Bike vs. Electric Car: What’s greenest way to get to work?

Showdown between two-wheeler and environmentally conscious car

Using a bike is a way to lower our carbon footprint. But how does it compare to an electric car?

Using a bike is a way to lower our carbon footprint. But how does it compare to an electric car? (click to enlarge)

We all know that riding bikes is a great way to stay healthy — and help the environment. But what about a showdown between our beloved two-wheelers and an equally environmentally conscious electric car? The gang from the Global Cycling Network decided it was time for a showdown.

About the author: RoadBikeReview is an online community of cyclists who share a passion for the sport. Visitors of the site regularly purchase gear to upgrade their bikes, share inspiring photos of rides, and keep up to date with the latest industry and technology news. Which products perform best? Where to buy them? Where to ride? How to ride better? Cyclists come to for the answers.

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  • sturgl says:

    What? The only way an electric car could even equal a bicycle in terms of environmental impact would be if the cyclist drove a truck part of the way. All automobiles impact roads more heavily than bicycles. Electric vehicles, while quieter than gas or diesel, still pull energy from the grid. Depending on where you live, that grid is powered through environmentally sound methods, heavy polluting methods, or a combination of the two. Then you have the batteries, which are monstrously poisonous…

    • KJD says:

      don’t forget about energy and toxins used to produce the vehicle… just saying a 22lb pedal powered thing is way cheaper to produce than a 1800 lean mean electric machine.

  • Donald Gillmore says:

    Of course the bike is more efficient. It is so much smaller and lighter than any car.
    However for max efficiency, the rider should be commuting using aero bars.

  • Heffe says:

    The greatest environmental impact from a car is in the production of it – a quite significant industrial output. Obviously the bike also takes some industry but in the long haul the car dwarfs the bike’s minimal impact. The car also does not contribute to personal health. The car also involves fairly toxic materials in its batteries, electrical system, brakes, etc.

  • David Webber says:

    Sturgl, I tend to agree, the cars downstream footprint is enormous – all that steel and such in the car production – paint – seats – glass – spare parts – then those huge rubber tires; the human on the bike does produce more methane than the one sat in the car however…

  • Adam Smith says:

    The whole argument is specious. CO2 is good for the planet, and I don’t buy the global warming myth. Modern forms of power production, including coal, are very “green” with the exception of some nuclear plants. The production and disposal of manufactured products has very little environmental effect in the Western world. In China and many other countries, not so true. If you read the BBC, CNN, or many other agitprop outlets, you might buy into the doom and gloom. Even in the worst cases, such as the horror that is China, we’re hardly ruining the planet.

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