December 20, 2017

Save 13,000 Lives, Save Billions of Dollars Just by Walking and Biking

The British  non-profit Sustrans has been examining governmental plans to increase walking and cycling and have figured out that if the plans are implemented within ten years, that 13,000 lives will be saved and nearly 9.31 billion pounds or 16 billion Canadian dollars still in coffers.
The CEO of Sustrans stated “The new findings reiterate that walking and cycling have a huge role to play in tackling the air quality crisis that causes tens of thousands of premature deaths every year. If we are to make a major modal shift, we need to provide a network of direct protected cycle routes on roads in addition to quieter routes across the UK.”
That’s an interesting thing to talk about protected bicycle routes, as air pollution in Great Britain causes 40,000 early deaths a year. The toxicity is mainly from diesel vehicles in the form of nitrogen dioxide. Many British towns and cities do not meet the WHO guidelines for mitigating air pollution, the most dangerous, PM2.5 coming from vehicle tires and brakes. “A report last month revealed that every area in London exceeds World Health Organisation limits for PM2.5.”
“Sustrans, in partnership with the environmental consultancy Eunomia, found that if targets to double journeys by bike and increase walking by “300 stages per person” in the England’s Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy were met, this would prevent more than 8,300 premature deaths from air pollution. This would result in £5.67bn in benefits over 10 years through the avoided costs associated with poor air quality, including NHS treatment in hospital for respiratory diseases.”  
Modal change from vehicles “to bikes, not diesel for electric” is the best way forward with even bigger savings if the wider impacts to health and well-being of physical activity were encouraged. This is the first time that Sustran’s data has been used with public health data to ascertain the impact of walking and cycling on a person’s exposure to air pollution.  “Our analysis suggests investment in cycling and walking has considerable potential to improve local air pollution. We believe this innovative model could be of considerable value in supporting local authorities and government as these bodies consider options to tackle the air pollution emergency at a local level.”

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  2. “WHO guidelines for mitigating air pollution, the most dangerous, PM2.5 coming from vehicle tires and brakes.”
    The next step is to ban tires and brake pads on bikes.

  3. I cycled 41 km on Thursday … Strathcona, Richmond, Kerrisdale. I may not have saved lives, or billions, but the trip was magnificent. How many motorists making this trip would say that? It would have been hell by car; and would probably have taken longer.
    Cycling after the storm was not without its perils – had to take some nasty busy streets because better routes were not clear of ice and snow, but overall was able to stick to Vancouver’s brilliant bike routes. Amazing to see salt on them. Even the Canada Line crossing had salt.
    The views on a trip like this are stunning, esp. with snow on the mountains. The foreshortening effect gives such a sense of immediacy.
    Not everyone can handle an excursion like this, certainly not after a storm, but there are a lot who could; who should have been marvelling instead of stressing in their vehicles. Living better. It takes time and experience and good equipment to get up to speed, but it is so worth it.

  4. It’s curious how people are ready to spend a fortune on vehicles but pittance on bicycles. If they’d spring for a quality bike with fenders and panniers, they’d ride it more. A bike without bags is not that useful.
    As you cycle more, car dealerships have less of a stranglehold on your life – fewer visits to smiley face service bay hell. A heads up re. servicing. You’re being screwed and manipulated. For the most part, you don’t need servicing; and if you use synthetic oil with the proper filter, you don’t even need an oil change for 15 km intervals. Follow the guidelines in the manual, not what the service sales guy says. His schedule is bs dealer profit. Read ‘How to drive it forever’ by Sikorsky; and ‘Don’t get taken every time’ by Remar Sutton. Don’t buy stupid and service stupid. Save your money and buy a good bike. This being hilly Vancouver, that means a triple crankset.
    I have bicycles from the major food groups: touring, racing, mountain, and cruiser. For the longest time I thought that the most practical was the touring setup and relied on this for years, carrying everything from bags of rice to beer. But I set up one of my mountain bikes with touring gear this past summer and have seen the light. No more worry about rough roads or flats. It’s the bike to have if you’re having only one.

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