MythBusters claim cars are greener than bikes

TV's Mythbusters say bikes aren't as eco-friendly as you'd think

THE latest episode of US hit TV series Mythbusters has revealed that while bikes use far less fuel than cars they can't come close to matching them when it comes to exhaust emissions.

The show's hosts, Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman, tested three bikes and three cars – makes and models unknown – from the 80s, 90s and 2000s to see how they compared for emissions over a 20-mile course. And while the bikes easily won in the economy stakes and inevitably chucked out less CO2 as a result, they failed miserably on other emissions, the worst being carbon monoxide, with even the most modern bike on test pumping out more than 8000 percent more of the stuff than the equivalent car.

The results shouldn't be too surprising. Cars – particularly in America – have been subject to strict smog laws since the 1970s, with catalytic converters, exhaust gas recirculation and endless other devices to meet ever-tighter laws. Bikes, by comparison, have only recently been subjected to any form of emissions control and by comparison they're relatively lax. The most recent bike tested by the show was from the 00s and they're being coy about exactly what year or which model it was so it's not even possible to judge what emissions limits it was designed to comply with (and since the show has yet to be screened outside America, we haven't been able to actually watch it yet to deduce what bike it was). There's a chance that, had a more up-to-date model been used the emissions performance would have been somewhat better.

According to the Discovery Channel, the show marks a first for Mythbusters, as it is the first experiment in the series' history that it's produced publishable scientific results from one of its tests. Normally emissions tests are done while stationary, and this marks the first time such tests have been done on moving bikes in real-world conditions.

With bikes eventually due to meet the same emissions laws as cars in Europe, albeit not for several years yet, and the undisputed fact they're more economical than cars, eventually we may be able to sit back in a smug green glow, but right now it might be an idea to steer clear of arguing that you're saving the planet by riding a bike.

No news yet on when the show will be screened in the UK.