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Old 07-10-13, 07:20 PM   #1
1nterceptor
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Risks of cycling, walking and driving put in context

"Deaths are often considered a better comparison measure, since they almost always involve crashes with motor vehicles, are reliably recorded, and are the most devastating type of injury. So how do deaths compare between modes? British Columbia Motor Vehicle Branch data for the same years indicate there were 10 deaths a year on average (all age groups) when cycling, 70 when walking, and 300 when driving.

Thus, bicycling had the lowest “burden” of deaths and head injuries of the three transportation modes."

Read the full article: http://www.vancouversun.com/news/Ris...#ixzz2YfOZA6nh
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Old 07-10-13, 07:53 PM   #2
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It's an interesting article, thanks for posting.

It shows that we tend to exaggerate the risks of cycling, while tuning out the high rate of injury while driving.

One nice tweak is how statistics can be manipulated to lead to various conclusions depending on what's measures. Trips is one measure, and so is distance, but since cycling is often recreational, maybe we should look at time, or the risk of death per hour for each activity.
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Old 07-10-13, 08:17 PM   #3
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"Burden" is one thing.

"Rate" is another.

It's impossible to tell which activity is riskier without knowing the total amount of time the entire population studied spent performing each activity.

Never mind the fact that participants in each activity have a lot of control over the level of risk they experience. Not total control, but a significant amount.
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Old 07-10-13, 10:06 PM   #4
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Who cares?

All these type of forum "death" questions are asked because the poster(s) is/are fearful.
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Old 07-10-13, 10:09 PM   #5
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Who cares?

All these type of forum "death" questions are asked because the poster(s) is/are fearful.
Says the guy who won't even straddle a bicycle without first putting on a helmet.
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Old 07-11-13, 04:29 AM   #6
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Also depends where you live. If you are lucky enough to live in a city that has a cycling culture, with lots of bike-friendly infrastructure and policies that favor cycling you are likely to see much less injuries and deaths than places that don't, and where the car is king.
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Old 07-11-13, 04:36 AM   #7
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Or I should say the rate of injury and death of an area depends in large part on the quality and amount of the cycling infrastructure, or lack of.
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Old 07-11-13, 07:40 AM   #8
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Number of deaths in a year is a meaningless statistic without knowing the total number of trips or number of miles travelled per mode.

10 cyclist deaths for 100 rides is 10% death rate.

300 driver deaths for 50000 rides is 0.6% death rate, and therefore much safer.
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Old 07-11-13, 07:54 AM   #9
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Says the guy who won't even straddle a bicycle without first putting on a helmet.
I'm not fearful, but I'm not stupid either. Kind of like going to a war zone, I wasn't fearful but I still carried my weapon.
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Old 07-11-13, 10:59 AM   #10
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Number of deaths in a year is a meaningless statistic without knowing the total number of trips or number of miles travelled per mode.

10 cyclist deaths for 100 rides is 10% death rate.

300 driver deaths for 50000 rides is 0.6% death rate, and therefore much safer.
I'd probably go with deaths/hour rather than deaths per mile.
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Old 07-11-13, 11:08 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by spivonious View Post
Number of deaths in a year is a meaningless statistic without knowing the total number of trips or number of miles travelled per mode.

10 cyclist deaths for 100 rides is 10% death rate.

300 driver deaths for 50000 rides is 0.6% death rate, and therefore much safer.
Well if you read the article, you'd see that's exactly what the author did -- he looked at the death rate compared to trips / miles traveled. Based on trips, bicycling had 14 deaths per 100 million trips, compared to 10 for driving. Based on distance, bicycling had 3 deaths per 100 million km, compared to 1 for cars.

So I guess you could say that cycling is 3 times as dangerous as driving, until you factor in the distance: around 60 million miles.

I'd bet that once you factored in the miles per trip, cycling would be about the same as driving, since the average car trip is around 60 to 80 miles (my guesstimate), while the average bike ride is probably around 20 miles or less.

Also, keep in mind that the automobile deaths basically consist of 100% licensed drivers, while the cyclist deaths include mountain bikers, and tons of people who don't have the foggiest notion of how to ride a bike, i.e. people who salmon, ride on sidewalks all the time, etc.

Finally, as the author points out, the stats don't include health offsets from the activity: in the case of driving, these are all negative; in the case of cycling, they are almost all positive.

Bottom line to me: cycling is safer than driving, and much better for you!
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Old 07-11-13, 11:13 AM   #12
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Motorist deaths should also be adjusted for:

1. Deaths (e.g. cancer, lung disease, cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome, diabetes) attributed to motoring.
2. Deaths attributed to anthropogenic climate change.
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Old 07-11-13, 12:48 PM   #13
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I liked this blog post (it's been mentioned in other posts on the forum, sorry if it's redundant):

http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2013/...ransportation/

I just pay attention to death rates per mile, as I'm not just heading out for an hour of bike riding. I'm going to work which is 9 miles in the morning, and 9 to 40 miles home after work. I'm going someplace. Bicycling is transportation for me. I don't think it's dangerous.
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Old 07-11-13, 01:45 PM   #14
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Hard to judge based on a total lack of information. It's pretty clear that there is an overwhelming public perception of it being safer in a car than on a bike, at least in North America.

Take for example a typical news article describing a bicycle accident. It will always mention whether the rider was wearing a helmet. Even if it doesn't even involve head injuries.
Helmet or not, was the driver taking precautions? Where does it mention if the driver was wearing a seatbelt, did the airbag deploy?

Car accidents involving death are also a side note, an afterthought. There was a little blurb on the radio a week ago after our long weekend. Statistics were read for the number of drivers caught speeding, driving drunk, texting, etc. then at the end "and 2 deaths from accidents".

I don't think its about what mode is safer, I think looking at the effect is wrong. Look at the cause: what mode is injuring and killing the most people? That one is pretty clear, especially if you're an American child (#1 killer of children in USA is cars).
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Old 07-11-13, 01:56 PM   #15
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Only 300 per year in a province of 4.4 million people?? Last year the state of Tennessee (which has almost 50% more people than BC at 6.45 million) surpassed 1,000 motoring crash deaths. Well over 350% more. Just shows how bad drivers are in this area of the country.
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Old 07-11-13, 03:36 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by delcrossv View Post
I'd probably go with deaths/hour rather than deaths per mile.
It depends on WHY one is cycling.

If for transportation it is per mile and should be compared to the same miles for other modes being considered. If for recreation or athletic training then per hour seems a better measure.


And on either it needs to be a comparison using the miles or hours the rider will be doing. And some of the time those answers are not to be found in statistics. Both bike paths and roads can vary by time. It does not matter to me if a road I ride on weekends is dangerous during rush hour or for that matter that a path I might ride during the week is a zoo on weekends.
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