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  1. #1
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    Wired Magazine analysis on bike safety

    In order to manage spousal fears on the dangers of cycling, I had been looking for an actuarial analysis of both sides of this issue (dangers vs health benefits).

    I finally found it in Wired magazine a couple months back. They projected fatality likelihood, how it statistically shortens lives in bicycle riders as compared to car drivers/passengers. Then, they looked at the life elongating effects of the exercise of bicycling.

    They're results? All things being equal, bicycling slightly improves longevity. When one factors in helmet use and controlling for safer cycling routes, the benefits of cycling far outweigh the dangers from an actuarial viewpoint.

    I showed this study to my wife, to which she retorted, "Oh you think some little study is a match for my worrying power? Think again!"

    Your mileage may vary.

  2. #2
    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
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    Why does bicycling appear so tenuous in North Carolina?

    Riders there are primarily recreational, and group up for safety.
    "Evidence, anecdote and methodology all support planning for roadway bike traffic."

  3. #3
    babylon by bike Standalone's Avatar
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    link?
    The bicycle, the bicycle surely, should always be the vehicle of novelists and poets. Christopher Morley

  4. #4
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    You just make me all the more glad to be single; guess I'll live even longer without anyone trying to beat me over the head with their groundless worries!

  5. #5
    24-Speed Machine Chris516's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Todzilla View Post
    In order to manage spousal fears on the dangers of cycling, I had been looking for an actuarial analysis of both sides of this issue (dangers vs health benefits).

    I finally found it in Wired magazine a couple months back. They projected fatality likelihood, how it statistically shortens lives in bicycle riders as compared to car drivers/passengers. Then, they looked at the life elongating effects of the exercise of bicycling.

    They're results? All things being equal, bicycling slightly improves longevity. When one factors in helmet use and controlling for safer cycling routes, the benefits of cycling far outweigh the dangers from an actuarial viewpoint.

    I showed this study to my wife, to which she retorted, "Oh you think some little study is a match for my worrying power? Think again!"

    Your mileage may vary.
    Hmmm....If you accurately quoted your wife, she sounds pro-car to me, like walking to the corner store to get a few groceries, or biking to get the mail is beneath her. She is an OPEC jewel.

    I am not trying to be insulting towards your wife. It is just that, she sounds exactly like one of my relatives who didn't want me biking or biking very far. I told that relative that I will not be pidgeon-holed as to their biking worries. It doesn't mean that I am not capable of judging where I can(and cannot) bike.

    They just have to accept that I make that judgment call and their worries will not dictate where I ride.

    My fiance doesn't even worry about my biking, to the amount that my other relative does.

  6. #6
    Half way there gmt13's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bekologist View Post
    Why does bicycling appear so tenuous in North Carolina?

    Riders there are primarily recreational, and group up for safety.
    I am not sure I understand your meaning. Please enlighten?

    And how do you define "recreational". If it is doing stuff for fun, then are most cyclists in the US "primarily recreational"? I derive a great deal of pleasure out of my daily commute, and would say that would make me a recreational rider then. Perhaps you mean "avocational", i.e. not doing it for money. But then why do the "vocational" (i.e. professional) cyclists group up? Oh, that's right - because then they go faster. But wait, when I group up with other riders, I go faster too, but then I feel a bit less safe due to the threat of wheel overlap. I have heard that this grouping up affect occurs in locations other than North Carolina, though.

    What does it all mean?

    -G

    PS: Todzilla, I have had a heck of a lot more close calls as a pedestrian than a cyclist. Show your wife some stats on dangers of walking.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bekologist View Post
    Why does bicycling appear so tenuous in North Carolina?

    Riders there are primarily recreational, and group up for safety.
    I wouldn't characterize bicycling as "tenuous" in North Carolina. To the contrary, my neck of the tarheel state is very cycle friendly. My bike commute is nicely coincidental with a state bike route and 95% of motorists are very respectful.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris516 View Post
    Hmmm....If you accurately quoted your wife, she sounds pro-car to me, like walking to the corner store to get a few groceries, or biking to get the mail is beneath her. She is an OPEC jewel.

    I am not trying to be insulting towards your wife. It is just that, she sounds exactly like one of my relatives who didn't want me biking or biking very far. I told that relative that I will not be pidgeon-holed as to their biking worries. It doesn't mean that I am not capable of judging where I can(and cannot) bike.

    They just have to accept that I make that judgment call and their worries will not dictate where I ride.

    My fiance doesn't even worry about my biking, to the amount that my other relative does.
    To her credit, she understands there's a strong component of irrationality to her worrying. She probably secretly fears I'll get paralyzed and she'll have to change the Depends. Alternatively, if I die of an obesity related heart condition while watching "So You Think You Can Dance" there's less messy work ahead.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Seattle Forrest's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gmt13 View Post
    But then why do the "vocational" (i.e. professional) cyclists group up? Oh, that's right - because then they go faster. But wait, when I group up with other riders, I go faster too, but then I feel a bit less safe due to the threat of wheel overlap.
    You could do wheel overlap drills, preferably in tennis shoes on grass and dirt. See this thread: Wheel Bumping "Drills??" Good or Bad idea, who has tried it?
    Don't believe everything you think.

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    I don't think it's horribly irrational. Most of us will live through our cycling careers without a major accident, but it does seem that the population of people that put in a lot of miles has a higher incidence of serious accidents than I feel comfortable with. And many of these victims are safe riders that get into situations that is beyond their control. That being said, we tend to discount the incidence of car accidents in this sort of risk calculation. I think the closest I've gotten to a fatal accident due to my cycling activities was during the drive home.

  11. #11
    Senior Member jputnam's Avatar
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    I wouldn't usually think of Wired for actuarial analysis.

    Peer-reviewed health research suggests the advantage is hugely in favor of cycling benefits vs. accident risk. (Some studies come a bit higher, some lower, but I'm not aware of any that have put it anywhere close to breakeven.) And that advantage holds in countries with very low helmet use.

    Cycling to work reduces the risk of premature death by 40%. (Copenhagen Heart Study, Andersen et al., 2000)

    Cyclists who cover at least 25 miles each week can halve their risk of heart disease (Morris et.al., 1990)

    Cycling increases bone density, which offsets osteoporosis. (Hillman, 1992; Cavill and Davis, 2003)

    Cycling improves psychological and mental wellbeing and self-esteem as well as reducing the risk of stress, depression and anxiety (Pearce et al.. 1998; Shayler et al., 1993; Cavill and Davis, 2003)


    Life years gained by cycling outweigh life years lost in accidents by 20 to 1 (Baden et al., 1998)
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/jputnam/collections/72157604835074312/

  12. #12
    Senior Member Looigi's Avatar
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    I like road riding and am willing to accept the risks, but I'll just mention the obvious. It's exercise that provides benefits, not bicycles. You can get the benefits of exercise doing something less dangerous than road riding.

  13. #13
    Senior Member Seattle Forrest's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Looigi View Post
    I like road riding and am willing to accept the risks, but I'll just mention the obvious. It's exercise that provides benefits, not bicycles. You can get the benefits of exercise doing something less dangerous than road riding.
    That's maybe 70 to 80 % true.
    Cycling improves psychological and mental wellbeing and self-esteem as well as reducing the risk of stress, depression and anxiety (Pearce et al.. 1998; Shayler et al., 1993; Cavill and Davis, 2003)
    Riding a bike on a trainer in your living room, for many people at least, won't have the same benefits in terms of reduction of stress, depression, and anxiety. It's true that any exercise will be beneficial in these terms, but cycling provides things like fresh air, sunshine, and a more intimate connection with the communities you ride through (regularly) that isn't matched by lifting weights at the gym.
    Don't believe everything you think.

  14. #14
    Senior Member closetbiker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Standalone View Post
    link?
    is this the article?

    http://www.wired.com/magazine/2011/09/st_kia_bike/

    According to a 2006 study by the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, there were just 0.07 fatalities per every million miles traveled by the state’s bicyclists, versus 0.02 fatalities for every million miles logged by cars. Also, the fitness-boosting benefits of cycling may outweigh the risks: A 2010 Dutch study concluded that people who switch from driving to cycling for short trips actually increase their average life expectancy by up to 14 months.
    There's all kinds of info out there.

    Dave Moulton wrote a blog on this too

    http://davesbikeblog.blogspot.com/20...ve-longer.html

    When comparing the fatality risk by miles traveled, every one million miles cycled, (1.6 Million Kilometers.) produces 0.039 cyclist fatalities, compared to 0.016 fatalities for motorists...
    However, this statistic is flawed to the point that it can be ignored, for the simple reason it would take a cyclist riding slightly under 385 miles per week, 50 years to ride one million miles..

    .For every million hours spent cycling the fatality rate is 0.26, compared to 0.47 deaths per million driving hours. Therefore, driving a motor vehicle has nearly twice the risk of fatality as riding a bike for a given duration...

    Statistics confirm that you can also reduce your risk of an accident if you don’t do the following: Don’t ride on the sidewalk and suddenly appear in front of motorists at intersections, especially if you are going the wrong way...
    Last edited by closetbiker; 11-23-11 at 02:59 PM.
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  15. #15
    24-Speed Machine Chris516's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Todzilla View Post
    To her credit, she understands there's a strong component of irrationality to her worrying. She probably secretly fears I'll get paralyzed and she'll have to change the Depends. Alternatively, if I die of an obesity related heart condition while watching "So You Think You Can Dance" there's less messy work ahead.
    At least she knows that her worrying has an element of irrationality to it.

    This might sound mean to say to her, but with her irrational worry, I wouldn't be surprised if she would suddenly say something like 'I don't want you to end up being a story on the Spike TV cable channel's show '1000 Ways To Die'.

  16. #16
    Senior Member trackhub's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DX-MAN View Post
    You just make me all the more glad to be single; guess I'll live even longer without anyone trying to beat me over the head with their groundless worries!
    Ditto.
    I thought I was suffering from depression once. Turned out, I was simply surrounded by idiots.

  17. #17
    Senior Member dynodonn's Avatar
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    My wife has her concerns, but she no longer voices them since I keep coming home without incident. Now on the other hand, someone really needs to have word with my employer.

  18. #18
    Senior Member hotbike's Avatar
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    You could "Ride Defensively" and yield to cars and trucks, instead of trying to argue that you have the "Right of Way" , could you not?
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/11629987@N02/sets/72157639939606343/

  19. #19
    Cycle Year Round CB HI's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bekologist View Post
    Why does bicycling appear so tenuous in North Carolina?

    Riders there are primarily recreational, and group up for safety.
    Quote Originally Posted by gmt13 View Post
    I am not sure I understand your meaning. Please enlighten?
    Just more of Bek's Troll **** directed towards sggoodri's cycling advacacy in NC.
    Land of the Free, Because of the Brave.

  20. #20
    Cycle Year Round CB HI's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Todzilla View Post
    In order to manage spousal fears on the dangers of cycling, I had been looking for an actuarial analysis of both sides of this issue (dangers vs health benefits).
    You did it all wrong. See, I did sky diving before cycle commuting. My wife does not say a thing about cycling being dangerous.
    Land of the Free, Because of the Brave.

  21. #21
    CRIKEY!!!!!!! Cyclaholic's Avatar
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    Here in Australia our natural environment is so full of lethal flora and fauna that my wife is actually relieved of her worry when I decide to go play in traffic on my bike instead of fishing, hiking, camping, ect. as I often do with my friends.

    Last summer we had a great white shark come up and harass us on our kayaks, I'm so glad I wasn't out there alone that time. Another time my buddy had a big chunk of his kayak torn off by a bull shark well inside Sydney harbor, fortunately he managed to climb up the navigation marker before the shark turned its attention from his 'yak to him. We were back in the water the following weekend eager to try out his brand new 'yak. I had a great run last summer, I only had one redback (black widow) spider bite all summer. I came very close to getting bit by a nasty old brown snake, although admittedly I was in the process of catching it for dinner so you can't really blame the snake for that one.

    I try to reassure my wife by reminding her that there's virtually no chance of running into saltwater crocs where we fish.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by closetbiker View Post
    is this the article?

    http://www.wired.com/magazine/2011/09/st_kia_bike/



    There's all kinds of info out there.

    Dave Moulton wrote a blog on this too

    http://davesbikeblog.blogspot.com/20...ve-longer.html
    I agree with the general conclusion, but Moulton is repeating some completely groundless numbers there.

  23. #23
    Senior Member dougmc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by closetbiker View Post
    Dave Moulton wrote a blog on this too

    http://davesbikeblog.blogspot.com/20...ve-longer.html
    When comparing the fatality risk by miles traveled, every one million miles cycled, (1.6 Million Kilometers.) produces 0.039 cyclist fatalities, compared to 0.016 fatalities for motorists...
    However, this statistic is flawed to the point that it can be ignored, for the simple reason it would take a cyclist riding slightly under 385 miles per week, 50 years to ride one million miles..
    Wow. That is some really impressive logic (proof by handwaving?) that Dave has used there!

    Using his reasoning, since it would also take a motorist riding slightly under 385 miles per week (a figure that I think is a a bit higher than the average motorist actually drives in the US, but it's really close -- so perhaps he's found the actual figure?) 50 years to ride one million miles, then we can ignore all the people who die while traveling in cars too?
    Last edited by dougmc; 11-25-11 at 11:30 PM.

  24. #24
    Single-serving poster electrik's Avatar
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    I'm sure it is even more dangerous for pedestrians under those conditions dougmc.

    Maybe your wife thinks you're a garbage cyclist and can't tell you.

  25. #25
    Senior Member closetbiker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RobertHurst View Post
    I agree with the general conclusion, but Moulton is repeating some completely groundless numbers there.
    Me too. I find behavior is the more reliable indicator but in general, the guideline of numbers can place the issue in some form of context.

    I'm sure those numbers would be far different if most bike riders didn't pay attention, rode through intersections without thinking, and weren't lit in the dark. If we got rid of all those who do that, the numbers would look a whole lot better than they already do.
    Last edited by closetbiker; 11-26-11 at 08:25 AM.
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