30 September 2011

Lies, Damn Lies and Myth-Busting Documentaries

I happen to come across this NY Times blog entry while looking out for news on th Vespa. The blog's title was an immediate eye-catcher sheerly because it didn't make sense. Surely the bike is far greener than the car?

Well, seemingly not. According to Mythbusters, bikes (and I assume scooters like the Vespa are included in this) are actually more detrimental to the environment than cars. Yes, according to their seemingly accurate, scientifically obtained data, although cars are obviously the more fuel-thirsty of the modes of transport, the bike actually causes more of a problem by producing a larger amount of noxious pollutants.

Myth, busted. Yay!

There you go. All those fools (yours truly included) riding around on their bikes and scooters in the cold and wet thinking they're doing their bit for the environment have actually been duped into believing an urban myth. But still, it didn't make sense.

So, I decided to apply a bit of logic using my own commute to work. I normally ride to work on my old PX125. Being a 2-stroke contraption, this Vespa definitely won't win any environmental awards. You don't need fancy emissions equipment and a white coat to realise that what's coming out the Sito Plus isn't actually noxious - you can actually smell it. Ah yes, nothing's more refreshing than the whiff of 2-stroke early in the morning, for about half an hour or so.

Half an hour?

Yes, half an hour and on a bad day, maybe 45 minutes. But, what if I drove? Based on previous experience, in rush hour traffic on a normal school day, it would take me at least an extra hour to get from the suburban Dublin into the city centre. Did the guys at Mythbusters take this into account? Wouldn't the extra hour of being stuck in traffic produce more pollutants from the cat? Yes? No?

I haven't watched the whole episode yet but I suspect this very basic but fundamental fact could've been conveniently ignored.

It doesn't make a difference to me though. I'd still prefer my Vespa any day over my shitty car.

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