Speeding or slowing down while you are on your bike or on foot might not be the optimal choice for your health, a new study conducted by the University of British Columbia (UBC) suggests. The study highlights that in order to minimize inhalation of air pollution, speed of cyclists and pedestrians needs to range between 12 and 20 kilometers per hour and two to six kilometers per hour, respectively.
“The faster you move, the harder you breathe and the more pollution you could potentially inhale, but you also are exposed to traffic for a shorter period of time. This analysis shows where the sweet spot is,” UBC transportation expert in the department of civil engineering and school of community and regional planning Alex Bigazzi says in an official statement.
“If you move at much faster speeds than the MDS–say, cycling around 10 kilometers faster than the optimal range–your inhalation of air pollution is significantly higher,” adds Bigazzi. “The good news is, the MDS numbers align pretty closely with how fast most people actually travel.”
To breathe the least amount of air pollution, pedestrians of both genders under the age of 20 should walk at an average speed of three kilometers per hours, the study suggests. The optimal speed for those older the 20 should at least be four kilometers per hour.
For cyclists, the speed of females under 20 should be around 12.5 kilometers per hour while males’ speed should range around 13.3 kilometers per hour. Cyclists with ages ranging between 20 and 60 should travel at an average speed of 13 and 15 kilometers per hour. The study did not examine the effect of being on an electric bicycle, however.