Bicycle Commuting and Exposure to Air Pollution: A Questionnaire-Based Investigation of Perceptions, Symptoms, and Risk Management Strategies

in Journal of Physical Activity and Health
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Background:

An increase in bicycle commuting participation may improve public health and traffic congestion in cities. Information on air pollution exposure (such as perception, symptoms, and risk management) contributes to the responsible promotion of bicycle commuting participation.

Methods:

To determine perceptions, symptoms, and willingness for specific exposure risk management strategies of exposure to air pollution, a questionnaire-based cross-sectional investigation was conducted with adult bicycle commuters (n = 153; age = 41 ± 11 years; 28% female).

Results:

Frequency of acute respiratory signs and symptoms were positively associated with in-commute and postcommute compared with precommute time periods (P < .05); there was greater positive association with respiratory disorder compared with healthy, and female compared with male, participants. The perception (but not signs or symptoms) of in-commute exposure to air pollution was positively associated with the estimated level of in-commute proximity to motorized traffic. The majority of participants indicated a willingness (which varied with health status and gender) to adopt risk management strategies (with desired features) if shown to be appropriate and effective.

Conclusions:

While acute signs and symptoms of air pollution exposure are indicated with bicycle commuting, and more so in susceptible individuals, there is willingness to manage exposure risk by adopting effective strategies with desired features.

Cole-Hunter (tcolehunter@creal.cat) is with the Centre for Research in Environmental Epidemiology (CREAL), Barcelona, Spain; the Biomedical Research Centre Network for Epidemiology and Public Health (CIBERESP), Madrid, Spain; and University Pompeu Fabra (UPF), Barcelona, Spain. Cole-Hunter was with the Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation and the International Laboratory for Air Quality and Health, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, QLD, Australia; and the School of Life Sciences, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, QLD, Australia. Morawska is with the Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation and the International Laboratory for Air Quality and Health, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, QLD, Australia. Solomon is with the School of Life Sciences, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, QLD, Australia, and the School of Health and Sport Sciences, University of the Sunshine Coast, Sippy Downs, QLD, Australia.