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New research shows cyclists have lower exposure to air pollutants

Submitted by on December 20, 2011 – 9:09 pm

CAN

NZTA have released a new report from a project designed to “assess the comparative risk associated with exposure to traffic pollution when travelling via different transport modes in New Zealand cities”.

The good news for cyclists is that, as previous research in other parts of the world has already indicated, people on bikes are generally exposed to lower levels of air pollutants than people in cars or buses. The key results of this research are:

  • Car drivers are consistently exposed to the highest average levels of carbon monoxide (CO).
  • On-road cyclists are exposed to higher levels of CO, particulates (PM1) and ultra-fine particles (UFPs) than off-road cyclists.
  • Car drivers and bus passengers are exposed to higher average levels of UFP than cyclists.
  • At some parts of their journeys, travellers are exposed to very high levels of pollution, often for short periods of time.
  • Locating cycle paths just a short distance from roads can reduce pollution exposure significantly.
  • One hour of commuting could contribute up to 20% of total daily CO and UFP.
  • PM10 and PM2.5 are inappropriate indicators of exposure to vehicle emissions.

Download the full report here:

http://www.nzta.govt.nz/resources/research/reports/457/

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