Clean Up

Back in this gent's day, automobile emissions weren't really an issue.

Photo courtesy of Michigan.gov

On average around the world, you're three times more likely to die from air pollution than in an auto accident; and almost half of the pollution in our air comes from automobiles [source: UCF].

Bicycles, on the other hand, emit nothing. According to experts, if just 1 percent of the driving population switched to bikes, it would translate to a 2 to 4 percent reduction in mobile emissions [source: UCF].

Of course, emissions don't just affect the air. Airborne-pollutants fall to Earth with the rain, polluting groundwater and cropland, too. A move to bike transportation could help clean up the planet's air, land and water supplies.

Ironically, low-polluting cyclists are even more exposed to lead and carbon monoxide than motorists, because they're breathing in car exhaust. To avoid health problems related to increased exposure to air pollution, try to follow these tips [source: Hood]:

  • Get as far away from car and bus exhaust as possible while waiting in traffic.
  • If your hours are flexible, try to commute during low-traffic hours.
  • On especially bad air days, consider a face mask or taking public transit.

Up next, the most far-reaching, long-term benefit of switching to a bike.