Report: Bikeshare and Bad Air? How do they Interact?


By Charles Pekow — A vicious or virtuous (bi)cycle syndrome: biking instead of driving cleans the air. So the more people who bike in a city, the cleaner the air they breathe. But the fact that so many people drive rather than pedal makes the air dirtier and discourages people from biking. So how to turn the vicious circle into a virtuous one?

The researchers didn’t answer that, but they looked at the bikeshare program in Taiyuan, the capital of the North China province of Shanxi, a manufacturing town. The city runs one of the most successful bikeshare program in the developing world, according to the authors of Seasonal Analysis on Factors Affecting Bike Sharing Choice: With a Focus on Air Pollution’s Impact ( from University College London.

The authors reported “an increase in air pollution level has the expected significant negative impact on bikesharing only when the air is polluted at relative (sic) severe levels.” But opting to forgo bike-sharing on smoggy days also varied depending on users socioeconomic status and weather.

The study also notes that factors and policies in a developing country like China may not apply in wealthier nations.


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