A December 2011 report by the European Cyclists’ Federation (ECF) quantifies the emissions savings of cycling compared with other modes of transport. It found emissions from cycling were over 10 times lower than those stemming from the passenger car. Comparing cars, buses, electric assisted bicycles and normal bicycles, ECF investigated how cycling could help the EU achieve its 2050 GHG reduction targets for Transport. According to the study, if EU citizens were to cycle as much as the Danes in 2000, (an average of 2.6km a day), it would help the EU meet more than a quarter of the targeted emission reductions for the transport sector.
Key findings include:
• Emissions from cycling are over 10 times lower than those stemming from the passenger car, even taking into account the additional dietary intake of a cyclist compared with that of a motorised transport user.
• E-bikes, despite their electric assistance, have emissions in the same range as ordinary bicycles. Considering E-bikes allows for 56% longer daily commutes and substitutes the car for 39% of trips, they have a huge potential to further reduce transport emissions.
• Bicycle-share schemes also have the potential to reduce further emissions, considering it is a substitute for motorised transport for 50-75% of the users.
• If levels of cycling in the EU-27 were equivalent to those found in Denmark in 2000, bicycle use would achieve 26% of the 2050 GHG target set for the transport sector
• With EU crude oil imports at 955 million barrels per year, EU citizens cycling at Danish levels would reduce EU oil importations by close to 10%.
• Achieving the EU’s objectives won’t be met via technology and will require ambitious plans which foresee an EU-wide modal shift away from individual motorized transport. A combination of improvement measures (i.e. more efficient (use of) vehicles, lower carbon-intense fuels, more efficient use of the transport system) will only deliver a 20% decrease by 2050, compared to 1990 levels.