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  1. #1
    LET'S ROLL 1nterceptor's Avatar
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    Reasons why bicycling in the US is dangerous

    "It’s great for the environment. It’s salubrious. And it’s good, clean fun. However, Americans are not only among the world’s least
    avid cyclists; they are also among the most likely to get killed. Here are a few interesting—if morbid—takeaways. Pedal safely!"

    Read the full article:
    http://qz.com/160598/eleven-reasons-...lly-dangerous/

  2. #2
    Señior Member ItsJustMe's Avatar
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    It says in 46% of the fatal crashs, the motorist was not found to contribute to the accident.

    However, I would assume that in 100% of those cases, the cyclist was not able to provide testimony (this is mentioned at the end of the article).

    I'd like to see how it compares to the percentage of times the motorist was found at fault in non-fatal accidents, and also when there was a 100% reliable witness - video evidence (either helmet, dash or traffic cam).

    It's also interesting that they dredge up helmets in a way to make it seem like the cyclist is at fault for dying because they weren't wearing helmets, yet don't point out that in all those countries with far less death per mile, helmet use is almost unheard of.
    Work: the 8 hours that separates bike rides.

  3. #3
    24-Speed Machine Chris516's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ItsJustMe View Post
    I'd like to see how it compares to the percentage of times the motorist was found at fault in non-fatal accidents, and also when there was a 100% reliable witness - video evidence (either helmet, dash or traffic cam).


    I get the feeling local departments' don't want to enforce the 'close passing' laws and/or, ever find a motorist at fault regardless of the circumstances.

  4. #4
    Family, Health, Cycling Lanceoldstrong's Avatar
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    My take aways from the article:
    Don't drink and ride, Don't run red lights, Don't ride on the sidewalk.

    On a related note: Some perspective

    "In a country with a population of three hundred and fifty million people, less than two cyclists die on roads in the US each day. A pretty miniscule number, so rare these deaths are always reported by local media, to be picked up elsewhere and the stories re-run across the nation.

    On any given day some 12 pedestrians will die, and around 90 people driving cars will be killed somewhere across America. For the most part these fatalities will go unreported. This lop-sided reporting of cycling deaths, gives an erroneous impression that cycling is far more dangerous than it really is" http://davesbikeblog.squarespace.com...they-dont.html
    In Escendo Est Verum

  5. #5
    24-Speed Machine Chris516's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lanceoldstrong View Post
    My take aways from the article:
    Don't drink and ride, Don't run red lights, Don't ride on the sidewalk.

    On a related note: Some perspective

    "In a country with a population of three hundred and fifty million people, less than two cyclists die on roads in the US each day. A pretty miniscule number, so rare these deaths are always reported by local media, to be picked up elsewhere and the stories re-run across the nation.

    On any given day some 12 pedestrians will die, and around 90 people driving cars will be killed somewhere across America. For the most part these fatalities will go unreported. This lop-sided reporting of cycling deaths, gives an erroneous impression that cycling is far more dangerous than it really is" http://davesbikeblog.squarespace.com...they-dont.html
    Good illustration. It shows a real bias against cyclists', not some made up perception.

  6. #6
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lanceoldstrong View Post
    My take aways from the article:
    Don't drink and ride, Don't run red lights, Don't ride on the sidewalk.

    On a related note: Some perspective

    "In a country with a population of three hundred and fifty million people, less than two cyclists die on roads in the US each day. A pretty miniscule number, so rare these deaths are always reported by local media, to be picked up elsewhere and the stories re-run across the nation.

    On any given day some 12 pedestrians will die, and around 90 people driving cars will be killed somewhere across America. For the most part these fatalities will go unreported. This lop-sided reporting of cycling deaths, gives an erroneous impression that cycling is far more dangerous than it really is" http://davesbikeblog.squarespace.com...they-dont.html
    Keep in mind that cyclists are also less than 2% of the road users.

  7. #7
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    IMO this is a sort of meaningless apples and oranges comparison, that has little to do with bicycles, and a great deal to do with the American cowboy mentality. Without doing any research or citing any examples, I'll bet beers at 3:1 that similar differentials in accident and death rates can be found for autos in general without regard whether bicycles are involved.

    Over the years in the USA we seem (opinion) to have lost a sense of balance between rights and responsibilities. Everybody has some kind of special rights they jealously protect while wanting to regulate others. It's always the other guy who's making problems, be they *** owners, car owners, the rich, the poor, gays, the religious right (whatever that is) and so on.

    Somehow we seem to have forgotten the respect and courtesy needed to maintain a working civil society.
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  8. #8
    Senior Member gcottay's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
    . . . It's always the other guy who's making problems, be they *** owners, car owners, the rich, the poor, gays, the religious right (whatever that is) and so on.

    Somehow we seem to have forgotten the respect and courtesy needed to maintain a working civil society.
    Here's a Christmas gift from the late great Walt Kelly.

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  9. #9
    Senior Member Brennan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lanceoldstrong View Post
    My take aways from the article:
    Don't drink and ride, Don't run red lights, Don't ride on the sidewalk.
    This sums up my thoughts on the subject pretty well. I think the title of the article is a misnomer. Based on the statistics given, I wouldn't conclude that cycling in the US is inherently more dangerous. Rather, they seem to indicate that US cyclists take more risks.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by genec View Post
    Keep in mind that cyclists are also less than 2% of the road users.
    The chart corrects for that, although where they get their estimates for distances cycled is a bit of a mystery. Still, after the umpteen times you have posted your video of how wonderful it was to ride in Finland, I was shocked to see that the rate of death per km ridden in the US was only slightly over twice the rate for Finland. While the death rate should be much lower, in my opinion, it's not so high that I see much difference between what it is and half of that. In fact, if our death rate dropped to one half of what it currently is tomorrow I doubt if any of us would notice it. There would still be a cyclist killed once per day on average, so we would continue to read these man-bites-dog stories at the same rate.

    Other than the alcohol problem, it was also interesting that 40% of the fatalities were intersection/driveway issues. Strike against the segregation agenda, since that is the weak link in that approach.

  11. #11
    Senior Member muzpuf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris516 View Post


    I get the feeling local departments' don't want to enforce the 'close passing' laws and/or, ever find a motorist at fault regardless of the circumstances.
    I have the mirror on my glasses and when I see a car about to "strafe me" I weave out into traffic just for a second ....in over 30 years EVERY car swerves left also ..... by the time they figure out whats going on they are already past me .... they might be idiots but there not stupid

  12. #12
    Senior Member the fly's Avatar
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    The article states that 94% of fatal accidents occur during dry or clear atmospheric conditions. The obvious takeaway is to only cycle during inclement weather.

    Another good one was that most fatal collisions involved a car or light truck. Pretty much stating the obvious.

    Really about the only useful statistic in the article is the alcohol factor, and intersections/driveways. Steer clear of those two items, and you probably cut your fatality risk in half. Intersections/driveways not really avoidable, but more care can be taken. Riding while drunk is a whole different thing.

  13. #13
    Senior Member CommuteCommando's Avatar
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    The article reinforces something I had heard before, and believe is probably true; that in fatal bicycle accidents, the cyclist is most often at fault. Salmoning, chronic red light and stop sign running, and general all around doofusness are behaviors I have witnessed all too frequently. That alcohol is often involved is news to me, but not really surprising.

    I know there are risks, and that I am not immune to them, but also believe that my knowledge, defensive attitude and skills make my odds better than the median of American bike riders.
    As much as you paid for that Beemer [Mercedies, Audi, Escalade], I'm surprised it didn't come equipped with turn signals.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by the fly View Post
    The article states that 94% of fatal accidents occur during dry or clear atmospheric conditions. The obvious takeaway is to only cycle during inclement weather.

    Another good one was that most fatal collisions involved a car or light truck. Pretty much stating the obvious.

    Really about the only useful statistic in the article is the alcohol factor, and intersections/driveways. Steer clear of those two items, and you probably cut your fatality risk in half. Intersections/driveways not really avoidable, but more care can be taken. Riding while drunk is a whole different thing.
    While intersections are not avoidable, cyclists of the non-utilitarian type do far fewer intersections per mile than do urban cyclists. Perhaps the numbers are incorporating a difference in the cycling skill of high-mileage cyclists versus urban riders as much as the relative risks at intersections.

  15. #15
    rugged individualist wphamilton's Avatar
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    I had to laugh at that to, "94% of fatal accidents occur during dry or clear atmospheric conditions."

    I can't even say I ride slower and more cautiously in bad weather, since my fastest commute ever was in a light rain. Probably only 6% of the cyclists ride when it's not dry and clear.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lanceoldstrong View Post
    My take aways from the article:
    Don't drink and ride, Don't run red lights, Don't ride on the sidewalk.

    On a related note: Some perspective

    "In a country with a population of three hundred and fifty million people, less than two cyclists die on roads in the US each day. A pretty miniscule number, so rare these deaths are always reported by local media, to be picked up elsewhere and the stories re-run across the nation.

    On any given day some 12 pedestrians will die, and around 90 people driving cars will be killed somewhere across America. For the most part these fatalities will go unreported. This lop-sided reporting of cycling deaths, gives an erroneous impression that cycling is far more dangerous than it really is" http://davesbikeblog.squarespace.com...they-dont.html
    Given that practically every one of those three hundred and fifty million people is a "pedestrian" at some point in a day, whether it's walking across the street after locking a bike or walking through a parking lot after parking a car and that bicycles in the US represent less than .6 % of vehicles on the road at any time, I actually don't find your perspective all that comforting.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by CommuteCommando View Post
    The article reinforces something I had heard before, and believe is probably true; that in fatal bicycle accidents, the cyclist is most often at fault.
    It's certainly the case that in fatal crashes the cyclist is frequently *declared* to be at fault. What's less clear is whether that's because cyclists really are much more likely to be at fault in these crashes or if it's because the cyclists are not around to give their version of how the crashes happened.

    I remember an analysis of NTSB reports of plane crashes which found that 'pilot error' was declared to be the cause far more frequently in crashes where the pilot died than in crashes where the pilot was around to be questioned as part of the investigation. The conclusion of the analysis was that there wasn't any reason for the fatal crashes to be much more likely due to pilot error but that without input from the pilot the crash investigators tended to reach that conclusion far more readily than in cases where the pilot was alive and able to describe the circumstances of the crash and explain the actions he took prior to it. I suspect that there's a similar bias in fault determination in fatal cycling crashes.

  18. #18
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    The "second set" of numbers
    Deaths per billion kilometers per "population"-or something like that are nonsensical
    I assume they are actually deaths per billion kilometers??
    And assuming I am reading the numbers correctly-more Dutch-per unit of population-die on bikes than USA-E-INS
    They are 4x as likely to die on a bike than us- USA

    Maybe i read it wrong.
    Last edited by phoebeisis; 12-25-13 at 04:19 PM.

  19. #19
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by B. Carfree View Post
    The chart corrects for that, although where they get their estimates for distances cycled is a bit of a mystery. Still, after the umpteen times you have posted your video of how wonderful it was to ride in Finland, I was shocked to see that the rate of death per km ridden in the US was only slightly over twice the rate for Finland. While the death rate should be much lower, in my opinion, it's not so high that I see much difference between what it is and half of that. In fact, if our death rate dropped to one half of what it currently is tomorrow I doubt if any of us would notice it. There would still be a cyclist killed once per day on average, so we would continue to read these man-bites-dog stories at the same rate.

    Other than the alcohol problem, it was also interesting that 40% of the fatalities were intersection/driveway issues. Strike against the segregation agenda, since that is the weak link in that approach.
    Uh your reference to intersection/driveway issues... was that in reference to Finland or the US. In Oulu while they do also have intersection issues in some places, they do try to remove some of those issues with below road grade underpasses, something that is very rarely found in the US. Also bear in mind that Oulu Finland has a 20% modal share, something like well over 10X the modal share of the US. (even Davis only has something like just over 6%).

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by ItsJustMe View Post
    It says in 46% of the fatal crashs, the motorist was not found to contribute to the accident.

    However, I would assume that in 100% of those cases, the cyclist was not able to provide testimony (this is mentioned at the end of the article).

    I'd like to see how it compares to the percentage of times the motorist was found at fault in non-fatal accidents, and also when there was a 100% reliable witness - video evidence (either helmet, dash or traffic cam).

    It's also interesting that they dredge up helmets in a way to make it seem like the cyclist is at fault for dying because they weren't wearing helmets, yet don't point out that in all those countries with far less death per mile, helmet use is almost unheard of.
    Police hate bicyclists. I got hit head on at a 4 way stop. I saw the lady was going to do a rolling stop so I slowed down almost to a standstill, the lady was making a left and cut it short not making a wide left as she should of,,she came into my lane and hit me head on. The cop comes into the emergency vehicle i was in asked me if I stopped not anything else. I didnt answer cause it was more complicated than that. He said you have to stop left the truck, later on I found out he found me at fault lol. I didnt run the stop sign and got hit in the side. The lady cut the turn short and hit me head on in my lane . Yet the cop me found me at fault lol. Thats how it goes...it is always the guy on the bike.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by howeeee View Post
    Police hate bicyclists. ......
    Yes, there is some misassignment of blame, and I'm not going to argue the accuracy of the number. OTOH, the reality is that bicyclists are at fault much of the time. Is it 46%, 35%, 25%, who knows or sure, but I'll venture that it's easily more than 25% which is 25% too much.

    If were omniscient and accurately reconstruct accidents and assign blame correctly the number would exceed 100% because in a large number of accidents both parties were at fault. Bicyclists run lights and stop signs, fail to yield at merges, ride in blind spots and get right hooked when filtering up through stopped traffic.

    We need to stop putting all the blame on motorists and take charge of our own safety.
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  22. #22
    Senior Member SmallFront's Avatar
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    Hear, hear!

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by genec View Post
    Uh your reference to intersection/driveway issues... was that in reference to Finland or the US. In Oulu while they do also have intersection issues in some places, they do try to remove some of those issues with below road grade underpasses, something that is very rarely found in the US. Also bear in mind that Oulu Finland has a 20% modal share, something like well over 10X the modal share of the US. (even Davis only has something like just over 6%).
    No, the driveway comments were regarding the only other interesting part of the article, which does rather indict side paths and such that exacerbate intersection issues. The rest was directed at wonderful Finland, where cyclists are only killed half as often as in the US. It must be heaven on earth. Then again, if we eliminated the huge, if not accurately determined, fraction of our cycling deaths due to drunk ninja salmon, our cycling death rate would probably drop to less than half its current level. It wouldn't change your or my cycling experience (assuming you aren't a drunk ninja salmon either), but it would make the US appear to be a safer environment to cycle in than Finland. Hmm...

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    Or you could go for the primary source. (Google it.)

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  25. #25
    Walmart bike rider gpsblake's Avatar
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    There are things that both cyclists and motorists can do to reduce fatal crashes. Motorist need to be reminded we do have the rights, while we bicyclists need to be reminded we have the same responsibilities. We have the right to use nearly all roads. We have the right to have 3 feet when being passed. We have the responsibility to obey traffic laws. We have the responsibility to be make ourselves more visible. We have the right to expect roads be maintained for cyclist and clear sight lines at intersections.

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