There may be a few threads that touch on this already, but for the truly lazy here's a link to the report just released on bike fatalities and injuries in NYC fron 1996 - 2005. Highlights include:
92% of fatalities involved motor vehicles
89% of crashes happened at intersections
Only one fatal crash occurred in a bike lane
Riders were not wearing helmets in 97% of fatalities
74% of fatal crashes involved a head injury
49% of injuries were strictly head injuries
Cyclists were only 6% of all transportation deaths
most fatalities (38%) occured between 3pm - 8pm
42% = cyclist only at fault
20% = vehicle only at fault
36% = both bike & vehicle
What is the cyclist doing wrong?
38% = disregarding traffic laws
20% = not paying attention
And last but not least, 11 pedestrians killed by cyclists during the entire period. C'mon people, you're not trying hard enough!
Of course, NYC is a unique urban environment, and factors in play in NYC are unlikely to apply in, for example, suburban or rural environments. But it definitely seems like for those of us who play in traffic, the rational course of action is to wear a helmet, obey traffic laws, pay attention, be extra careful when riding behind large vehicles, and stick to bike lanes where possible.
Have fun with the report....