Motorists and bus passengers are exposed to higher levels of air pollution than cyclists. But due to the physical effort riding the bike, cyclists inhale more polluted air, according to a thesis of Carla Ramos at TU Delft. Ramos was born in Portugal, and did her research in Lisbon.
They examined the levels of air pollution to which athletes, cyclists and motorists are exposed, on three main bike lanes in the Portuguese capital. It was concluded that motorists and bus passengers in city streets could be exposed to higher levels of pollution than cyclists in the same street. Because the exhaust from preceding cars and buses enters through the ventilation system into your own car or bus. Due to the physical effort to which cyclists are exposed, they often inhale more and therefore they suffer more by polluted air.
City planners should this into account when design cycling routes (fast bike lanes) and auto routes more distant. Bike lanes should not only be designed based on the shortest travel time or distance, but also on the degree of air pollution.