ENVIRONMENTAL/ TRAFFIC CONGESTION BENEFITS OF CYCLING?

 

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  • Cycling is environmentally friendly as the mode of transport is silent and produces no emissions. By contrast, motorised transport is noisy, while its emissions reduce air quality and add to the “greenhouse” gases contributing to global warming.
  • Cycling can also reduce congestion and the journey times of other road users, particularly in urban areas. Businesses may be unwilling to be based in an area constantly beset by traffic congestion which can cause delivery and health problems and result in a negative effect on the local economy.
  • When compared with previous studies, the TRL research found that, “avoiding stress and congestion, rather than getting physical exercise and saving money, now appear to be more important factors”, as to why people take up cycling.
  • Noland (1996) found that for a perceived increase in safety of 10%, an increase in cycling of over 10% was observed. TRL found that, “general attitudes to cycling were positive: cycling was thought of as healthy, a way to relieve stress, and a good family activity”.

(McGrath, )  
Climate Protection

  • While a solo driver in an average car releases about 1.1 pounds of CO2 per mile, a bicyclist releases none. […]Even a Toyota Prius releases about .6 pounds of CO2per mile (see Figure 2).

Improved Safety

 

  • Increasing the number of cyclists on your streets can save lives. That is what Peter Jacobsen found in his 2003 report “Safety in Numbers”, in which he noted that “motorists adjust their behavior in the presence of people walking and bicycling,” leading to a reduction in the rate of collisions between motorists and bicyclists and walkers.
  • Recent data from the Portland Office of Transportation reinforced Jacobsen’s finding: cycling rates soared since the early 1990s while the crash risk per rider dropped by about 70% (see Figure 3).

(Cavill & Davis, 2008b).

  • Improved Air quality:
    • 24,000 vulnerable people die prematurely each year and similar numbers are admitted to hospital because of exposure to air pollution from particulates, ozone, and sulphur dioxide, most of which is related to road traffic. Air quality is often worse in more deprived areas and affects vulnerable populations more, exacerbating the symptoms of people with asthma, for example
    • It is often assumed that cyclists (and pedestrians) are exposed to higher air pollution levels than motor vehicle occupants because they are physically unprotected, […]However, in slow moving traffic, typical of rush-hour traffic, car occupants can be exposed to higher pollutant levels
      • “Cars offer little or no protection against the pollutants generated by vehicle traffic. Road users can be exposed to significantly elevated levels of pollutants as they are, in effect, travelling in a ‘tunnel’ of pollution.
    • Car drivers also suffer up to two to three times greater exposure to pollution than pedestrians in slow moving traffic
  • Danger:
    • It has been observed that the greater the motor traffic volumes the lower the levels of non-traffic street activity. This is not surprising since more motor vehicles means more noise and air pollution, and greater perceived risk for those on foot and travelling by bike,
    • A review of 250 20mph zones in England, Wales and Scotland found that crashes involving cyclists had fallen by 29%. In addition, crashes at relatively low speeds (20mph) tend towards less severe injuries and few deaths in contrast to those occurring at speeds of 30mph and above.

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