Cyclists against air pollution?

Mark R
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Cyclists against air pollution?

Postby Mark R » 3 Apr 2014, 2:24pm

Some time ago I suggested that, given commuting cyclists innocent exposure to air pollution, cyclists who drive diesel cars should be rather ashamed of their vehicle choice.

At the time I was flamed for my suggestion! But now the issue has finally hit the mainstream so perhaps a chance to change a few minds?

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/apr/03/smog-diesel-dust-particulates-saharan-dust

http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/climate-change/smog-over-britain-air-pollution-will-get-worse-as-more-drivers-choose-diesel-powered-cars-9233853.html

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/environment/10739654/Air-pollution-What-they-are-not-telling-us-about-the-smog.html

AlaninWales
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Re: Cyclists against air pollution?

Postby AlaninWales » 3 Apr 2014, 3:04pm

Well, the diesel car I drive has one of the lowest CO2 emissions out there and is equiped with a modern particulate filter. Lumping all diesel engines together is rather misleading!

Ashamed? No.

Nevertheless, when I go to London, I park on the outskirts and cycle in.

Vorpal
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Re: Cyclists against air pollution?

Postby Vorpal » 3 Apr 2014, 3:05pm

How will being ashamed of my vehicle choice help anything?

The problem is not diesel engines. The problem is people driving motorised vehicles for personal transport. The problem is the level at which modern, 'civilised' people consume natural resources.

If every family went from two or more cars down to one, and commited to halve their driving miles, it would have far greater impact than almost any affordable vehicle choice.

While the UK remains largely dependent upon burning stuff to make electricity, electric cars are not much better.

Even if the UK could boast 100% sustainable electrictricity, there isn't enough capacity to power all the cars and everything else people do.

It is imperative to get more people out of cars, and onto other means of transport.
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redfacedbaldfatman
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Re: Cyclists against air pollution?

Postby redfacedbaldfatman » 3 Apr 2014, 3:52pm

The problem is the media using saharan sand as an opportunity to make the general public feel guilty about their lifestyle. Don't worry though, the sand will be gone tomorrow and all back to normal.

mrjemm
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Re: Cyclists against air pollution?

Postby mrjemm » 3 Apr 2014, 6:00pm

I drive a diesel car that's probably not the cleanest. I'd like to not have it, but as I spent a few thousand to buy it, and it's worth maybe around £2000 now, I am not just going to scrap it. And as long as I own it, I will use it, as it is hard not to; such a strong temptation, and a practical car. If the government, or a billionaire with morals stepped up and offered me even half it's value to scrap it, I'd jump at it, but like most people, that's not something I can or would do for no return. I am sure that there are many folk out there in a similar situation, who'd also like to get out of car ownership, but cannot make themselves 'write off' the perceived value of their cars.

This cloud of enhanced pollution (as opposed to the normal over-supply of it) has come at a bad time for me, as I recover from a bug and am coughing a lot anyway. Ugh. I recall a few others here recently referring to having chest infections, etc. and coughing a lot, so I wish you all the best, and hope it's not affecting you adversely.

Vorpal
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Re: Cyclists against air pollution?

Postby Vorpal » 3 Apr 2014, 6:53pm

mrjemm wrote:I am sure that there are many folk out there in a similar situation, who'd also like to get out of car ownership, but cannot make themselves 'write off' the perceived value of their cars.


It's not only the value of the cars, but also the lack of viable alternatives. It's hard for people to give up their cars when they can't get a bus after 6:00 pm and they live too far from a train station to walk, or feel that cycling is unsafe.
“In some ways, it is easier to be a dissident, for then one is without responsibility.”
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mjr
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Re: Cyclists against air pollution?

Postby mjr » 3 Apr 2014, 7:21pm

Vorpal wrote:It's not only the value of the cars, but also the lack of viable alternatives. It's hard for people to give up their cars when they can't get a bus after 6:00 pm and they live too far from a train station to walk, or feel that cycling is unsafe.

These problems are surmountable: cycling is safe but we must keep making it feel safer; not running a car pays for a heck of a lot of taxi or dial-a-ride/community-transport trips for most people.

I feel the on-demand anytime luggage-carrying capacity is the last brick in the wall for many. More car club cars and folding bikes might be a solution.
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Re: Cyclists against air pollution?

Postby Psamathe » 3 Apr 2014, 8:50pm

mjr wrote:
Vorpal wrote:It's not only the value of the cars, but also the lack of viable alternatives. It's hard for people to give up their cars when they can't get a bus after 6:00 pm and they live too far from a train station to walk, or feel that cycling is unsafe.

These problems are surmountable: cycling is safe but we must keep making it feel safer; not running a car pays for a heck of a lot of taxi or dial-a-ride/community-transport trips for most people.

I feel the on-demand anytime luggage-carrying capacity is the last brick in the wall for many. More car club cars and folding bikes might be a solution.


It is like so many problems facing our western society; we know what the problem is, know how to solve the problem, we have the necessary technology, we can afford it but it does not deliver massive profits to the few already mega wealthy. And we should feel pretty disappointed in ourselves for not implementing the solution. Air pollution, climate change, poverty, etc., etc. - we have practical solutions but greed stops us from addressing and sorting them out. Great shame and ... makes me rather sceptical about the long term prospects for humanity.

Cycling is just one aspect that is cheap and delivers benefits on so many different fronts (lower traffic, less pollution, less carbon gas emissions, lower road infrastructure maintenance costs, lower demand for new roads, better health for people, lower NHS costs, etc., etc.). It is a win, win, win, win, ... situation yet we just can bring ourselves (as a society) to do anything significant.

Ian

Mark R
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Re: Cyclists against air pollution?

Postby Mark R » 4 Apr 2014, 12:34am

What lessens the enjoyment of much of my cycling is the constant smell of diesel exhaust in my nostrils. Fewer and fewer routes offer respite from this scourge. Every year there are more of these filthy vehicles. Many of the new so called 'clean diesels' are still eyewateringly filthy. The particle filters and catalysts don't work particularly well and hardly work at all if the car is not up to temperature.

It really ***** me off that this issue is brushed under the carpet and I'm pleased this is finally getting some mainstream media coverage in the UK and in Europe. (The new Mayor of Paris has promised to rid the city of Diesels by 2020)

http://www.france24.com/en/20140317-paris-pollution-mayoral-debate-politics/

It is mainly the government's fault for rigging the VED system to favor diesels but individuals need to start taking responsibility for the toxic filth their vehicles emit.
The cat is now well and truly out of the bag; mass uptake of diesel vehicles has been a public health disaster the extent of which is now becoming clear. Diesel exhaust is well on the way to being the new tobacco or even the new asbestos. Petrol is hardly an ideal fuel but local air quality would not be anywhere near as poor if it were not for the move to diesel power :evil:

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Re: Cyclists against air pollution?

Postby beardy » 4 Apr 2014, 8:43am

Where as what you say about diesel cars ruining our environment is true, the implication that some how other types of cars do NOT, is just picking an arbitrary dividing line and measuring stick.

A cyclist (and anybody else) can be called to task for owning and running a personal car, but to imply only those that pollute through the medium of diesel are sinners is sticking your head in the sand.

It isnt diesels that should be banned, it is cars, but that isnt going to happen. To merely replace 20 million diesels with 20 million petrol cars isnt going to get us very far. Though the strategy of "divide and conquer" against car drivers may have some merit.

I dont for a second believe the claim in one of those articles that there is a bias towards diesels in the VED system which influences the choice of purchasers. People buy diesels because of the financial benefits of higher mpg which make the VED insignificant.

There is an argument that vehicles like SUVs and Range Rovers are just too expensive to run with petrol and it is only the diesel engine which makes them feasible.
Is banning a Peugeot 106 diesels and replacing Land Rover Tdi's with 3,500cc V6's a good solution?

JimL
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Re: Cyclists against air pollution?

Postby JimL » 4 Apr 2014, 9:28am

Agree completely with MarkR and most of the growth of diesel has been in the oversized monstrosities that dominate the environment.

beardy
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Re: Cyclists against air pollution?

Postby beardy » 4 Apr 2014, 9:39am

I can not help but think that it would be better to ban large diesel (and petrol) engined off-road-style vehicles from cities and leave them alone in the rural areas where they belong.

Would it be reasonable to ban a Peugeot 106 diesel and allow a petrol 3,500cc V8. Especially in the city, and on the school run?

We already have a very complicated VED classification that could be used, rather than a simple petrol or diesel decision.

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TrevA
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Re: Cyclists against air pollution?

Postby TrevA » 4 Apr 2014, 12:28pm

It's not what car you own that matters, it's how and when you use it.

My 1.6l petrol car sits on the drive all week, as my wife and I both commute by bike. It does about 50 miles a week running around to relatives, shops, etc. It's also useful for driving up to the edge of the Peak District, so that we can ride in more pleasant surroundings, and for driving to the start of audaxes.

I don't know why anyone would drive a car in central London. You're just constantly stuck in a traffic jam.
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Mark R
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Re: Cyclists against air pollution?

Postby Mark R » 4 Apr 2014, 1:00pm

Would it be reasonable to ban a Peugeot 106 diesel and allow a petrol 3,500cc V8. Especially in the city, and on the school run?


Of course no reasonable person wants to see 4x4's being used for personal transport in towns and cities it really is the height of human stupidity.

But I am talking specificaly about local air quality and its effect on people's health and well being. The weakness of your argument is that if all those v8 petrol range-rovers (and all the other urban ****panzers) were replaced with diesel 106's local air quality would actually get A LOT WORSE.

Diesel cars like the 106 are not good urban runabouts, the car may be small but the engine is not. It is a huge heavy lump of iron which will take at least 5 miles to get up to temperature, they are incredibly polluting vehicles in an urban setting. Of course at just £30 a year in VED you could be fooled into thinking you were doing everyone else a favor choosing such a vehicle :evil:

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Re: Cyclists against air pollution?

Postby MikeF » 5 Apr 2014, 11:35pm

Mark R wrote:
Would it be reasonable to ban a Peugeot 106 diesel and allow a petrol 3,500cc V8. Especially in the city, and on the school run?


Diesel cars like the 106 are not good urban runabouts, the car may be small but the engine is not. It is a huge heavy lump of iron which will take at least 5 miles to get up to temperature, they are incredibly polluting vehicles in an urban setting. Of course at just £30 a year in VED you could be fooled into thinking you were doing everyone else a favor choosing such a vehicle :evil:
The combustion chamber for a diesel engine has to become very hot for the fuel to ignite, whereas that of a petrol engine does not. Therefore when a diesel engine is started it operates at a very much higher temperature than a petrol one. Even when a diesel engine idles the piston is compressing air to a high temperature whereas in a petrol engine the air flow is throttled according to the speed of the engine. In general use a diesel engine will warm up quicker than its equivalent petrol engine. A petrol engine is probably most polluting (however you define that :wink: ) when used for short journeys, but they both pollute.
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