Research Recap, April 23: More Bike Lanes, Dangerous Mopeds, Costly Air Pollution

Portland, Ore. is the most bike-friendly major city in the United States. Photo by Corey Templeton.

Welcome to “Research Recap,” our series highlighting recent reports, studies and other findings in sustainable transportation policy and practice, in case you missed it.

More Lanes, More Bikers

Cities with a greater supply of bike paths and lanes have significantly higher bike commute rates—even when controlling for land use, climate, socioeconomic factors, gasoline prices, public transport supply and cycling safety, confirms a new study by Rutgers University. While it seems obvious, “previous research was somewhat scattered on this question,” The Washington Post says.

Dangerous Mopeds

Researcher Ross Blackman from Queensland University of Technology’s Centre for Accident Research and Road Safety – Queensland (CARRS-Q) studied the safety of motorized two-wheelers, comparing the safety of motorbikes, scooters and mopeds, which has never been done before. “Moped crashes appear to occur at a higher rate per registered vehicle and per kilometer traveled than motorcycle crashes,” Mr. Blackman said. “Approximately 1 percent of reported scooter and moped crashes resulted in a fatality, while 3.4 percent of reported motorcycle crashes resulted in a death.”

Costly Air Pollution

Particulate matter that is 2.5 microns in diameter and less (PM 2.5) emitted by the combustion of fuel is responsible for about 13,000 premature deaths in the U.K. per year, according to a new study published in the ACS journal Environmental Science & Technology by MIT researchers. They found that the leading domestic contributor is the transportation sector, which causes around 7,500 early deaths per year, while power generation and industrial emissions result in  about 2,500 and 830 early deaths per year, respectively.

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