12 March 2008

Cyclists Can Breathe Easy

A Dutch study has proved, yet again, that the level of dangerous microparticles are higher inside cars than on bikes.

I posted about how Traffic Kills More People Than Traffic Accidents before, but this recent survey reconfirms the science.

Despite the air pollution it is healthier to cycle in traffic than sitting in a car. The levels of particles in the air are greater inside a vehicle than on the bike lanes. So even though a cyclist breathes in more air than a motorist, the concentration of microparticles is lower for the cyclist.

The health benefits of cycling greatly overshadow the harm caused by breathing polluted air, the study adds.

The study was carried out by Gerad Hoek from Utrecht University and presented in the magazine for the Dutch cyclist organisation, Fietzersbond.

If a cyclist wishes to avoid unhealthy particles, it is recommended that he or she avoids areas with heavy traffic and rush hour periods. In particular, avoiding trucks and scooters exhaust is of utmost importance. The scooter is the greatest polluter. A veritable microparticle factory, producing even more dangerous microparticles than even old trucks.

Perhaps parents who transport their children in cars could be penalised for doing so. Paying a Child Health Tax or something like that.

Michiel Slütter : 'Brommers zijn ultrafijn stofkanonnen'. Vogel Vrie Fietser no. 2. 2008, Fietsersbond, Utrecht

Ole Herten et al.: Skær 30 procent af forureningen. Cyklister nr 3. 2007, Dansk Cyklist Forbund, København