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Old 06-12-02, 10:57 AM   #1
LittleBigMan
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Riding in smog

Since my town is an automobile-induced smog-city, I am forced to come up with some creative ways to beat the smog.

Smog is a powerful lung irritant that can cause permanent lung damage over the long run. It only occurs during the summer months when sunlight and heat cause certain chemicals in automobile exhaust to react, changing into smog. It can literally burn the lining of the lungs, causing them to "shed," a little like sunburn causes peeling. Bad.

The good news is that smog can be avoided. It occurs during the summer heat. It occurs (usually) after a certain time in the afternoon. Rain kills smog. Smog depends on weather conditions. So, if one is informed, smog can be avoided.

For example, since mornings are almost always clear of smog (I know this by checking official hourly smog levels, not by looking at the skyline or sniffing the air, since ozone is odorless and colorless,) I am thinking of riding the bike in the mornings and hitching a ride on MARTA in the afternoons, unless the ozone forcast is good.

Anybody else who lives in a big city have any smog-avoidance tips?
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Old 06-12-02, 11:20 AM   #2
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Pete, can you arrange flex time at your work?

I have to deal with darkness due the very short daylight hours in the northern winter months.

Thanks to flex time at work, I can ride mostly in the lighted hours.
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Old 06-12-02, 12:58 PM   #3
DanFromDetroit
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Smog avoidance tips.... let's see...
  • I would start by voting our Michigan Senators (Levin and Stabenow) out of office and replacing them with folks that understand that higher CAFE standards and applying the same regulations to SUVs as passenger cars are both good things. Less fuel burnt means less smog.
  • Gasoline at $1.00/liter would drastically reduce consumption and I would favor a phased in tax that would put it there within 5 years, possibly with a less steep ramp up for diesel fuel (to lessen the immediate impact on the trucking industry).
  • Eliminating automobiles from downtown and other congested areas for at least portions of the day would help.

If we are fouling the air to the extent that it is dangerous for humans to breathe it, then something has to drastically change. I checked one of the links in another smog related post here to find that Detroit had days last week where it was "Unsafe for sensitive individuals" to breathe the air.

What good is a car if you can't breathe ?

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Old 06-12-02, 07:59 PM   #4
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I'm with Dan.
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Old 06-13-02, 06:37 AM   #5
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LBM - Since you and I live in the same city, do you know how far away you have to get from downtown to be safe(r) from the smog alerts. This is my first your cycling but last two years I've run at lunch and never had a problem with lung burn.

I live in Grayson and work in Norcross if that helps.

PH
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Old 06-13-02, 07:32 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally posted by purple hayes
LBM - Since you and I live in the same city, do you know how far away you have to get from downtown to be safe(r) from the smog alerts. This is my first your cycling but last two years I've run at lunch and never had a problem with lung burn.

I live in Grayson and work in Norcross if that helps.

PH
You can look up hourly air pollutant levels for your area of the city
at www.air.dnr.state.ga.us/amp/

To avoid smoggy areas, you have to avoid heavy motor traffic. Downtown is often no worse than suburbs, because all these areas have heavy traffic. Some areas of town are worse than others.

As you can tell by the graphs, smog levels are usually safe at lunchtime and in the morning. Except for really bad days, the ozone levels don't get bad until about 4 pm, then they rise sharply until about 10 pm. But everyday is different.

I leave work ASAP and head for the shady neighborhood streets. I don't know how much I'm avoiding ozone, but the car exhaust is a lot less.

And yet, I think car drivers may be getting the worst exposure of all, sitting in the middle of their own poison.

Rain is our buddy, here. It cleans the air like nothing else.
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Old 06-13-02, 07:39 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by DanFromDetroit
If we are fouling the air to the extent that it is dangerous for humans to breathe it, then something has to drastically change. I checked one of the links in another smog related post here to find that Detroit had days last week where it was "Unsafe for sensitive individuals" to breathe the air.

What good is a car if you can't breathe ?

I'm sure the technology exists to produce clean vehicles. I'm just not sure the gonads exist to implement it.
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