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  1. #1
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    Percentage unreported?

    what % of cyclists who are hit by cars don't report it? some people were saying most car/bike accidents aren't reported because they're so minor

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    Senior Member closetbiker's Avatar
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    If they're so minor the people involved think reporting it wouldn't be of any benefit to anyone, does it matter?
    "My two favourite things in life are libraries and bicycles. They both move people forward without wasting anything" -Peter Golkin
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    Do you report it every time you cut your finger chopping onions?

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    L T X B O M P F A N S R apricissimus's Avatar
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    I got hit once, but suffered no injury. The car left the scene before I could get a look at its plates. Reporting the incident would have been next to useless since nothing could be done about it without more information than I had. I suspect a lot of unreported incidents are like this.

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    genec genec's Avatar
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    Not reporting accidents allows for false statistics that lead to outrageous conclusions. Some of the most often quoted messages are derived from stats collected from police reports. I believe the infamous "Cross study" is one of these.

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    Senior Member closetbiker's Avatar
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    Hospital records are more reliable than police reports but even hospital records have to be looked at carefully.

    It's not uncommon someone shows up at a hospital ER just to be careful there isn't an injury that the person hasn't noticed or there are those who are sure they have an injury when they have a trivial injury or none at all. Just because someone visited a hospital doesn't mean they have been injured.

    The worst are surveys where someone fills out what they think (or like to convey) what they imagine is the case.

    Speculation on unreported incidents is just that, speculation. It's got nothing to do reality.
    "My two favourite things in life are libraries and bicycles. They both move people forward without wasting anything" -Peter Golkin
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    genec genec's Avatar
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    Just to give an example... I have been hit 3 times by cars... hard enough to require a new bike each time... only the third time did I go to a hospital and was a police report written.

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    Senior Member gcottay's Avatar
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    Most incident numbers of all types are under reported. Researchers generate fudge factors using various unsatisfactory methods ranging from moistened fingers to comparative datasets to interviews of population subsamples.

    Anyone who claims that the majority of motor vehicle v bike incidents go unreported may be quite right. Or wrong.
    George
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  9. #9
    Been Around Awhile I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by genec View Post
    Not reporting accidents allows for false statistics that lead to outrageous conclusions. Some of the most often quoted messages are derived from stats collected from police reports.
    Even more outrageous are "conclusions" about the relative risk/danger of various cycling scenarios/techniques, by those who aggregate totals of accidents without regards to the severity of the accident victims. Only the intellectually challenged (or disreputable sophists with an agenda) would, when drawing conclusions about cycling risk, consider statistics that record accidents with no injury as equal to those with injury, or minor injuries as equal to severe and catastrophic injuries.

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    Senior Member Ziemas's Avatar
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    The only time I got bumped I reported it, but only because the woman was extremely nasty after she backed into me. If she would have simply said she was sorry I would have gone on my way and forgotten about it. Instead she threw a fit, yelling and screaming at me, even though she was totally at fault as she backed up into me while we were stopped in traffic.

  11. #11
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gcottay View Post
    Most incident numbers of all types are under reported. Researchers generate fudge factors using various unsatisfactory methods ranging from moistened fingers to comparative datasets to interviews of population subsamples.

    Anyone who claims that the majority of motor vehicle v bike incidents go unreported may be quite right. Or wrong.
    The vast difference is that motor vehicle accidents have a reporting mechanism... the insurance companies... nothing similar exists for cyclists... cyclist data is therefore subject to all sorts of inaccuracies and misinterpretations... some with wildly huge fudge factors... take this for an example:
    Quote Originally Posted by ILTB
    Even more outrageous are "conclusions" about the relative risk/danger of various cycling scenarios/techniques, by those who aggregate totals of accidents without regards to the severity of the accident victims. Only the intellectually challenged (or disreputable sophists with an agenda) would, when drawing conclusions about cycling risk, consider statistics that record accidents with no injury as equal to those with injury, or minor injuries as equal to severe and catastrophic injuries.

  12. #12
    Senior Member closetbiker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by genec View Post
    Just to give an example... I have been hit 3 times by cars... hard enough to require a new bike each time... only the third time did I go to a hospital and was a police report written.
    due to the possiblility of severe consequences, wouldn't you say someone would go and have their head checked for internal damage just to be safe?

    If someone falls and hits thier arm, it wouldn't result in the same potential of damage as if they had hit their head. Someone could just put up with the pain for while. If the pain doesn't subside, you can always go in later with less possibility of further damage than if you, bonk or jerk your head. The last thing you would want to do is stay at home with a possibility of internal bleed.

    Helmet advocates often quote an over-representation of hospital visits for head injuries. I think I recall some figures being something like 30% of all bike injuries are for head injuries. This is a misrepresentation because being checked for something and actually having something are 2 different things. The number of head injuries are not nearly as high as many are led to think.

    Checking for hospital stays for an injury condition would be more reliable than checking for visits when the patient simply goes home due to there being diagnosed for a trivial injury after examination.
    Last edited by closetbiker; 12-15-08 at 11:49 AM.
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  13. #13
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by closetbiker View Post
    due to the possiblility of severe consequences, wouldn't you say someone would go and have their head checked for internal damage just to be safe?

    If someone falls and hits thier arm, it wouldn't result in the same potential of damage as if they had hit their head. Someone could just put up with the pain for while. If the pain doesn't subside, you can always go in later with less possibility of further damage than if you, bonk or jerk your head. The last thing you would want to do is stay at home with a possibility of internal bleed.

    Checking for hospital stays for an injury condition would be more reliable than checking for visits when the patient simply goes home due to there being diagnosed for a trivial injury after examination.
    The problem with either is that it skews stats toward those that cause injury, and away from the whole overall picture... how for instance do we know whether riding centerish improves cycling situations? It could be that you then become part of a new "fender bender" category that results in no more than bent bikes that have to be replaced... and has nothing to do with head or arm injuries.

  14. #14
    Senior Member closetbiker's Avatar
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    One of the problems I have when people are tying to develop this type of stat is that it's almost like some people are trying to ignore that life involves bumps and bruises.

    Life is a terminal condition and we have the odd problem now and again. We should learn from the small problems to avoid the big ones.

    Here's a good stat (at least from my province). The death rate from collisions with motor vehicles is the same for both motorists and cyclists. Commuter cyclists make up 2% of traffic volume yet all cyclists are involved in only 1% of traffic collisions. Pedestrians are killed at 5 times the rate cyclists are. Far more people die from conditions that arise from the lack of cycling regularily. People who commute to work by bicycle on a regular basis live longer than those who commute by by motor vehicle on a regular basis (those last 2 stats are good world wide).

    If you want to be safe, ride safely. The vast majority of people who die on bicycles die riding in a ridiculously dangerous manner.

    Most cyclists have a fall now and again. Lots of them have some kind of injury. Almost always, it's a minor injury. If they have any common sense, they would figure out what went wrong and try to avoid it in the future.
    Last edited by closetbiker; 12-15-08 at 02:26 PM.
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  15. #15
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by closetbiker View Post
    One of the problems I have when people are tying to develop this type of stat is that it's almost like some people are trying to ignore that life involves bumps and bruises.

    Life is a terminal condition and we have the odd problem now and again. We should learn from the small problems to avoid the big ones.

    Here's a good stat (at least from my province). The death rate from collisions with motor vehicles is the same for both motorists and cyclists. Commuter cyclists make up 2% of traffic volume yet all cyclists are involved in only 1% of traffic collisions. Pedestrians are killed at 5 times the rate cyclists are. Far more people die from conditions that arise from the lack of cycling regularily.

    If we want to be safe, ride safely. The vast majority of people who die on bicycles die riding in a ridiculously dabgerous manner.

    Most cyclists have a fall now and again. Lots of them have some kind of injury. Almost always, it's a minor injury. If they have any common sense, they would figure out what went wrong and try to avoid it in the future.
    My injuries or bike damage have occurred when trying to ride in a vehicular manner while sharing the roads with cars... if I use those skewed statistics, I would never ride on the road with cars.

    Stats are only as good as those gathering the data... and tend to show the biases of the ideas those data gatherers have when collecting said data.

    Remember: "Lies, damned lies and statistics..."

  16. #16
    Senior Member closetbiker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by genec View Post
    My injuries or bike damage have occurred when trying to ride in a vehicular manner while sharing the roads with cars... if I use those skewed statistics, I would never ride on the road with cars.

    Stats are only as good as those gathering the data... and tend to show the biases of the ideas those data gatherers have when collecting said data.

    Remember: "Lies, damned lies and statistics..."
    I hear you.

    I look at stats all the time but I think the real way to avoid an injury is being aware of your surroundings and using the type of behavior that is involved in the least amount of collisions.

    FWIW, 3 cars have hit me. 2 of the cars were driving in a non-vehicular manner (they were breaking rules in a dangerous way) and the other car driver should have looked before he turned (but in retrospect, I should have not placed myself where I did)

    I've had 2 major collisions with other cyclists. Both of then were riding non-vehicularlily. One riding on the wrong side of the road in the dark with no light and the other crossing a sidewalk while refusing my right of way.
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  17. #17
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by closetbiker View Post
    I hear you.

    I look at stats all the time but I think the real way to avoid an injury is being aware of your surroundings and using the type of behavior that is involved in the least amount of collisions.

    FWIW, 3 cars have hit me. 2 of the cars were driving in a non-vehicular manner (they were breaking rules in a dangerous way) and the other car driver should have looked before he turned (but in retrospect, I should have not placed myself where I did)

    I've had 2 major collisions with other cyclists. Both of then were riding non-vehicularlily. One riding on the wrong side of the road in the dark with no light and the other crossing a sidewalk while refusing my right of way.
    Yeah, with your "stats," one would think to avoid non-vehicular situations, (stay off of sidewalks and MUPs) so you can see how poorly gathered data can really swing a view one way or the other... and how conclusions can be drawn quite easily to indicate nearly anything, based on how the data was gathered and presented.

    This is why I tend to dismiss "studies" that have not been reviewed by a larger community... and sadly that is what most bicycle studies are... as cyclists do not have an accurate method of reporting.

    At least with automobiles, insurance companies tend to compile data for their own profit and calculate various stats for the bottom line. Sure those stats can be skewed too, but there are many agencies compiling the data for various reasons, and overall the data tend to compare well. Nothing of the kind is done for cycling.

  18. #18
    Senior Member closetbiker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by genec View Post
    ... poorly gathered data can really swing a view one way or the other... and how conclusions can be drawn quite easily to indicate nearly anything, based on how the data was gathered and presented.

    This is why I tend to dismiss "studies" that have not been reviewed by a larger community... and sadly that is what most bicycle studies are... as cyclists do not have an accurate method of reporting...
    One really has to be careful to understand what stat you're using, how it was found, the reputation of who did the research and if there was a goal for the research.

    We've done a bit of discussion on this on the helmet thread (of course) because it's often studies coming up with stats that are used in arguments. Criticism of the methods and basis of some of these studies work against arguments on each side.

    This is not to say there are not good studies or stats out there or that even biased studies might have something to offer. One just has to be aware of the faults or biases and consider them.

    For instance, take that TRT study from '89 that is horribly flawed in so many ways.

    One way is that the 88% figure (admitted by the authors to be incorrect) only applied to 1 age group - the 0 to 4 year olds. The 5 to 9 year olds had something like a 52% figure while the 10 to 14 year old group had a 24% figure (if I'm remembering correctly). A lot of people think the 88% figure would be the one that would apply to them even if they are 24 or 44 years old.

    They also think it may apply to them if they were in a collision with a motor vehicle but those children simply fell off their bicycles on their own, no one in the helmeted group was involved in a collision with a motor vehicle.

    Further, few realize the 88% figure is labelling odds ratios as risk ratios. The results looks more impressive if you want to encourage helmet use by labeling it this way.

    Finally few realize that the author had already been campaigning for helmet use before doing the research, the research was funded by a helmet manufacturer and that helmet law lobby groups, funded by helmet manufacturers, use this research in misleading ways such as exaggerating the dangers of cycling in order to create a solution for that danger by the use a helmet.

    One way to make cycling look more dangerous than it is is to spread stats about a huge number of injuries to cyclists that are never reported.

    If they had understood the study, who made it and why, they never would have made the assumptions they did. If you consider that a helmet might help a young child falling over on his bike prevent or reduce an injury, the study might be of some use. If you think a 30 year old riding at a rapid pace in traffic that gets cut off by a car/truck and hits his/her head with force either into the side of the vehicle or onto a curb on the road, the study may have no use as a reliable indicator of what may happen to the cyclist in that situation.

    Bottom line is you have to use your common sense and look at the big picture. Balance one thing with others that make sense and take your time coming to conclusions.
    Last edited by closetbiker; 12-16-08 at 08:39 AM.
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