Photo: METRO Magazine/JS

Photo: METRO Magazine/JS

MILAN —  Bicyclists had free rein of Milan's streets Monday during a six-hour ban on private cars in a bid to alleviate persistent smog, the Associated Press reported.

Pollution levels in Italy's business capital have exceeded levels considered healthy for more than 30 days straight, prompting officials to ban private cars from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. Monday through Wednesday this week. Officials said private motorists, who risked steep fines, widely respected the ban on its first day, according to the report.

Photo: METRO Magazine/JS

Photo: METRO Magazine/JS

The measures have been criticized as insufficient, with some calling for more incentives to use public transport, shutting off school heating systems during the winter break and urging citizens to turn down the heat at home, according to the AP.

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