Zwartz Talk

City’s Bike Lanes Pose Health Danger to Children

BIKE LANE Collage 01

City’s Bike Lanes Pose Serious Health Danger to Children
– by Scott Zwartz
Sunday, June 7, 2015

.     Young people’s lung are susceptible to the toxic impact of air pollution in Bike Lanes on major boulevards and places like the Hyperion Bridge. Environ Health Perspect. 2010 Jun; 118(6): 783–789. Published online 2010 Feb 25. doi: 10.1289/ehp.0901622 PMCID: PMC2898854 Research Commuters’ Exposure to Particulate Matter Air Pollution Is Affected by Mode of Transport, Fuel Type, and Route November 2003, Air Pollution and Children’s Health, Ca VEPA’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment      [Use of Hyper Links]

.     While all cyclists suffer from the toxic impact from riding along boulevards with high concentrations of air pollution, the young are at a much greater risk.

.     Nonetheless, Garcetti’s Mobile Pan 2035 [MP 2035] is urging parents and others to have children and teens use so called “protected bike lanes” along major boulevards. In the Atwater area, Garcetti and councilmember-elect Ryu are promoting Bike Lanes on the Hyperion Bridge despite the fact the City recognized that it has a viable option to construct Bike Lanes over the piers for the old Red Car.

The Myths and Lies of Garcettism ©

.     Zwartz Talk would not bring Garcettism© into this discussion without evidence of his Mobility Plan 2035’s conscious deception to mislead Angelenos. Many Angelenos fall for the Myth of Bike Lanes in heavily trafficked boulevards because they are preceded with the word “protected.”

.     The word “Protected” diverts the public’s attention in two ways:

.     1. Like a magician who wants us to look over “there” while he does some stuff over “here,” the words “protected Bike Lanes” bring to mind the danger of accidents with cars.

.     2. That way The Mobility Plan 2035 misdirects our attention away from the significant Health Risks

.     The health danger of our children slowly accumulating fine particulate matter deep into their lungs is not as visually dramatic as their being run down by a bus, but it is real. Worldwide, studies agree that Bike Lanes should be away from major boulevards.

When Citizens Raised The Health Dangers,
The City Responded With Deceptions

.     When citizens did, however, raise the health danger in response to the Draft EIR, Garcettism© came into play. The City’s responses are in the Final EIR’s Master Response 4: Potential Air Quality Effects from Project. [Response 4]

.     The City’s responses are so far off the mark, that the best word to describe them is fraudulent. They are reminiscent of the Tobacco Industry’s claims that smoking is good for you. For example:

The studies reveal that pedestrians and cyclists experience lower fine particulate matter and CO exposure concentrations in comparison to those inside vehicles (the vehicle shell provides no protection to passengers). Final EIR for MP 2035, page 2-17

The Final EIR Response is Misleading:

.     1. The issue is not air inside vehicles vs outside vehicles

.     2. The issue is whether bike lanes should be on major boulevards or located away from boulevards on residential streets.

.    3. The study which the City cites, The Kaur Study, is based on The Netherlands which has a network of Bike Lanes which are already removed from busy streets.

.    4. The City omits the most important finding from the Kaur Study:

In general, the exposure studies examined revealed pedestrians and cyclists to experience lower fine particulate matter and CO exposure concentrations in comparison to those inside vehicles—the vehicle shell provided no protection to the passengers. Proximity to the pollutant sources had a significant impact on exposure concentration levels experienced, consequently individuals should be encouraged to use back street routes. Kaur Study Abstract

.     When one reads what the City wrote in its Response, it is maddening to see that they quoted the abstract right up to the point that the Kaur Study completely repudiated the idea that Bike Lanes should be on heavily traffic boulevards.

.     Because we are discussing the health of our children and pointing out the Myths and Lies of Garcettism©, we need to emphasize this intentional deception. The Kaur Study conclusion to keep Bike Lanes away from major streets is right there up front in the article’s abstract. There was no need to wade through a lot of science stuff. Right there was the article’s conclusion: “Proximity to the pollutant sources had a significant impact on exposure concentration levels experienced, consequently individuals should be encouraged to use back street routes.

World Consensus That Bikes Lane

Should Not be On Major Boulevards

.     In fact, the world has a consensus that Bike Lanes should not be placed on heavily traffic boulevards. There is no way that the Garcetti Administration could have inadvertently missed the worldwide agreement. Had Garcetti allowed the EIR to fully acknowledge the world’s decision on the location of Bike Lanes, there would be no Bike Lanes proposed for Reseda Boulevard, Sherman Way, Devonshire. Manchester, Venice, Westwood, Vermont south of Slauson, Martin Luther King, or the Hyperion Bridge.

.     Following is a sampling of the studies of which conclude that Bike Lanes should be away from major boulevards.

.     1. Environ Health Perspect. 2010 Jun; 118(6): 783–789. Published online 2010 Feb 25. doi: 10.1289/ehp.0901622 PMCID: PMC2898854 Research Commuters’ Exposure to Particulate Matter Air Pollution Is Affected by Mode of Transport, Fuel Type, and Route

Results: We found that median PNC exposures were highest in diesel buses (38,500 particles/cm3) and for cyclists along the high-traffic intensity route (46,600 particles/cm3) and lowest in electric buses (29,200 particles/cm3). Median PM10 exposure was highest from diesel buses (47 µg/m3) and lowest along the high- and low-traffic bicycle routes (39 and 37 µg/m3). The median soot exposure was highest in gasoline-fueled cars (9.0 × 10-5/m), diesel cars (7.9 × 10-5/m), and diesel buses (7.4 × 10-5/m) and lowest along the low-traffic bicycle route (4.9 × 10-5/m). Because the minute ventilation (volume of air per minute) of cyclists, which we estimated from measured heart rates, was twice the minute ventilation of car and bus passengers, we calculated that the inhaled air pollution doses were highest for cyclists. With the exception of PM10, we found that inhaled air pollution doses were lowest for electric bus passengers. [bold added]

.     2. 2011 Determination of Personal Exposure to Traffic Pollution While Travelling by Different Modes, National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research, Auckland, New Zealand

This research also makes it clear that the exposure of cyclists can be substantially reduced further by providing cyclists with spatial separation from vehicle exhaust, and that substantial benefits can be achieved by relatively small degrees of separation (5-10m) [16 to 32 feet]. Conclusion of New Zealand Study page 10

.     3. 2013, Oregon Climate Smart Communities Scenarios Health Impact Assessment

There is evidence that drivers and passengers of cars and buses are exposed to air pollution at levels similar to or exceeding those of pedestrians and cyclists [118 – 120]. There is also evidence that air pollution exposure is higher for pedestrians and bicyclists along busy roadways than next to roads with less traffic. A study underway in Portland has demonstrated that pedestrian exposure on a high – volume roadway is greater than driving exposure, but less than bus exposure. Travel along lower – volume roadways significantly reduced pedestrian exposure [121]. Oregon Study pages 31-32

.     While the Oregon Study focused on air-quality inside cars, it was able to extrapolate to people living, walking and cycling near heavily trafficked roads.

Those outside of cars may also be impacted, including residents of housing less than 300 meters (~1,000 feet) from a major road (more than 10,000 motor vehicles per day), and bicycle and pedestrian commuters along major roads. Oregon Study Page 32

.     Rather than inform the public that Bike Lanes along major boulevards pose a significant health risk to children, the Mobility Plan 2035 obfuscated this widely known fact. If the public knew about the health risks, it would not tolerate the construction of Bike Lanes in the worst possible locations.

.     4. Education Code § 17213 prohibits School within 500 feet of Freeway or major traffic corridor

.     Since 2003 California Education Code § 17213 prohibits a new school to be built “within 500 feet of the edge of the closest traffic lane of a freeway or other busy traffic corridor” unless there is no alternative. State law recognizes the health hazard of being close to a busy traffic corridor. Yet, The City plans to construct Bike Lanes in the busy, high pollution corridors which the State deems such a health hazard that schools have to be 500 feet away.


.     The worst possible place for a child to ride a bike is in a Bike Lane on a busy street like Reseda Boulevard, Sherman Way, Devonshire. Manchester, Venice, Westwood, Vermont south of Slauson, Martin Luther King, or Hyperion Bridge, etc. Garcetti’s Mobility Plan 2035 went out of its way to mislead and deceive people into believing that we should built Bike Lanes in the worst possible places.


.     The Mobility Plan 2035 is materially defective due to its fatally flawed data. Whenever significant new information is available prior to the adoption of the Final EIR by the City Council, the City has to redo the EIR or that portion of the EIR to which the new information pertains.

.     The Hyperion Bridge should have no Bike Lanes on the bridge itself, but instead the City should use the piers for the old Red Cars.


13 comments on “City’s Bike Lanes Pose Health Danger to Children

  1. Pingback: Morning Links: Hollywood bike parking becomes a homeless site; a blogger argues bike lane air is bad for LA kids |

  2. Guest

    Here you go, “Study: Separated bikeways mean better air quality for bikers, walkers”

    And protected bike lanes mean we can plant more trees, which surely is goof for the air (see pictures in the post)


    • scottzwartz

      Thank you for both articles. I would be interested whether there is any study of the air pollution on the Rosemead Bike Lane. At this point, my main focus is on the health of riding close to the auto emissions. Also, one needs to consider the LOS of the street and the the number of cyclists. The Hyperion Bridge for example would go from a LOS of B to a LOS of D — immediately — if one vehicle lane were removed for a bike lane. Cyclist, however, are only 45/100 of 1% of the bridge’s traffic.

      That information should have been presented earlier so that people could make an informed decision.


      • Coolguyz1234

        We don’t use LOS anymore we use VMT. So the LOS is not to be considered. Cyclists are such a such a small % of the bridge’s traffic because the is no bike infrastructure and because of the nature of the road which is a de facto freeway. If for instance there were wide sidewalks on both sides, big protected bike lanes and slower, calmer traffic then more people would use those facilities.


      • scottzwartz

        The City used LOS and we are accustomed to using LOS, but the City should also stay current. I cannot, however, use VMT (Vehicle Miles Traveled) when I can find no data on the Bridge’s VMT.

        Attracting more cyclists to the bridge would worsen the health hazard. The City needs to make a commitment to keep Bike Lanes away from the air pollution of vehicle admissions whenever possible. There is an alternative route for bicycles which the City should use.

        Because the City has withheld this material information from the public, the Hyperion Bridge Project will need a CEQA EIR. Hopefully, one thing citizens will learn is that wishful thinking and false data are very harmful to city planning in the long run.


  3. Private

    Your thesis is that cars poison kids therefore we should create more public space for cars. Did you copy and paste this from The Onion?

    I’ve also noticed that the sidewalk on Glendale between Riverside and Rowena is the same distance from traffic lanes as bike lanes would be from traffic on the Hyperion Bridge. For the safety of the children we should ban moms from using strollers on that sidewalk. Better yet, let’s just remove those sidewalks to add traffic lanes to protect the kids.


    • scottzwartz

      Did you take the time to read the hyper-links? Most likely not as you show no understanding of the science. when people materially misconstrue what has been written, I take that to mean they have no legitimate critique.


  4. Thank you so much for this important information. Kids are entitled to dirty air in the city, but they are undeserving of bike lanes.


  5. scottzwartz

    see also a follow-up article limited to the Hyperion Bridge


  6. Sergio Lamborghini

    Great article You dumdum.


  7. Salty Rick

    It is as if you completely ignore the concept of minimum criteria! Perhaps you have seen Field of Dreams, “If you build it, they will come”. Although it seems that you have probably been told all this before, but I will try and explain it in my own terms.

    The LA Streets are full of cars because the infrastructure was designed primarily for car usage. As a result the streets are virtually void of pedestrians/walkers and highly polluted. The high pollution rates are causing environmental harm and public health hazards (to children:

    Now, many people around the world have realized that we should reduce the use of single occupancy vehicles and replace that with buses, trains, walking, and bikes. However, in order to use those things we must build the infrastructure that supports it. This is why those sidewalks were so important. There are more than a dozen bus stops near that bridge and now it is harder than ever to access the stops on either side of the river. As a result, car use will likely increase and pollution will worsen.

    I’m not telling you what to care about, but if you care about decreasing pollution because of the harmful effects on children, then you should support increased non-car infrastructure at the vital links in the city.


    • scottzwartz

      The issue is whether Bike Lanes should be on major boulevards. The worldwide consensus is No. Thursday, June 11, 2015, Zwartz Talk, City Conceals Toxic Pollution Danger of Bike Lanes, Worldwide Consensus Against Bike Lanes on Major Boulevards Hidden form Angelenos, by Scott Zwartz


  8. Salty Rick

    Are you a troll?


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