“Every time I see an adult on a bicycle, I no longer despair for the future of the human race.” So said H. G.Wells, but who knows what he would have made of the Smog Free Bicycle. No stranger to a dystopian view of humankind, Wells may well have had his optimism dashed.
Daan Roosegaarde is the talented engineer behind the Smog Free Project – a bicycle that sucks in polluted air, before filtering it and releasing it back into the atmosphere. Roosegaarde has already built a Smog Free Towers and Beijing – essentially huge air filters that create an oasis of clean air.
Bicycles offer a cheap and efficient solution to many of the problems that blight today’s car-centric cities. They already beat congestion, slash pollution levels and effectively eliminate road danger. Weighing down a bicycle with smog-busting equipment is undeniably well-intentioned, but it fails to address the root cause of pollution that kills tens of thousands each year in Britain alone.
| “Anglo-Saxons are unique among people of European origin in their dislike of cities”
Faced with the noise, danger and pollution that seem an intrinsic part of inner city life, the better-off dream of moving away from the city centre, but rural idylls on the outskirts of towns and cities have a tendency to become subsumed by an ever-expanding suburbia. We have allowed our cities to decline through neglect, poor planning and pandering to the car. It is said that Anglo-Saxons are unique among people of European origin in their dislike of cities. Where Europeans consider their cities as the hubs of their civilisations, Americans and the British have a tendency to see them as a social problem that needs to be escaped.Those who cannot afford to move to the suburbs and beyond have suffered most. The elderly and young are most susceptible to lung conditions exacerbated by air pollution.
According to a study published in the journal Archives of General Psychiatry, children living near busy roads during the first year of their life may face an increased risk of autism.
Researchers from the University of Southern California studied 500 children, just over half of whom had developed autism. The proximity of the children’s home addresses to busy roads and the associated higher-than-average levels of air pollution suggested that environmental conditions could be as important a factor as genetics.
It is not city living per se that is the problem, but the housing conditions in which many less fortunate people find themselves, fragmented transport network, noise and polluted air that makes it a stressful existence for so many.
When cars are largely excluded, pavements can grow at the expense of road space, allowing greater space for tree planting and cycling facilities. The air will be quieter and cleaner. If we altered our urban areas in this way, our towns and cities could become oases from the surrounding traffic chaos and pollution. The words of H.G Wells should be written large across our plans for future cities.
ETA cycle insurance
For over 26 years the ETA has been working hard to encourage healthy and sustainable ways to travel. It’s the reason we developed ETA cycle insurance. In contrast with other providers, we offer a sympathetic policy on storage. As long as a shed door is locked, the bicycles stored within do not require any further security. In addition, the policy covers stolen quick-release components and for added peace of mind, claims are handled in-house. Furthermore, bikes are never devalued, no matter their age. Hardly surprising that The Good Shopping Guide voted us Britain’s most ethical insurance company three years in a row.