Pollution experts from MIT in Massachusetts estimate that combustion exhausts across the UK cause nearly 5,000 premature deaths each year. They also estimate that exhaust gases from aeroplanes cause a further 2,000 deaths annually.
Road accidents in 2010 accounted for 1,850 deaths. Lead author Steven Barrratt says “We estimate that the premature deaths [from air pollution] are costing the UK at least £6 billion a year, and perhaps as much as £60 billion.”
See http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-17704116 for more details.
Canadian studies have shown that whilst this air pollution is bad for cyclists, drivers have higher respiratory problems than cyclists because of their higher exposure to volatile organic chemicals in vehicle exhaust.
“In stop-and-go traffic, [drivers] have more exposure than a cyclist who stays 15 feet or more from the tailpipes,” said Rebecca Serna, executive director of the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition, a cycling advocacy group.
The health benefits of cycling still far outweigh the risks from air pollution and traffic collisions relative to car driving… so… get on your bicycle or electric bike!!!