Researchers have discovered a surprising benefit of separated bike lanes. A current research project has shown that cyclists on separated bike lanes are breathing a better quality of air than those pedaling on traditional roadside bike lanes.
The researchers measured the ultrafine particulate matter that is spewed out by motorized vehicles. They parked a car on the median dividing a separated bike lane from the cars, and measured exposure to the offending particulate matter on both sides. Effectively, they were comparing air quality in two zones that were separated by a mere few feet.
Amazingly, researchers found a significant statistical difference between the two zones. Hard to believe that a few feet could make a difference, but the findings were pretty unequivocal: air quality is better in separated bike lanes than in traditional roadside bike lanes. Also, the difference was even more pronounced when traffic volume was high. So the more pollution there was, the greater the benefit that was provided to cyclists by separated bike lanes. (And let’s not forget that pedestrians are even further away from the cars, so they are also being protected by the separated bike lanes.)
Cyclists are already taking a load off the health care system by keeping themselves healthier than non-exercisers. Turns out separated bike lanes will increase this benefit, not only by reducing injuries from cars, but also by reducing the amount of pollutants cyclists breathe in.
And of course, separated bike lanes are far safer, as well as more fun and relaxing. I wrote in depth about the benefits of separate bike lanes here. For some reason, this post was controversial and attracted some trolls, which I do not enjoy, and will not engage with. The video below makes the point that separate bike lane must be physically separated – painted lanes don’t work as many motorists ignore them. This video has had more than 18 MILLION views, and is pretty impressive.
The message is clear: use separated bike lanes whenever possible to protect your health. For more details about this research, see this great blog post.
Thanks: My thanks to Janine for providing this link.
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