In The Bellingham Herald on March 5, Republican Ed Orcutt correctly observed that bicyclists do make a carbon dioxide contribution to the atmosphere which contributes, however slightly, to global warming. To follow up on his alerting us to this seldom-cited fact, I found more disturbing news regarding our contributions to global warming. The data to follow comes from a Wikipedia article on metabolic equivalents. (Google it for yourself.) As compared to a cyclist pedaling at 8-10 miles per hour, which approximates the speed of commuters to school, work or grocery store, a walker traveling at 3 miles per hour produces 17.5 percent less carbon dioxide per minute than the cyclist. But for any one mile distance traveled by these two means of transportation, since the walker would require 20 minutes to cover the mile and the biker would traverse the same distance in 6 minutes, the walker would produce 275 percent more carbon dioxide per mile than the cyclist.
The discrepancy noted above leads to the obvious conclusion: if we wish to reduce our contribution to global warming, we should not be constructing sidewalks but should be building more bike lanes.
Richard C. Lewis