Riding a bicycle can be a wonderful way to stay in shape, explore the world, and get around throughout the day. Most of us remember riding bikes with our friends, through nature, maybe even to get to and from work. Something you might not be aware of is that the forces and energy we create by riding a bike are similar to driving a Chevy Spark!

Every moving object in our universe possesses kinetic energy. Kinetic energy refers to the energy that the body carries by simply being in motion; we traditionally measure kinetic energy in joules (J). Both the human body on a bicycle and an automobile possess comparable kinetic energy under certain conditions, for example, right before an impact happens. When you’re bicycling, whether you are an experienced pro-rider or a casual one, your body uses the kinetic energy in order to move from rest, similar to how the Chevy Spark propels forward to move from rest.

Using the following formula, you can calculate the kinetic energy (KE) of just about anything:

KE = 1/2 *mv2

Where mis mass of the object and v2is its velocity, squared.  Right before an impact, let’s assume you’ve managed to reach a top speed of 63.1mph. Let’s also assume you’re 152lbs. If we convert these units into meters per second and kilograms, respectively, we get:

KE = 1/2 *(68.946)(28.208222) 27,429 J

Now, let’s look at the Chevy Spark which is approximately 2,246lbs or 1018.7685kg according to current specs. If we assume that the Chevy Spark travels at 16.4mph or 7.331456 m/s, then using the same equation gives us approximately 27,379 J worth of kinetic energy. The kinetic energy of both the pro-rider and the Chevy Spark is nearly equal to one another! 

Even casual riders carry formidable kinetic energy; their total kinetic energy could total approximately 6200 joules while a Chevy Spark traveling at 8mph will have 6192 joules. We outlined these equations to better explain how we arrived at these values, but also to highlight the sheer massive amount of energy that is involved and transferred in a collision. Understanding the forces at play during a crash, whether on a bike or in a car, is part of finding answers. That’s why our group, Windpact Inc., is passionate about the science and technology applied to safety solutions for any situation. Our team’s goal is to equip you with the latest knowledge from our painstaking research.

Well, what does this all mean? It means that the impacts of all kinds carry large amounts of kinetic energy right before an impact, whether it be a person on a bike or a Chevy Spark. Both bicyclists and automotive enthusiasts carry substantial kinetic energy as they move, and the resulting impacts can have lasting consequences on whoever is unfortunate enough to be involved.

We can all relate to that one friend who refuses to wear a helmet while bicycling; many people simply do not consider the forces and energy involved in even a casual bike ride. Impacts and crashes, when they do occur, transfer a ton of kinetic energy that can cause lasting damage to bones, joints, and organs. By outlining these examples, we hope to motivate everyone to caution that one friend who refuses to wear a helmet to reconsider and practice safer riding on the roads.

Share this Image On Your Site