Are children in bike trailers exposed to air pollution?
What could be more respectful of the environment than giving up the car to go to school and switching to pedaling? After all, we all know that active travel is key to a healthy lifestyle and will help reduce tailpipe emissions.
But one recent study by the Global Clean Air Research Center at the University of Surrey in the UK has warned that babies and children seated in bicycle trailers breathe more polluted air than adults riding the bikes that tow them .
The researchers found that during a typical school ride, the average concentration of coarse air pollution particles in a bicycle trailer is 14% higher than that of an average adult cyclist.
They also concluded that young children in trailers were exposed to even higher concentrations of air pollution at traffic lights.
The researchers concluded that concerned parents and caregivers can reduce their children’s exposure to pollutants by using a trailer cover. In fact, they estimated that the covers cut fine particle levels in trailers in half during morning rush hours.
American Lung Association National Assistant Vice President (Healthy Air) Laura Kate Bender said children are more susceptible to air pollution than adults, in part because their lungs are still developing until ‘during teenagehood.
Furthermore, she added that children inhale more air than adults, relative to their height, and they also spend more time outdoors, which again puts them at greater risk of exposure. air pollution.
Additionally, she said there are many studies that show how traffic pollution can cause asthma attacks and can lead to a wide range of other effects, including the onset of impaired function. lung disease, premature death and death from cardiovascular diseases and cardiovascular morbidity.
She said concerned parents can check the Environmental Protection Agency Online Daily Forecast for their domains.
“We definitely encourage people to use this resource, so they can be aware and modify their activities so they don’t exercise at polluted times if they can avoid it,” she said. declared.
“But this is a bigger issue that requires policy change at all levels of government, to tackle climate change and clean up the sources of pollution that are causing immediate damage to our health, such as transportation.”
Stephanie Klein, the Washington DC field organizer for Moms Clean Air Force, said she personally sees many parents driving their kids to school with bike trailers, and while some of those trailers are covered, others are not.
She said: “The idea that motorcyclists and their young passengers may be exposed to air pollution may not be on the minds of parents when they are on the road. Parents are probably focused on the physical safety, circulation, exercise and environmental benefits of cycling.
“One of the cool things we see at Moms Clean Air Force is that often when people become parents, they suddenly start to see how air pollution contributes to the climate crisis – a realization that compels them to speak. The stakes seem more personal, as they want to protect the planet for their children.
And she added that it’s important to remember that people who choose to cycle do so with good intentions.
“They generally want to reduce their carbon footprint and other types of air pollution like particulate pollution. They are not the ones polluting, but they are the ones exposed to pollution from other vehicles,” said she declared.
And as the weather slowly improves and spring approaches, the number of people looking for greener, more active means of transportation will only increase. Charlie Welch, CEO and co-founder of ZapBatt gets the chance to commute to work by e-bike along the Southern California coast.
“Ironically, the time it takes me to reach my destination via my e-bike is the same if not shorter than if I used my car to get there, and I don’t have to worry about the condition air while I ride,” Welch said.
“The creation of paths like these, where bad air is not a problem, is in the hands of the municipal authorities. In addition to creating more paths, safer battery regulations can be implemented and more inclusive micro-mobility road infrastructure can be built.