cyclists sweat so much, if collected, the sweat output of just one cyclist at the end of the Tour would be enough to flush a toilet 39 times. Active.com

The Guinness Book of Records includes many a weird record. One of the most bizarre is the one that recognizes the “Fastest 5 meters on a bicycle by a raccoon”! StriderBike

Over 66-percent of all families keep their bicycles outside on porches, patios, balconies and other locations. Only 30-percent bring their bikes indoors and stow them in closets, bedrooms and other rooms. BrandonGaille

If you want to pay homage to your bicycle, do it in May. National Bike Month, established in 1956, has spawned Bike to School Day celebrated on May 9th; Bike to Work Day on May 18th and Bike to Work Week from May 14th to 18th. The League of American Bicyclists

During the 1922 Tour de France, Philippe Thys won 5 stages but broke a wheel, Eugéne Christophe’s front forks collapsed, Jean Alavoine won 3 stages but lost 76 minutes with a string of punctures. Hector Heusghem was penalized an hour “for swapping a damaged bike that could have been repaired.” None of them won. Cyclist.co.uk

The first U.S. program to train bicycle designers and fabricators was launched at Southeast Minnesota State College. This two-year degree includes a requirement that every student build his own bike, taking the project from 3D printing and metal fabrication to mechanical design and making composites. Minnesota State College

Bicycle shoppers are picky about where they shop. Preferred stores are: Family-owned bike shops (87.8-percent); High end road bike, mountain bike, BMX bikes specialty shops (71.55-percent); urban stores (11.8-percent); women’s bike shops (9.8-percent); Custom boutiques (4.9-percent) and other retail outlets (18.6-percent). BrandonGaille

U.K. Cycling Coach Will Newton ascribes to the “10,000 hours theory.” His research and experience conclude that this is the number of hours a cyclist must amass to reach peak performance abilities. Cyclist.co.uk

Health Facts Related to Cycling

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Has your doctor warned you about elevated triglycerides and too-low-for comfort HDL cholesterol? A regular cycling regimen can reverse those numbers. Resperate

Consistent bike riding can help boost the immune system. If you’re plagued by flu and colds every year, this is your best non-pharmaceutical solution. Healthyway

Men who ride bikes are less likely to suffer from impotence, says cardiologist Michael Crawford. Myths about riding bikes leading to insensitivity in the genital areas are just that. BikingExpert.com

2 thoughts on “Car And Transportation Handbook – The Cyclist Edition!”

  1. A very comprehensive compilation of interesting data Alek.

    I live in an area which is mostly flat so cycling is a popular form of transportation.

    We do have mountains also and mountain biking is popular as well,

    Best wishes,

    Mike FD

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