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Appeal to cyclists to help gauge air pollution levels

Appeal to cyclists to help gauge air pollution levels

by Heledd PRITCHARD 3 min. 04.11.2021 From our online archive
Researchers asking participants to attach sensors to bikes for one week period to analyse air quality on journeys
A cycling lane in Luxembourg, although critics have said the country's cycling infrastructure lags well behind other nations
A cycling lane in Luxembourg, although critics have said the country's cycling infrastructure lags well behind other nations
Photo credit: Claude Piscitelli

Researchers in Luxembourg have appealed to cyclists for help in measuring air pollution levels in the country, which has one of the EU's highest car ownership rates and where transport makes up around two-thirds of greenhouse gas emissions.

By attaching sensors to their bikes for seven days, cyclists will be able to analyse their journeys using an online dashboard and enable researchers at the Luxembourg Institute of Socio-Economic Research (LISER) to measure air quality.

The government has stepped up its efforts in recent years to encourage more people to ditch the steering wheel and turn to handlebars instead, handing out up to €600 in subsidies for electric bikes. However, critics argue the country continues to lag well behind other countries for its cycling facilities, with cyclists calling on officials to invest more in infrastructure and improving road safety.

Some cities such as Paris and Brussels used the pandemic lockdowns to upgrade facilities for cyclists, but there were no such changes in Luxembourg.  

“Luxembourg has been particularly resistant to developing cycling infrastructure and the city is highly against a policy that removes car space," Cyrille Medard De Chardon, urban development and mobility researcher at LISER, told The Luxembourg Times earlier this year.

Half of all bikes sold in Europe will be electric by 2025, Claus Fleischer, chief executive of one of Europe’s biggest suppliers of e-bike parts, Bosch eBike Systems, said in July.

Luxembourg, where two-thirds of all journeys take place in cars, will start making cash available to offset carbon dioxide emissions that stem from ministers and civil servants’ work trips from 2023, Prime Minister Xavier Bettel said in his state of the nation speech last month. The country will also invest in fast-charging hubs for electric cars, Bettel added.  

E-vehicles - counting both fully electric and plug-in hybrids - represented just 1.5% of Luxembourg's car fleet as of September last year, according to a report by the European Court of Auditors in April, which concluded that travelling across the continent in an electric vehicle remains impractical due to a lack of charging stations.

Luxembourg's government has urged motorists to install charging stations, emphasising that assistance of up to €1,200 is available. 

The new project by Liser requires cyclists to be available to take part in the study in November. Participants will be shown how to install the sensor on their bikes and use the dashboard and may be invited for virtual interviews.

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