Environmental impact of Bicycle servicing (rough and ready)

Reading up on 'Environmental Impact Assessments’ for small businesses I’m wondering how best to calculate the impact of all the bikes we service.

First I’m going to see what I can calculate without Google. 2000 bikes a year. That’s a figure I know. Now for lots of assumptions..

Say each bike is ridden 50 times for an averaged distance of 4 miles. 2000 x 50 x 4= 400’000 miles. Wow I really wasn’t expecting that!

Maybe half of those journeys would have been by car? Perhaps less.. Other options — bus/train--still env impact or walk/not travel-no impact. Ok, I’ll go for a third then.

Now — what’s the impact of 133'000 miles less car travel. Less Co2, less traffic, less stress, fitter and happier population (waxing lyrical). Employing local people. Wider economic benefits inc supply chain.

That’s all very good but time for some facts and figures (Google returns).

Right. So for newer cars it’s 125g CO2/km. That’s (incredibly roughly) 26'000 Kg of Co2 that we are saving a year. But what does that translate to? Well basically not a massive amount in the greater scheme of things. As you would expect there are significantly varying opinions out there but this quote:

1 ton of CO2 does about $19 to $68 of direct environmental damage (3rd answer with source)

Means our Co2 reduction impact would equate to about £1000 — at the current exchange rate! Not an earth changing amount but not bad. If I sound a bit flat it’s because having just been reading up on this it’s made me aware of just how much of a challenge we have with Co2 production and air pollution.

The beneficial human impact however is felt in so many ways. As detailed in this excellent report — of which some of my favourite quotes are:

Only about 10% of all impairments through traffic are caused by accidents. The more serious problem is the risk from traffic emission which is supposed to be even three times higher.

&

The potential of danger through cars is enormous compared to the one of bikes.

&

companies which support cycling of their employees will profit from an increased productivity because of the improved fitness and mental wellbeing.

And from the National Geographic none the less:

“Bikers tend to be in good physical shape and are less likely to be obese than motorists. This means they typically use less energy on everything from transportation to food production.”

My favourite summary of the benefits has be from these guys at San Francisco Bay Bike to Work Day — excellent.

When you rely on a car for transportation, you are more likely to go further for errands and not rely on completely carbon free forms of transportation such as walking and bicycling. You support your local businesses when you get there by bike or walking.

Note: All assumpted figures come with a big caveat that that is what they are. Assumptions. V1.0 to come after the environmental impact. On reflection I think I may have been too conservative in my assumptions.