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Old 01-13-08, 11:53 AM   #1
MrCjolsen
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A good response to one anti-bike argument

Namely the one where parents argue that it's far too dangerous for their children to ride bicycles.

Here's what I say.

One day, your child will turn 16. And they will need to get back and forth to school, practice, part-time jobs etc. As we both know, the high school driving years are probably the most dangerous years for young people and the most worrisome for parents. Wouldn't it be better if they could hold off on driving until they were a little bit older? Well, the way to make that happen is for them to have an way of getting around that doesn't involve being behind the wheel of a car. And the best way for that to happen is if they can easily and efficiently get around on a bike. For that, it's best that they start riding at a very early age and learn that you can get from a to b as easily on a bike as anything else.

Any thoughts?
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Old 01-13-08, 01:28 PM   #2
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My answer is; My best friend from high school, the first girl I ever kissed, the wife's favorite uncle, and my brother-in-law were all killed in car accidents, how many people do you know that have been killed in bike accidents?
I don't know any.

Last edited by maddyfish; 01-13-08 at 04:54 PM.
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Old 01-13-08, 02:25 PM   #3
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how many people do you know that have been killed in bike accidents.
Sadly, a few, but not nearly the number of people killed in car accidents. My mother-in-law is in a nursing home which has several younger patients, those under 65, and all are in there because of auto accidents. I usually see a dozen or so. In fact, my mother-in-laws back problem started from a car accident in the 1950s when she was ejected from a car.
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Old 01-13-08, 02:26 PM   #4
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Everything is dangerous, however I think there was some data saying per-hour riding a bike, you're safer (it was posted around here some time ago).

Walking down the street is dangerous, getting in a car is dangerous, you lessen that danger by paying attention to things, more attention paid and more experience gained the safer you are.
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Old 01-13-08, 04:32 PM   #5
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My wife used to be worried about my son riding a bike on the road. I showed her the numbers at that time, about 5 years ago, and they are not that much different in 2007: On local roads---not highways---in Toronto from Jan-Oct 2007, 19 pedestrians (down dramatically this year), 18 drivers and 8 passengers were killed. Only 3 cyclists died during the same time. Statistics prove, every year, that cycling is, by far, the safest means of transportation. However, effective coaching, guidance and practice are vital. 5 years later of regular near-daily riding, he has yet to have an accident.
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Old 01-14-08, 07:26 AM   #6
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I agree with EnigManiac's last point. I haven't been commuting for very long now, but manage to not become an accident statistic by being alert and following rules. Where I stay, there are way too many jerks who refuse to obey traffic rules and way few law enforcers. I manage to stay alive simply by taking basic preventive precautions such as maintaining safe distance and stopping at intersections.
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Old 01-14-08, 07:31 AM   #7
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I bought my teenage boy a Fuji road bike. At the time I had little expereience on a road bike. The more time I spent in traffic the less I wanted my son on the road on a bike. But alas, we do have to let them grow up sometime.
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Old 01-14-08, 01:23 PM   #8
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Motor vehicle injuries [for passengers] are the leading cause of death among children in the U.S. (CDC 2006).
I was taking my daughter to the Teen Center the other day on the back of my Xtracycle when some motorist drove along side and was accusing me of putting my daughters life at risk. I pointed out that she was putting her son (possibly younger then 12) more at risk especially in the front seat of a car with air bags.
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Old 01-14-08, 09:28 PM   #9
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One day, your child (may) reach 65. Do you want your child to have a healthy life at that age?
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Old 01-15-08, 05:28 PM   #10
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Often parents think that it is too dangerous just to have the kid out of sight. I think that these types of fears are not founded in logic, but in emotion and largely based on anecdotal news stories. You hear about a 6 year old who was killed or an experienced cyclist that was killed on the news and you tuck that away and say see that biking is dangerous stuff.

Most any activity can result in injury or worse. What about the little girl who was grabbed out of her bed as she slept? No one is going to say that sleeping is dangerous. In Florida pools kill many more children than cars or bicycles. So there swimming lessons are a must. Women can die in childbirth; does that mean that you won’t want your daughter to have kids? Best thing that can be done is to educate new riders. While balancing a bike is somewhat intuitive, using a bike on the street is not.
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Old 01-15-08, 06:16 PM   #11
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Like driving a car isn't dangerous enough? You want me to allow my kid to ride around in traffic on a bicycle? Are you insane?

(probable typical response)
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Old 01-15-08, 06:23 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by maddyfish View Post
My answer is; My best friend from high school, the first girl I ever kissed, the wife's favorite uncle, and my brother-in-law were all killed in car accidents, how many people do you know that have been killed in bike accidents?
I don't know any.
That's probably effective, but only because people are pretty stupid.

When you add up all the hours per year all of the people you know spend driving cars and riding bikes, the ratio is probably very high. So even if the likelihood of death for a given hour of activity (driving or riding) was the same, most people should expect to know 10 to 100 times more people who have died driving rather than riding. Another way to look at it is: you should expect a relatively high number of people you know to die while driving before any one you know dies while riding a bike.
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Old 01-15-08, 08:54 PM   #13
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Get your child addicted to cycling. Make a complete human-power snob out of him/her. Teach them to look down on peers who drive everywhere--you will then save them from perhaps the most dangerous adolescent travel situation which is being in a car full of other teens.
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Old 01-15-08, 09:27 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by slagjumper View Post
Often parents think that it is too dangerous just to have the kid out of sight. I think that these types of fears are not founded in logic, but in emotion and largely based on anecdotal news stories. You hear about a 6 year old who was killed or an experienced cyclist that was killed on the news and you tuck that away and say see that biking is dangerous stuff.
I am so glad my Mom and Dad encouraged me to ride my bike to school.

My Mom wouldn't take me to school, and Dad would tell me, "Don't call me, I'm not picking you up."

Seriously, they both saw my desire to ride a bike at a young age and fed it. My Dad even rode a few miles to the bus depot on his bike regularly in the 70's and 80's.

Bottom line: they never stopped me or discouraged me, and bought me bikes as I grew (when I told them I wanted a 5-speed Schwinn Sting-Ray back in the day, I got a 5-speed Collegiate instead, which was heavy by our standards, but more of a commuter bike.)

Today, in their 80's, they still encourage me to bike commute now that I'm almost 50.

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Last edited by LittleBigMan; 01-15-08 at 09:35 PM.
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Old 01-15-08, 10:30 PM   #15
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Like driving a car isn't dangerous enough? You want me to allow my kid to ride around in traffic on a bicycle? Are you insane?

(probable typical response)
Right; that's the kind of response I get.

I'd like to take my dad for a ride around town the next time he comes to visit, but I'm not sure if he's crazy enough.. lol
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Old 01-16-08, 02:48 AM   #16
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That's probably effective, but only because people are pretty stupid.

When you add up all the hours per year all of the people you know spend driving cars and riding bikes, the ratio is probably very high. So even if the likelihood of death for a given hour of activity (driving or riding) was the same, most people should expect to know 10 to 100 times more people who have died driving rather than riding. Another way to look at it is: you should expect a relatively high number of people you know to die while driving before any one you know dies while riding a bike.
I was waiting for someone to point that out, that you have to account for the difference in the number of people who drive and the number of people who bike, comparing hours on the road is definitely a sure fire way to explain true numbers, however I think it was brought up before on here, and you were twice as likely to get in a serious accident in a car than on a bike.
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