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Why Motorcycles Get to Use HOV Lanes

Have you ever wondered why they allow motorcycles in HOV lanes? [Find out the REAL reason at the bottom of this post] I just assumed it was because they pollute less than cars. Well, I caught a recent episode of the Disney Channel's "Mythbusters" and was very surprised to find out that the car pollutes less than motorcycle.

Hosts Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman collaborated with Kent Johnson, an assistant research engineer at the University of California at Riverside, to conduct the experiment:
"Three cars and three motorcycles, each built in either the 1980s, '90s or '00s, were fitted with tailpipe probes that measured the carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide emissions of each vehicle over a closed course... In the end, Mr. Johnson observed that while the motorcycles burn fuel more efficiently and produce lower levels of carbon dioxide than the cars, the noxious pollutants generated by the bikes exceeded the levels generated by cars. Insofar as the hosts sought to determine the greenest mode of transport, the car won by virtue of its lower pollution profile."
Read the full story here, Source: New York Times, September, 30, 2011.

The REAL rationale behind allowing motorcycles to use HOV lanes is that it is safer to keep two-wheeled vehicles moving than to have them travel in start-and-stop traffic conditions, but states can choose to override this provision of federal law, if they determine that safety is at risk.

Posted in Beyond Parking on Oct 18, 2011

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