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Old 07-06-05, 07:38 PM   #1
DnvrFox
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We have a point-counter-point duo of two lawyers who provide their views on a clear channle KHOW 630 AM talk show regarding current events.

Today (July 6, 2005) about 3:13 pm, the discussion somehow got into helmets and bicycling - it was not the issue supposed to be discussed - and among pontifications of helmet use by kids, out of the blue, one of the hosts, Craig Silverman. made this statement:

" . . . I realized just how dangerous bicycling was."

After that, the subject returned to the subject matter of the day, which I believe was about the girl, Shalom, who was kidnapped. This station and show has a large audience.

I was flabbergasted that a statement like this could come out of the blue, and plan to send Mr. Silverman an email expressing some of my thoughts about bicycling as a safe activity.

Mr. Silverman can be emailed at:

craigsilverman@clearchannel.com

Perhaps others could share thoughts and statistics with Mr. Silverman about bicycling as a safe activity?

Here is my letter:
Quote:
I was flabbergasted to hear you make the following statement while discussing helmet usage while bicycling:

" . . . I realized just how dangerous bicycling was."

Whoa!

For a well-trained bicyclist, utilizing defensive cycling techniques as a recreational activity, bicycling is one of the safest activities around. For a commuter bicyclist who has taken courses such as "Effective Cycling" by John Forester, cycling is very safe.

Safety in cycling goes FAR BEYOND wearing or not wearing a helmet, which is one of the smaller variables in bicycling safety. Training and education in safe bicycling is far more important than helmet wearing, although I always wear a helmet, and encourage others to do so.

Where did you get your information about the danger of bicycling? I would appreciate your citing the information and sources.

Thank you.

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Old 07-06-05, 07:52 PM   #2
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Bicycling isn't necessarily a safe activity. For many, I think that it's actually quite dangerous. I support child-helmet laws because kids will often ride irresponsibly and injure themselves. Despite parents who try their best to educate their kids about safe cycling, kids will often have to learn the hard way. And wouldn't it be a shame if a child's moment of foolishness turned into a lifetime spent in a wheelchair or worse?

IMHO, I think you may be overreacting to his statement.
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Old 07-06-05, 07:58 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sprocket Man
Bicycling isn't necessarily a safe activity. For many, I think that it's actually quite dangerous. I support child-helmet laws because kids will often ride irresponsibly and injure themselves. Despite parents who try their best to educate their kids about safe cycling, kids will often have to learn the hard way. And wouldn't it be a shame if a child's moment of foolishness turned into a lifetime spent in a wheelchair or worse?

IMHO, I think you may be overreacting to his statement.
Please read my letter in response to Mr. Silverman (above).
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Old 07-06-05, 08:18 PM   #4
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That's a well crafted letter, but you mentioned the context of the discussion that led up to Mr. Silverman's comment was helmet use for kids. Your response doesn't deal specifically with children on bicycles.

You also mentioned that training and education are vital to the safety of a cyclist. I couldn't agree more. However, would you agree that an untrained and uneducated bicyclist may be a danger to himself or others? Many riders on the road are both untrained and uneducated, which makes cycling a dangerous activity. In the perfect world, where all cyclists (including kids) were well-informed and well-intentioned, then cycling would be a safe activity. But we live in a very imperfect world. . .
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Old 07-06-05, 08:21 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sprocket Man
That's a well crafted letter, but you mentioned the context of the discussion that led up to Mr. Silverman's comment was helmet use for kids. Your response doesn't deal specifically with children on bicycles.

You also mentioned that training and education are vital to the safety of a cyclist. I couldn't agree more. However, would you agree that an untrained and uneducated bicyclist may be a danger to himself or others? Many riders on the road are both untrained and uneducated, which makes cycling a dangerous activity. In the perfect world, where all cyclists (including kids) were well-informed and well-intentioned, then cycling would be a safe activity. But we live in a very imperfect world. . .
Yes, just as untrained drivers of cars, and untrained rugby players, and untrained soccer players, and untrained pedestrians, etc., etc. are also dangerous to themselves and others.

To clarify, their discussion was about their wearing helmets as an example to their kids. Sorry I was unclear about that.
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Old 07-06-05, 08:43 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DnvrFox
Yes, just as untrained drivers of cars, and untrained rugby players, and untrained soccer players, and untrained pedestrians, etc., etc. are also dangerous to themselves and others..
Sorry to hammer this to death, but here's the logic as I see it:
Untrained cyclists are a danger to themselves and others. Many cyclists are untrained. Therefore, for many, cycling is a dangerous activity.

Please don't misunderstand, cycling is by far my most favorite recreational activity. But I also believe that it's also a very dangerous activity, even for myself. I'm well trained and have probably logged over 50,000 miles in the last decade. But I've gone down many times due to circumstances that there's no way anyone could anticipate. And unlike being in the protective cocoon of an automobile, when I go down, I will lose skin. Ask any cyclist who logs more than 2,000 miles a year about accidents they've had on their bikes, and I would bet you find that nearly every single one of them has a road rash story or worse.

Though much of the danger of cycling could be mitigated by education and training, I still believe that in general, cycling is quite dangerous.
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Old 07-06-05, 08:55 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DnvrFox
For a well-trained bicyclist, utilizing defensive cycling techniques as a recreational activity, bicycling is one of the safest activities around. For a commuter bicyclist who has taken courses such as "Effective Cycling" by John Forester, cycling is very safe.

Safety in cycling goes FAR BEYOND wearing or not wearing a helmet, which is one of the smaller variables in bicycling safety. Training and education in safe bicycling is far more important than helmet wearing, although I always wear a helmet, and encourage others to do so.

Where did you get your information about the danger of bicycling? I would appreciate your citing the information and sources.
And if the host, Craig Silverman responds with the valid question, "Where did YOU get your information about the risk reduction power of courses such as "Effective Cycling" by John Forester? - What will YOU answer?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Sprocket Man
You also mentioned that training and education are vital to the safety of a cyclist. I couldn't agree more. However, would you agree that an untrained and uneducated bicyclist may be a danger to himself or others? Many riders on the road are both untrained and uneducated, which makes cycling a dangerous activity. In the perfect world, where all cyclists (including kids) were well-informed and well-intentioned, then cycling would be a safe activity. But we live in a very imperfect world. . .
Same question applies - WHERE do YOU get YOUR information about the world perfecting/ significant danger reducing power of any specific bicycling education/training course?
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Old 07-06-05, 09:16 PM   #8
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I am curious as to how exactly that statement was prefaced. Did he mention an incident he witnessed, was involved in, or heard about after-the-fact before stating, " . . . I realized just how dangerous bicycling was."? It looks like that statement should follow an example of some sort. I fail to see what's so offensive about it without knowing what was said beforehand. Life is dangerous. Cycling is part of life for some.
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Old 07-06-05, 11:30 PM   #9
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Wait, are we now saying that Rugby and being a pedestrian in an urban area are safe activities?

There ARE NO safe activities and there ARE NO safe places. There are safe ways to do things and there are unsafe ways to do things. Cycling is dangerous. I think the one overreacting is the one who thinks if someone calls an activity "dangerous" then he must hate it. I say that with all respect, though.
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Old 07-06-05, 11:51 PM   #10
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Please, these people say whatever they can say to generate interest, you emailing them only serves to reinforce their purpose.

Just ignore it.
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Old 07-07-05, 05:33 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by operator
Please, these people say whatever they can say to generate interest, you emailing them only serves to reinforce their purpose.

Just ignore it.
Amen.

A most unusual reaction!

I'm outta here.
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Old 07-07-05, 06:22 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sprocket Man
But I also believe that it's also a very dangerous activity, even for myself.


I'm well trained and have probably logged over 50,000 miles in the last decade. But I've gone down many times due to circumstances that there's no way anyone could anticipate. And unlike being in the protective cocoon of an automobile, when I go down, I will lose skin. Ask any cyclist who logs more than 2,000 miles a year about accidents they've had on their bikes, and I would bet you find that nearly every single one of them has a road rash story or worse.

Though much of the danger of cycling could be mitigated by education and training, I still believe that in general, cycling is quite dangerous.
How does that make it very dangerous? Skin heals... road rash is no big deal. That doesn't make it dangerous, or rather, "very dangerous."

To me, dangerous implies a high degree of risk EVERY time one participates in an activity. Everest expeditions are dangerous, for example. Many activities "appear" dangerous, such as bungee jumpting, sky diving, (bicycling?), etc.- but are they truly dangerous? Do the statistics bear out the risk?

As a kid in the 70s- somehow I survived riding for years without a helmet... of course I wouldn't leave home without one today.
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Old 07-07-05, 06:27 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by operator
Please, these people say whatever they can say to generate interest, you emailing them only serves to reinforce their purpose. Just ignore it.
Quote:
Originally Posted by DnvrFox
Amen. A most unusual reaction! I'm outta here.
I take it that Denver has seen the light and has reconsidered his plan to send the proposed email to the radio broadcaster.

Good choice.
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Old 07-07-05, 08:42 AM   #14
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I am an enthusiastic biker with over 200 miles per week on park roads or Rail to Trails.

Prior to biking I was a runner and later jogger in the same parks. There were no accidents in jogging or running over 15 years but my joints suffered and I had to quit.

My biking involves a racing bike and a Tandem. I suffered 2 severe injuries from wipe out on wet leaves and oil. There was another bloody accident when the Tandem flipped due to a hidden pot hole.
The first two accidents could have been prevented with a slower hybrid or street bike. The second accident defies analysis.

I exercise for health and do not like to loose my health due to the exercise.
Of course there is a Health club for those who want to minimize this kind of risk.

I think it is wrong not to report these issues for unsuspecting new comers.
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Old 07-07-05, 11:08 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DnvrFox
Today (July 6, 2005) about 3:13 pm, the discussion somehow got into helmets and bicycling - it was not the issue supposed to be discussed - and among pontifications of helmet use by kids, out of the blue, one of the hosts, Craig Silverman. made this statement:

" . . . I realized just how dangerous bicycling was."
If the same host were talk about a car crash and then remark, "I realized just how dangerous driving was", then I wouldn't object to the bicycling statement. I only get concerned when people have a perception of driving as "safe" and bicycling as "dangerous".

I don't think it's worth it to take action on this particular statement. There's other battles to fight.
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Old 07-07-05, 12:39 PM   #16
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i don't see anything horribly negative to cyclists on this exchange. (except for being older and it being dangerous)

it wasn't out of the blue, they were talking about the president's nominee decisions and topic led to his accident:
--------------------------------------------------

dan: by the way the president collided with a local police officer and fell during a bike ride at the gleneagle golf resort while attending a meeting of world leaders. bush suffered mild to moderate scrapes on his hands and arms that required bandages uh bush was wearing a helmet at the time. police officer unfortunately had a very minor ankle injury. it was raining lightly at the time.

craig: wow - yeah i saw him get off the helicoptor at the golf course and i think the point is you shouldn't be riding a bike on a golf course

dan: well if you're the president of the US and they shut down a course then it's ok

craig: well yeah and im not sure he was riding on the course but thats unfortunate and the older i get the more i realize how dangerous bicycles are

dan: yeah and im so glad to see the kids and helmets i mean when we were growing if you saw a kid and a helmet you figured he was a survivor of some horrible ordeal but now any kid without a helmet out of their minds. were going to break early for a press conference. do you wear a helmet when you bike?

craig: well i do just to set a good example for my kids but i never did growing up and i never had a helmet til a had kids

dan: same thing i mean i put the thing on and i don't want to and it looks goofy but i know it's smart but the last thing i want is for my kids to see mean without one so and who cares what people think?
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Old 07-07-05, 12:50 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sprocket Man
And unlike being in the protective cocoon of an automobile, when I go down, I will lose skin. Ask any cyclist who logs more than 2,000 miles a year about accidents they've had on their bikes, and I would bet you find that nearly every single one of them has a road rash story or worse.
I think we need a definition of dangerous, or as you state, "very dangerous" or "quite dangerous." The above statement seems to imply that losing skin is dangerous. In fact losing skin is very normal and we all do it every day, one cell at a time. Sure, sliding on pavement at 20 mph will make you lose skin at a much higher rate but still what is the danger?

Danger that it will hurt? Danger of infection? Danger of crying? DAnger of tearing your favorite cycling britches? I think we need to know...danger of what? If you are asserting that cycling increases the risk of injury or death then we need to know compared to what? Compared riding in a car? Sure maybe you are at a greater risk for road rash on the bike but what about the danger of being killed?

Are you in greater danger in the car or on the bike? Over 500 people are killed in cars every year in my unpopluated midwest state. Maybe 1 or 2 are killed on a bike. So i have to say that driving a car is also "very dangerous." Would you agree?

Lastly, i have ridden around 12,000 miles in the last 18 months or so and i have only crashed a couple of times. NOne of which was a big deal. So i think that you are in error. I don't have a "road rash story or worse." Actually most of my crashes have been sort of fun. I have scraped my knee a little, but nothing to speak of.
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Old 07-07-05, 01:05 PM   #18
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Denver, when I read your OP, I knew that ILTB and a couple others would contribute their little "cycling is dangerous and irresponsible" message. Don't let these people get you down. They have no facts, they post the same thing over and over, and never respond meaningfully to those who try to rebut them. They are the ones who should be ignored, as they are basically just trolls. They always say "can you back that up with figures," but they never, never, never have any figures themselves. Sometimes I get so exasperated!

To get back to the topic (which they again got me off of--I have so little self-control!) : I thought your response to the radio personalities was appropriate and well worded. We need to make the point that cycling is safe, both as recreation and as basic transportation. And George Bush isn't making it any easier to make that point! I wish that the media would make the point that the prez is mountain biking, and minor fallls and collisions are par for the course when off-road, but not when riding on the streets and roads.
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Old 07-07-05, 01:29 PM   #19
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i think anyone with basic common sense knows you can take a spill every once in a great while, but when common sense is followed biking is relatively safe. but has anyone considered craig's comment could have been in jest?

given the fact our president has difficulty in life functions such as chewing pretzels, cycling, and basic vocabulary, i find the phrase "i didn't know biking could be so dangerous" quite funny if that's how he meant it

also everyone that has an active hobby or lifestyle encounters this. i'm a private pilot - and my aviation groups constantly complain (with good reason and i'm among them), that general aviation is portrayed by the media as reckless and dangerous.

well guess what - sometimes it is!! when bad decisions are made, and complacency takes over a sharp mind, flying is dangerous. when your mentally few steps ahead of your game, (just like biking), i feel safer flying then on the freeway in my car.

it all comes down to the individual. a sharp, responsible person lessons their risk of crashing their plane, bike, hot air balloon, or drowning in their scuba dive.

there will always be dumb asses in every area of life. i support a nice letter to craig stating road biking is safe when following the rules, but i don't see the derogatory tone towards cyclists that many other media people have displayed. i only heard a simple observation of our president and his hobby.
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Old 07-07-05, 02:50 PM   #20
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Bad cycling is dangerous, because it puts the cyclist in danger

Intelligent cycling is safe, because it keeps the rider out of danger

Being hit by a poor driver while cycling intelligently doesn't make the cycling dangerous, it is the driver who does the endangering.

Define the problem wrongly and you then produce the wrong or non- solution
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Old 07-07-05, 04:08 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roody
Denver, when I read your OP, I knew that ILTB and a couple others would contribute their little "cycling is dangerous and irresponsible" message. Don't let these people get you down. They have no facts, they post the same thing over and over, and never respond meaningfully to those who try to rebut them.
Well Mr. Roody, you read what you expected to find, but not the words that ILTB (I) wrote. I am not claiming that cyclists uneducated in the wisdom of John Forester and his Effective Cycling program are living/cycling in great danger. It is Denver Fox, Sprocket Man and others who are claiming and writing that that cycling IS dangerous UNLESS cyclists are specifically trained and or educated in the Effective Cycling Course specifly called out by Denver Fox.

I ask how AGAIN: one, how did Denver Fox and his VC education salesmen/comrades determine that "uneducated cyclists" are in significant danger and based on what measure/metric?; and two, how does Denver Fox, et al arrive at their conclusion that said danger metrics are reduced to NOT dangerous by Effective Cycling training/education of cyclists?

Mr. Roody can advise ignoring unpleasant facts if he wishes, but it doesn't add credibility to the conventional wisdom/wishful thinking of the education/training promoters. The unpleasant fact that Mr. Roody would like all to ignore is that the record of ANY measure of risk reduction for Effective Cycling students is unknown and said students' safety has never has been measured or evaluated by anybody. All claims of risk reduction for cyclists as a result of such training are ENTIRELY FABRICATED by the promoters of the education programs. It is Denver Fox and Sprocket Man who are posting/writing of the DANGER of cycling and making unsupported claims of a specific propriatary program's power to reduce said danger.

I suggest Mr. Roody read what is written in the BF messages, rather than respond to what he anticipates reading.
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Old 07-07-05, 05:54 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike
... I ask how AGAIN: one, how did Denver Fox and his VC education salesmen/comrades determine that "uneducated cyclists" are in significant danger and based on what measure/metric?; and two, how does Denver Fox, et al arrive at their conclusion that said danger metrics are reduced to NOT dangerous by Effective Cycling training/education of cyclists?

Mr. Roody can advise ignoring unpleasant facts if he wishes, but it doesn't add credibility to the conventional wisdom/wishful thinking of the education/training promoters. The unpleasant fact that Mr. Roody would like all to ignore is that the record of ANY measure of risk reduction for Effective Cycling students is unknown and said students' safety has never has been measured or evaluated by anybody. All claims of risk reduction for cyclists as a result of such training are ENTIRELY FABRICATED by the promoters of the education programs. It is Denver Fox and Sprocket Man who are posting/writing of the DANGER of cycling and making unsupported claims of a specific propriatary program's power to reduce said danger. ...
Denver Fox is NOT an Effective Cycling instructor and has no financial or other interest in the training. He is merely stating a qualitative fact, which admittedly should be much better quantified, that cyclists who practice lawful vehicular cycling are involved in far few incidents per mile than those who don't. The evidence is ample and convincing -- look at all of the reported bicycle - motor vehicle collisions in which the CYCLIST was at fault, and postulate that VCs would not get themselves into such situations by riding on the wrong side of the road or without lighting at night.

The part of your post with which I must struggle is, "Just how safe (or dangerous) is cycling for VCs?" Frankly, some of the stories of drunk and/or distracted drivers scare me, as I think they should. I have worked around electricity all of my life, and I have avoided serious injury by respecting the threat of serious shock or electrocution. The same goes for power tools and home improvement projects.
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Old 07-07-05, 06:41 PM   #23
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Hehehe.. trained or not, the way I go through traffic, I'm surprised I'm still alive.
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Old 07-08-05, 06:01 AM   #24
I-Like-To-Bike
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Originally Posted by John E
Denver Fox is NOT an Effective Cycling instructor and has no financial or other interest in the training. He is merely stating a qualitative fact, which admittedly should be much better quantified, that cyclists who practice lawful vehicular cycling are involved in far few incidents per mile than those who don't. The evidence is ample and convincing -- look at all of the reported bicycle - motor vehicle collisions in which the CYCLIST was at fault, and postulate that VCs would not get themselves into such situations by riding on the wrong side of the road or without lighting at night.
Fine, Denver Fox is just parroting the conventional wisdom put forth by those promoting Effective Cycling Education/Training materials and programs.

Fine, John E, et al., are convinced; that does not make for "ample and convincing evidence".

"Should be better quantified" is a neat spin on the fact of NO DATA/NO DETAILS/NO NOTHING. Or to put it another way ALL GUESSWORK/ALL FABRICATED "evidence" about the real world safety record of ANY population of cyclists who have taken/purchased Effective Cycling Education/Training materials and programs.

Does your "ample and convincing evidence" consist of - postulating that "EC trained cyclists" ALWAYS do the right thing, at ALL times, NEVER make mistakes, and NEVER get into "situations" where their EC training is neither applicable nor safe when applied? Are those assumptions your "ample and convincing evidence" of the risk reduction RESULTS for the students of Effective Cycling Education/Training materials and programs? Does your postulation include assuming that EC training is required to convert cyclists from riding on the wrong side of the road or riding without lighting at night? Do you have ANY "ample and convincing evidence" that EC training converted any cyclist into a lit, right way cyclist? Please no more "postulations" or anecdotes passed off as "ample and convincing evidence".

What makes you think that EC training converts anybody into paragons of cycling virtue? What makes you think that EC training has CHANGED any significant cyclist behavior? What makes you think that if EC courses or training material is forced onto students and cyclists that it has the power to convince cyclists to alter their behavior, or even if behavior is altered to the EC approved methods, that any significant risk reduction actually takes place?

What makes you think that "dangerous cycling" becomes "safe cycling" by virtue of taking an EC class or reading the EC Good Book; or conversely, that not-dangerous cycling becomes dangerous cycling without EC training?

Last edited by I-Like-To-Bike; 07-08-05 at 12:32 PM.
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Old 07-08-05, 02:13 PM   #25
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Well, I haven't seen evidence that flight training makes for safer pilots, but I'm willing to bet my bike that it does. There are plenty of data showing that experienced cyclists are involved in fewer accidents, injuries, and fatalities. (For corroboration, check Forrester' book, Effective Cycling.) It stands to reason that when those experienced cyclists share their knowledge with novices, the novices will benefit and subsequently be involved in fewer accidents, injuries and fatalities. I would also bet my bike on that. In fact, I can't begin to describe how much safer my riding is since I read Effective Cycling, and especially since I read posts on this forum from experienced cyclists--namely, the cyclists like denver fox, helmet head, and all the others that ILTB regularly flames.

From you, Mr. ILTB, I have learned exactly nothing.

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