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Old 12-01-06, 03:42 PM   #1
ragboy
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Ever think of giving up commuting?

In light of the bike fatality tragedy post -- I got to thinking how dangerous biking on the roads can be. Do you ever consider maybe commuting is not worth the risk? I have a fairly short commute -- 6 miles to work and 90 percent of that is MUP. I might think twice if I had a lot of road riding to do.
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Old 12-01-06, 03:47 PM   #2
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Think about it? Sure. Then I take the T or remember what a pain it is to drive a car in Boston and compare that to the fun I have riding a bike. The benefits far outweigh the risks for me.
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Old 12-01-06, 03:50 PM   #3
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Well a whole lot of people die gruesome deaths in cars, all the time. If you really want to be safe, live in a basement telecommute, and order groceries online. You would never have to leave the house! People always mention that they feel cars are safer, but no one will ever have to use the jaws of life to free me from the burning wreckage of my trek.
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Old 12-01-06, 03:53 PM   #4
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Do you think of giving up motor vehicle transport when reading about the ~115 motor vehicle deaths that occur every day.

Al
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Old 12-01-06, 03:55 PM   #5
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Avoiding death is not the same as living life.


(And anyway, I don't accept the implied premise that driving is safer than cycling.)
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Old 12-01-06, 03:58 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ragboy
In light of the bike fatality tragedy post -- I got to thinking how dangerous biking on the roads can be. Do you ever consider maybe commuting is not worth the risk? I have a fairly short commute -- 6 miles to work and 90 percent of that is MUP. I might think twice if I had a lot of road riding to do.
Yup, my wife won't let me do it any more. Too many fast cars in my area** with too many distracted drivers.

I can ride any where I want, as long as I am not riding during commute times.

She bought me a membership in a health club.

**my commute was all major multilaned 45+mph arterials. I have bike commuted since about 1976... so experience was not an issue.
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Old 12-01-06, 04:00 PM   #7
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It's definitely crossed my mind - but that goes with a lot of things I do in life. Taking the subway often has be have back-of-the-head thoughts of "what if there's a bomber on the train?" - but the likelyhood is low, and let's be fair - we've all got different levels of comfort, but at the same time, differing levels of what we'll deem as dangerous to ourselves.

I think of it in this way:

I ride as best as I can, whenever I ride. I take what I deem to be appropriate (or at least sufficient) safety measures when riding, including protection and visibility measures and I keep a keen/alert head on me. I ride cautiously and attentively but also assertively so as to make my riding as predictable as I can while maintaining the confidence needed to jossle position with the vehicles on our roads.

Cars themselves are scary enough if you think about what it can do to you if it'd hit, let alone a bus, truck or semi. I use that fear as a means to keep myself focussed on riding as best I can.

In other words, I do everything I think I can to keep myself safe when riding. What anyone else does around me on the roads is out of my control and I really can't be worrying about it when I'm riding.

I have a family and daughter to teach, watch and raise - I intend for it to stay that way.

Edit: And the fact I've not really 'commuted' by bike much alone speaks to me that I want to continue. I love riding my bike and this is a surefire way I'll get to do it in the week.
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Old 12-01-06, 04:19 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by noisebeam
Do you think of giving up motor vehicle transport when reading about the ~115 motor vehicle deaths that occur every day.

Al
It'd be interesting (and impossible) to know what the ratio is for bike riders/deaths as opposed to drivers/deaths. 115 motor deaths each day sounds pretty small in relation to how many vehicles are out there.
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Old 12-01-06, 04:21 PM   #9
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I think about it, then I see a cyclist whiz by me in traffic someday when I'm stuck driving and the feeling passes.
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Old 12-01-06, 04:22 PM   #10
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It crosses my mind every morning when the alarm goes off at 5am, but not because I am scared of the big bad roads, but because it's 5am in the morning and I am a lazy bast@rd who loves to sleep. Once I get on the bike, I remember why I DO keep getting up at 5am in the morning.

After over 40 years of cycling and over 30 commuting to/from work, I don't see cycling on the roads as dangerous. Yes, there are more drivers, going faster, paying less attention, less well-mannered and less competent than in the 70s, but it still isn't that dangerous as long as you know your limitations, ride safely, predictably & courteously, adhere to the traffic laws & customs of your locale, pay attention to what is going on around you and plan for Murphy.
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Old 12-01-06, 04:28 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ragboy
It'd be interesting (and impossible) to know what the ratio is for bike riders/deaths as opposed to drivers/deaths. 115 motor deaths each day sounds pretty small in relation to how many vehicles are out there.
Data can be spun depending on if one looks at per hour, per mile, per capita, or per number of vehicle type owners.

Al
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Old 12-01-06, 04:40 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chipcom
Yes, there are more drivers, going faster, paying less attention, less well-mannered and less competent than in the 70s, but it still isn't that dangerous as long as you know your limitations, ride safely, predictably & courteously, adhere to the traffic laws & customs of your locale, pay attention to what is going on around you and plan for Murphy.
Very well put.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ragboy
It'd be interesting (and impossible) to know what the ratio is for bike riders/deaths as opposed to drivers/deaths. 115 motor deaths each day sounds pretty small in relation to how many vehicles are out there.
I remember seeing a discussion along this lines where someone posted statistics comparing deaths per hours of exposure. And that the death rate for cyclists was in fact very, very low. This ring a bell for anyone?
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Old 12-01-06, 04:42 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by nasiralpharia
If you really want to be safe, live in a basement telecommute, and order groceries online.

Basements flood.
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Old 12-01-06, 04:42 PM   #14
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Usually when Wed rolls around the frequency I start thinking about driving increases. Hills and wind tend to also increase that frequency. However, I love the challenge and actually doing something that is different. I will not ever say that I will do this until I retire but I would like to think that I will. Safety isn't the issue for me. It is laziness. It's just so easy to drive.
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Old 12-01-06, 04:45 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by caloso
I remember seeing a discussion along this lines where someone posted statistics comparing deaths per hours of exposure. And that the death rate for cyclists was in fact very, very low. This ring a bell for anyone?
Rings a bell. My recollection is that per hour cycling is safer than motoring, but per mile motoring is.

The per mile stat. is (or may be) more important to transportational cyclists (commuters) as one is replacing the miles, not the time.

There is also the assumption from an individual perspective that one puts as much care into safe motoring and lowest risk motor route selection as one does for cycling.

Al
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Old 12-01-06, 04:51 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chipcom
It crosses my mind every morning when the alarm goes off at 5am, but not because I am scared of the big bad roads, but because it's 5am in the morning and I am a lazy bast@rd who loves to sleep. Once I get on the bike, I remember why I DO keep getting up at 5am in the morning.
x2 I love sleep
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Old 12-01-06, 04:53 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chipcom
but it still isn't that dangerous as long as you know your limitations

"A man's gotta know his limitations" -- Clint Eastwood.

Yeah, my limitations are night cycling on the interstate, and crossing that exit ramp in front of 60+MPH traffic...

During the longer days of the non winter months, I don't have a problem doing that route... but night, just adds that "one more factor" that I don't want to face.
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Old 12-01-06, 04:56 PM   #18
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Nope. Bicycling just isn't that dangerous. I found the following from the bicycleuniverse. I don't agree with everything on their site but the numbers look pretty good.

Deaths per year. 725, 629, 665, 732, and 693 cyclists died per year in 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001, and 2000 respectively, and were about 89% male. (National Highway Traffic Saftey Administration, and Insurance Institute for Highway Saftey)

An average of 16.5 cyclists per million die every year in the U.S. (For motorists, it's 19.9 motorists per million.) (National Safety Council 1988)


I also found the following at editthis

A risk analysis company (Failure Analysis, Inc., now known as Exponent Corp.) did a study some years ago and found cycling to have about half the fatality risk of being a driver or passenger in an automobile; 0.26 deaths per million hours compared to 0.47 for autos

Both are rather old cites but they seem valid.

More recent statistics are from http://www.nsc.org/lrs/statinfo/odds.htm

Transport Accidents......... 48,071.. 6,050.. ..78
Motor-Vehicle Accidents... 44,757.. 6,498.... 84
Pedestrian....................... 5,991... 48,548.. 626
Pedalcyclist... ................. 762..... 381,693.. 4,919
Motorcycle rider................3,676.. ..79,121.. 1,020


To read the columns the following should be taken into account: The table has four columns. The first column gives the manner of injury such as motor-vehicle crash, fall, fire, etc. The second column gives the total number of deaths nationwide due to the manner of injury in 2003 (the latest year for which data are available). The third column gives the odds of dying in one year due to the manner of injury. The fourth column gives the lifetime odds of dying from the manner of injury. Statements about the odds or chances of dying from a given cause of death may be made as follows:

The odds of dying from (manner of injury) in 2003 were 1 in (value given in the one-year odds column).
The life-time odds of dying from (manner of injury) for a person born in 2003 were 1 in (value given in the lifetime odds column).


Given that your odds of dying in a bicycle accident is 1 in 381,693 vs dying in a car accident (1 in 6498), I'll stick to riding my bike. Heck, it's even safer than walking!
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Old 12-01-06, 04:59 PM   #19
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if i'm going to die on my way to school, i'd rather it be on my bike.
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Old 12-01-06, 05:06 PM   #20
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A risk analysis company (Failure Analysis, Inc., now known as Exponent Corp.) did a study some years ago and found cycling to have about half the fatality risk of being a driver or passenger in an automobile; 0.26 deaths per million hours compared to 0.47 for autos
That's the one I was talking about. Every day I commute, I spend about an hour on the bike (a little less actually). So, all other things being equal, for that hour of exposure, my risk of death is one in four million.

Imagine that the hour on the bike is like a spin of a roulette wheel and I'm putting a chip on "Live." Imagine a roulette wheel with 4 million spaces on it with three million nine hundred ninety-nine thousand nine hundred ninety-nine spaces marked "Live" and one space marked "Die."

I'd take that bet.
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Old 12-01-06, 05:20 PM   #21
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Avoiding death is not the same as living life.
that is one awesome statement
mind if I use it in my .sig ?
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Old 12-01-06, 05:30 PM   #22
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To What alternative? Driving? Doesnt seem any safer to me......
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Old 12-01-06, 05:38 PM   #23
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that is one awesome statement
mind if I use it in my .sig ?
Not at all. My pleasure.
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Old 12-01-06, 05:43 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by noisebeam
Do you think of giving up motor vehicle transport when reading about the ~115 motor vehicle deaths that occur every day.

Al
+1 Very well said.
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Old 12-01-06, 05:47 PM   #25
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I think about the incredible joy I get from riding, everyday, and then I can't see living without that.
No. I don't think about quitting.
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