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  1. #1
    Sumanitu taka owaci LittleBigMan's Avatar
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    Cycling is dangerous!

    Based on some statistics, cars and bikes each carry a certain risk of death. According to those numbers, a motorist is exposed to a risk of death equal to about .47 per million driving hours. That means about 47 deaths per hundred million driving hours. A cyclist's risk is about .27 per million cycling hours, or 27 deaths per hundred million cycling hours.

    Since a commuting cyclist takes roughly twice as long to cover the same distance as a motorist, the risk of death for both is about the same. This risk represents all cyclists, from child to club cyclist.

    There is one factor that changes the whole picture, tipping the scales greatly in favor of bicycle commuting as significantly safer than driving a car: training in effective cycling.

    Of course, who would believe that cycling is safer than motoring?
    Most people still feel safer driving than flying a commercial airline, even though the risk of death per million flying hours is far less than either cycling or driving.

  2. #2
    Senior Member mike's Avatar
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    That's a good point, Pete. Bicycling is more dangerous than automobile transport - at least in a world where the two are mixed together on the same streets.

    I just crashed again tonight and realized how the simplist crash gives some major pain to the cyclist.

    It occurred to me that in the perfect world of all bikes and few cars, there would probably be less vehicle fatalities, but more minor injuries than we see in today's automobile society.
    Mike

  3. #3
    Every lane is a bike lane Chris L's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Pete Clark
    Based on some statistics, cars and bikes each carry a certain risk of death. According to those numbers, a motorist is exposed to a risk of death equal to about .47 per million driving hours. That means about 47 deaths per hundred million driving hours. A cyclist's risk is about .27 per million cycling hours, or 27 deaths per hundred million cycling hours.
    I think the statistics would vary across different cyclists. I ride 15,000 km per annum and I'm still here. Conversely, the imbecile I saw in Surfers Paradise today riding against the flow of traffic and not watching where he was going is unlikely to be around much longer.

    Chris
    "I am never going to flirt with idleness again" - Roy Keane
    "We invite everyone to question the entire culture we take for granted." - Manic Street Preachers.
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  4. #4
    Sumanitu taka owaci LittleBigMan's Avatar
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    Mike!

    Your quick recovery is of the greatest importance! :thumbup:

    Don't forget, overall, cycling is actually safer for experienced cyclists than motoring. So keep spinning!

    Pete

  5. #5
    mousse de chocolat Moose's Avatar
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    It's true that a portion of the cycling public does not give a rats a$$ about being concerned, responsible and SAFE riders. This skews the aformentioned statistics in a way that makes it seem more dangerous than it really is.

    Every biker should be aware of the traffic and conditions. Never assume a four wheeler will yield when their supposed to, turn when they're signaling or that they won't turn when they're not signaling.

    Of course the talk of four wheelers doesn't apply to off-roaders but the basic concept of defensive riding and knowing your and your bikes limitations applies across the board.

    Moose
    I feel more like I do now than when I first got here.

  6. #6
    Sumanitu taka owaci LittleBigMan's Avatar
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    Moose,

    The last time I heard the term, "four-wheelers," it was used by truckers. Truckers think "four-wheelers" are not quite baked.

    "Two-wheelers" in my opinion have more skill (who ever heard of a "four-wheeler" assaying the effect of a headwind, hill, or timing a traffic light?) I frequently frustrate motorists by appearing mysteriously at the next light after they thought I was "down for the count."

  7. #7
    mousse de chocolat Moose's Avatar
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    I did pick that up from trucker lingo, I'm not aware of the proper cyclist slang for "autombile". Does one exist? If not we should dedicate the rest of this thread to making one up.

    How about "roadhogs" (ok, not immensely creative, but what do you expect from a moose?)
    I feel more like I do now than when I first got here.

  8. #8
    Carfree since '82. Grrr! JonR's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Moose
    I did pick that up from trucker lingo, I'm not aware of the proper cyclist slang for "autombile". Does one exist? If not we should dedicate the rest of this thread to making one up.
    Calling jramsey--here's an opening for another of your creative list-making ventures...
    On leave of absence as of March 13, 2002. Contact by email.

  9. #9
    feros ferio John E's Avatar
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    Several members of the San Diego County Bicycle Coalition refer to motorists as "cagers," i.e., those who travel about in steel cages.

    Although I generally concur with Pete's post regarding safety, both my wife and one of my cycling friends have challenged this analysis, on the grounds that effective cyclists also tend to be defensive motorists. Just as cycling is safer for me than for the average rider, driving is also safer for me, a conservative, defensive motorist with a clean 35-year record and a 6-airbag midsize car with a high safety rating (VW Passat station wagon), than it is for the average motorist. However, Pete's primary point, that responsible, lawful vehicular cycling is far safer than the public perceives it to be (see, for example, www.yes-but.net), needs to be publicized far and wide, since morbid fear of traffic deters many potential cyclists. When well-meaning friends tell me cycling is dangerous, I reply that any form of transportation carries risk. In the interest of minimizing that risk, I advocate stricter standards for obtaining and retaining a driver's license, coupled with traffic calming measures and bicycle- and pedestrian-friendly road design.

  10. #10
    Every lane is a bike lane Chris L's Avatar
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    Originally posted by John E
    However, Pete's primary point, that responsible, lawful vehicular cycling is far safer than the public perceives it to be (see, for example, www.yes-but.net), needs to be publicized far and wide, since morbid fear of traffic deters many potential cyclists.
    Oh no, not this Arek guy again. He really is a grade-A tosser (Joe, I am not flaming John E, Arek is the guy who runs the URL above). Someone should tell him that life is dangerous, and that with his view on the world, one would never leave their house. Well actually, one would never enter their house either, since most accidents happen in the home.

    Guess that mean's I'm gonna die! Well, aren't we all.

    Originally posted by John E

    When well-meaning friends tell me cycling is dangerous, I reply that any form of transportation carries risk. In the interest of minimizing that risk, I advocate stricter standards for obtaining and retaining a driver's license, coupled with traffic calming measures and bicycle- and pedestrian-friendly road design.
    Personally I'm getting sick of all the bullsh*t about the car being the only safe mode of transport in existence. It's utter crap. I have often ridden the nearby Burringbar Range without any incident whatsoever, while many motoring primates there have made themselves available to natural selection on many occasions. As I said above, I ride in excess of 15,000 km/year and I'm still alive.

    If cycling is dangerous, I must be indestructable or something

    Chris
    "I am never going to flirt with idleness again" - Roy Keane
    "We invite everyone to question the entire culture we take for granted." - Manic Street Preachers.
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  11. #11
    Carfree since '82. Grrr! JonR's Avatar
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    Chris, it's funny ()--I had a look at the Arek website today, and as I stumbled out clutching my throat, I was thinking, "With an outlook like that, you'd never leave home!" And here you come along saying the same thing.

    Good heavens! Life is full of risk and nothing enjoyable is obtainable without peril of some sort. Birth in itself is a death sentence!

    As a song--pretty sure it's a Bob Dylan one--has it, "I'd rather die happy than not die at all." :dance:
    On leave of absence as of March 13, 2002. Contact by email.

  12. #12
    Every lane is a bike lane Chris L's Avatar
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    Originally posted by JonR
    Chris, it's funny ()--I had a look at the Arek website today, and as I stumbled out clutching my throat, I was thinking, "With an outlook like that, you'd never leave home!"
    But what would someone do. I mean, I have seen statistics which say that most accidents that occur happen in the home. The only way to avoid danger is to kill yourself, which kind of defeats the purpose of avoiding danger in the first place.

    As someone on another forum once said: "All deaths are inevitable, I'll get there my own way thanks."

    Chris
    "I am never going to flirt with idleness again" - Roy Keane
    "We invite everyone to question the entire culture we take for granted." - Manic Street Preachers.
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  13. #13
    feros ferio John E's Avatar
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    Even if cycling is as safe as, or somewhat safer than, motoring, which I agree it probably is, there is ample room for improvement. Larry Mahr, a safety-conscious, experienced, lawful vehicular cyclist and valued friend of several San Diego County Bicycle Coalition members, was killed recently by a motorist who had "drifted" into the bicycle lane on Kearney Villa Road, a popular bicycle commuting route. Past experience tells me that, unless drugs or alcohol are involved, this careless driver will receive only a very mild punishment. In Northern California, CeCe Krone's drunk driving killer, Michele Young, received a 7-year prison sentence, over the protests of the public defender, who said, "What more do these people want? They just sent a 50-year-old housewife to jail!" Under California law, Michele could be out on parole and back on the road in less than 3 years, despite her two drunk driving convictions.

    The situation is much better in the U.K. and perhaps in continental Europe or Australia as well, but across most of the United States, standards of driver education, competency, attitude, and attention are far too low. The directory of the California Department of Motor Vehicles was quoted to the effect that his bureau would not dare raise the standards for obtaining and retaining a driver's license because of the "impact on the Southern California lifestyle." The impact on the lifestyles of Larry Mahr and his wife and kids is pretty obvious to me.

  14. #14
    Senior Member jramsey's Avatar
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    Originally posted by JonR
    As a song--pretty sure it's a Bob Dylan one--has it, "I'd rather die happy than not die at all." :dance:
    The Band W.S. Walcott Medicine Show. Great song, excellent words.

    I also read Arek's rant on bicycling. Amazing. People can rationalize any bizarre viewpoint.

    What's next?

    Oxygen - Bad for You
    Walking - the Route to Certain, Painful, Death

    Jonathan
    Playing and singing the music of Ireland
    http://www.jonathanramsey.com

  15. #15
    Sumanitu taka owaci LittleBigMan's Avatar
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    I have a lot of respect for John E.

    Good to have you posting valuable information here, John.

    :thumbup:

  16. #16
    Every lane is a bike lane Chris L's Avatar
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    I have heard recent talk in one particular Australian state about introducing a clause into driver disqualifications that basically means a disqualified driver will still be able to use their car to drive to work. Doesn't this kind of defeat the purpose of a disqualification in the first place?

    I, too, respect John E's posts that I've read both here and on other forums. Generally he makes a lot of sense.

    Chris
    "I am never going to flirt with idleness again" - Roy Keane
    "We invite everyone to question the entire culture we take for granted." - Manic Street Preachers.
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  17. #17
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    If I may add to the discussion on whether cycling is safe. Amongst all that has been written regarding who is behind the handlebars, the cause of the accident, the interpretation of the laws and statistics and plain opinion what has not been mentioned is the health benefits that are accrued to the community as a whole. Sedentary lifestyles of which the car is partly to blame is killing the populations of the so called developed countries at ever increasing rates. This is being challenged by amongst others the British Medical Assoc. who have come out against the compulsory wearing of helmets but with the proviso that urban speed limits are reduced. The net health gain to the community by encouraging cycling far out ways the odd cyclist that is killed or injured through not wearing a helmet. The BMA in a report called "Cycling Towards Health and Safety" also calculated that the benefits of cycling out weighed the costs in life years by 20:1 i.e. for every one year of life lost through cycle fatalities twenty years are gained by increased health through exercise.
    To quote Sam Tracey "Ride with Fury, Grace and Precision.
    Ride On Tim

  18. #18
    Chicago Cyclist ViciousCycle's Avatar
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    As a bicyclist, I often end up choosing roads that are safer than many automobile drivers would select. If I am going to the Chicago Loop, for example, I will use North Avenue rather than the Eisenhower Expressway. Some friends automatically think that the bicycle is less safe than a car, but I think I help out my own life span each time I avoid the worst of the expressways....

  19. #19
    Sumanitu taka owaci LittleBigMan's Avatar
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    Originally posted by John E
    Just as cycling is safer for me than for the average rider, driving is also safer for me, a conservative, defensive motorist with a clean 35-year record and a 6-airbag midsize car with a high safety rating (VW Passat station wagon), than it is for the average motorist.
    This is at the heart of the whole problem, I believe. Both cycling and motoring carry a certain risk, but that risk is very dependent upon the individual's level of care, experience and skill.

    Overall, cycling can be safer than motoring, particularly due to the excessive speeds and risk-taking motorists engage in almost instinctively. There seems to be a "pack mentality" among motorists, in which dangerous behavior is copied by other motorists.

    On the contrary, cyclists serve as "traffic calmers."

    Cycling, overall, will always be safer and superior to motoring, in my book. Having said that, be safe out there!
    Last edited by LittleBigMan; 08-06-01 at 09:13 PM.

  20. #20
    Carfree since '82. Grrr! JonR's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Pete Clark

    On the contrary, cyclists serve as "traffic calmers."
    That's me--a moving speed-bump....
    On leave of absence as of March 13, 2002. Contact by email.

  21. #21
    Every lane is a bike lane Chris L's Avatar
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    Ladies and gentlemen,

    Life itself is dangerous. The mere act of being born serves no purpose other than to make your death inevitable. I'll get there my own way, thanks.

    I guess the point I'm making is that some fool can claim any activity is dangerous if the participants do not take sufficient care. It really makes my blood boil when media tossers (my pet hate of the week) find some obscure, careless person and try to make a sweeping generalisation from that. It's a pretty weak argument in my view.

    Chris
    "I am never going to flirt with idleness again" - Roy Keane
    "We invite everyone to question the entire culture we take for granted." - Manic Street Preachers.
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  22. #22
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    so biking is dangerous. anytime you're moving faster than you can walk, with big heavy things that travel MUCH faster than you can ever even dream of biking, you've got danger. but i prefer biking over driving because i feel so much more aware of what's going on around and within me. i can see and hear it all.

    names for cars? when i was a kid, we'd call them 'oil'
    "He who makes a beast of himself gets rid of the pain of being a man."

    -Dr. Johnson

  23. #23
    Sumanitu taka owaci LittleBigMan's Avatar
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    Originally posted by automator
    ...i prefer biking over driving because i feel so much more aware of what's going on around and within me.
    Biking is better.

  24. #24
    feros ferio John E's Avatar
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    First, a sincere thank you to Pete and Chris L for their kind words.

    This thread illustrates that if everyone cycled and drove the way most of us do, overall traffic fatality and injury rates would decline significantly.

  25. #25
    dark and cynical PapeteeBooh's Avatar
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    Bicycles are safe it is just that cars are endagering them.

    Some of the perception of danger is F***ed up in my opinion. Large cars are rated safer but safer for who? IF the statistics took into account solely the number of fatalities cause by the car, motorcycle or bike running over somebody (which is not sillier than only taking into account drivers' death after all). One would get quite a different picture. If your vehicle only get others killed it is safe? Hmm. THat logic escapes me.:confused:

    However on the bleak side, things being as they are (i.e. us - warrior making the world a better place - being they prey of these large smelling beast that destroy they earth), I think that cycling may be even more dangerous than that: I would be suprised if there are that many fatalities in car accident in cities. I think most fatal accident happen on highways or on the interstate. Cyclists do not take the interstate (well they really shouldn't). I think that if the statistics only took into account hours of driving within city limits it would be very bad.

    However, even though I know that not all commuters agree with it. I think that well design bike trails, as well as cycling path are also critical for our safety. Personally I like them.
    Last edited by PapeteeBooh; 08-23-01 at 12:23 PM.

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