From his site:
"Under even the most pessimistic of assumptions:
- Net effect of driving a car at 65mph for one hour: Dying 20 minutes sooner. (18 seconds of life lost per mile)
- Net effect of riding a bike at 12mph for one hour: Living 2 hours and 36 minutes longer (about 13 minutes of life gained per mile)"
I think it makes sense. My commute gets me about 1 1/2 hours of riding a day, sometimes more. His money figures don't work as well for me, as my vehicles are much less expensive to operate than he assumes. On the other hand, my motorcycle is so much more dangerous than driving a car or bicycle that maybe the cheapness of it shouldn't matter so much.
IMO, I wouldn't say the bicycle is the safest. We are out there in the open with our bikes and just the measly old helmet (most of us)to protect us from the vehicles, and the ground. I would say the car is more safer because of the protection and you are in a cage. I will differ on the motorcycle too. Only speaking for myself, I don't dare get on a motorcycle without full gear from head to toe, and all kinds of weather.. And I have had some street crashes on the motorcycle too. All I escaped unharmed due to my gear and the Lord. I have had one crash on the bicycle, doing about 25 mph, and it had just finished raining, crossed a metal strip, and I went down head first into a curb. The cheap Walmart helmet saved the day.
I have not contacted another vehicle with the bicycle or motorcycle (thank heavens), but even though I am moving faster on the motorcycle, I feel much safer on the motorcycle than the bicycle...
Thinking about it, the legitimate statistic would be lives lost per hour of activity, not lives lost per mile. Example, death rate of riding a car for an hour versus riding a bike for an hour. Honestly, I think they would probably be almost the same although I can't back up my opinion.
Sorry to follow up my own posting. Very interesting information from the US Government (NIH). They did a study on those who rode the Tour de France versus the general population between the years 1930 and 1964. The said the TDF riders lived an mean of 8 years longer on average.
So ride your bikes.....
His title does not match his article (he must be taking lessons from the newspaper knuckleheads). He only compares riding a bicycle to driving a car, that two point perspective by no means even attempts much less comes close to covering "transportation" as a whole. What about trains, planes, boats, riding a bus, riding a motorcycle, etc . . . He needs to change the title to "Bicycling: Actually a SAFER Form of Transportation then Driving a Car" and then the title would actually match the content of the article (whether or not you agree with his points or accept them is another matter but he should at least get the title to match the content of the article).
Good points all. I think the argument in the article is that longevity and quality of life gained by regular exercise is lengthened/improved vs interminable couch surfing, be it at home or in a petrol fueled vehicle. This is just common sense, but backed with some stats in the article.
Quality of life is in the eye of the beholder. Most don't consider pedaling a bicycle to be an improvement in their life quality. For those of us who do, the article is a great half time pep talk for sure. It is ALL about motivation.
You can gain the benefit of exercise without exposing yourself to the hazards of the open road. We happen to enjoy cycling to the degree that we are willing to accept the attendant risks. Personally, I've been riding bikes for over 40 years and motorcycles for over 35 and consider cycling to be significantly more hazardous than motorcycling.
Too many convoluted leaps of logic to reach this conclusion.
He says he's got 32 years of adult cycling under his belt to bolster his argument, well I've got him beat by a decade and I've learned enough at this point that cycling safety is relative and promoting it as a "safe" activity to the general public can be misleading.
Is cycling heathful? If done regularly and wisely, yes. but to run out and jump on a bike with the seat too low and pound away in too high a gear once every couple of months is useless.
Is it economical? Yes, if you purchase wisely and don't buy every upgrade and new thing that comes out- and actually use the bike to go places.
Is it safe? Sure, but arguing that its safer than driving when we factor out age and drinking and running red lights while on the bike doesn't make it any safer than someone who drives sober, within the law and speed limit, wears a seat belt, a properly maintained vehicle and goes to the gym 3-5 times a week to ride an Exercycle.
I would venture to guess that a responsible car driver, who eats well and gets regular exercise is "safer" even under his rubric.
I ride a bike because its fun and it makes sense for me. I don't know if it would be as much fun for everyone or make as much sense.