Cyclists vs. Drivers: Who is Exposed to Less Air Pollution?
Posted on By Emu Bikes,
It is estimated that air pollution is linked to 40,000 early deaths a year, with fumes from petrol and diesel vehicles being a major factor. However, a 2014 study by Healthy Air Campaign, Kings College London and Camden Council found that drivers were actually exposed to more black carbon than cyclists.
By fitting commuters with air pollution detectors, the study was able to find how much polluted air drivers, pedestrians, public transport users and cyclists were exposed to.
In video from The Guardian, researchers found that drivers were exposed to significantly more pollution than any other form of transport. This is because the drivers were continually stuck behind other vehicles for long periods; either in traffic or stopped at lights. This meant that fumes from the vehicles in front and behind were coming into cars and were getting trapped there.
Bus commuters were also exposed to more pollution then cyclists due to the same issue of fumes entering the vehicle and being unable to disperse.
The study on cyclists found that, as well often being the quickest travel option, being on a bike exposed the person to less pollution. This was because, unlike the car or bus, the air around them was never trapped and was able to quickly disperse.
To help reduce people’s exposure to air pollution, Gavin Thomson from Healthy Air Campaign said:
“I would ask people to plan their routes and try and stay off main roads, take quieter routes instead, or walk through the park, whether that is on their way to work or wherever they need to go. Also try and find the air pollution levels where they are spending most of their time.”