A study conducted by researchers at the transport research institute at Hasselt University in Belgium, found that bicyclists inhale five times as many toxic nanoparticles as drivers and pedestrians on the same streets. Proximity to tailpipe pollution as well as higher respiratory rates account for the higher particle intake. This is the first time both respiration and particle quantity were simultaneously measured in a study of this kind.
This is obviously bad news for bike commuters who currently ride in heavy traffic. The knee-jerk reaction would be to say that bicyclists should ride less. Of course, we know that many of the most deadly diseases are closely linked to a sedentary lifestyle, so riding less has its own dangerous side effects. Better solutions include more separated facilities to enable bicyclists to put together commutes that bypass major arterials and heavy automobile traffic, riding slower to keep your respiratory rate down, and of course, fewer cars on the road.