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By the Numbers: The Transportation Alternative

By Sarah C Greene
Aug 1, 2001 5:00 AMNov 12, 2019 5:37 AM


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A cheap, nonpolluting personal transportation device— better known as the bicycle— is enjoying a worldwide renaissance. After a three-year slump, global bicycle production jumped to 95 million in 1999, from 78 million the year before, according to the Worldwatch Institute in Washington, D.C. By comparison, nearly 40 million passenger vehicles were produced that year. Bike sales have increased in China, the European Union, and the United States. And while zero-emission electric cars have died in the marketplace, electric bicycle sales, according to Electric Bikes Worldwide, rose sharply to 2.1 million units in 2000. A typical car emits about one pound of carbon dioxide for every mile driven, so every auto outing replaced by a trip on a two-wheeler eliminates a lot of greenhouse gas.

Graphic is based on data from Vital Signs 2001, Worldwatch Institute.

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