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Commuting Bicycle commuting is easier than you think, before you know it, you'll be hooked. Learn the tips, hints, equipment, safety requirements for safely riding your bike to work.

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Old 04-08-07, 06:23 PM   #1
MrCjolsen
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Some thoughts on the safety of bike commuting

Recently, I found out that a guy I worked with a long time ago was murdered in a botched carjacking attempt.

It dawned on me that if a criminal is going to risk a long prison term for armed robbery or murder, he's a lot more likely to go after someone's $50,000 car than my $500 bike. If he wants a bike, it's far easier and less risky get some bolt cutters and steal a parked bike than to put a gun to someone's head.

Also, many motorists become crime victims in parking lots on the way to their cars. Those of us who commute on bikes, however, either park our bikes in our workplaces or very near to the door. For the most part, we step out of our offices, factories or classrooms, get on our bikes and start rolling. Once rolling, a cyclist is a much more difficult crime target than someone crossing a dark parking lot on foot.

When it comes to accidents there are numerous dangers we don't face. Every driver's nightmare is going down a two lane road or street and having an oncoming car cross over into your lane resulting in a deadly head on collision. A cyclist in the same situation would have an easier time of avoiding a direct head on collision even if it means winding up in a ditch. Also, there's the issue of speed. If a car pulls out in front of me and I'm traveling at 20mph and hit it, it's far less likely to be fatal than if I'm driving and a car pulls out in front of me while I'm going 50.

Most of us do not ride our bikes with 20 gallons of explosive shloshing around in our panniers, making the chances of someone being trapped inside their buring Cannondale virtually nil.

The same holds true for another motorist nightmare, driving into a body of water. If I'm forced off of a levee and into the Sacramento river while riding my bike, as long as I can swim, I'm golden, whereas a motorist would face the dillema of getting out of their sinking vehicle before it filled with water.

Any other issues that might make it safer to commute by bicycle than by car?
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Old 04-08-07, 07:06 PM   #2
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I posted some thoughts in Car Free sometime last year about the advantages of cycle commuting in the so-called "Age of Terrorism". If you don't want to contribute to ongoing political instability in oil-rich regions of the world, cycle commuting has some real advantage over the other main alternative, mass transit (besides consuming zero oil resources and emitting zero additional greenhouse gases). Note that cycle commuting retains the independence and decentralized nature of single-occupancy car commuting, which means not only that you can keep control of your own route and schedule, but it also avoids having masses of people gathered together in centralized places such as bus and train stations, which can then become prime terrorist targets. It's just like car commuting, only without the car!
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Old 04-08-07, 07:06 PM   #3
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I guess that's not really "safer compared to a car", but "safer (from terrorist attack) compared to alternatives". Sort of on topic, maybe... ?
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Old 04-08-07, 08:54 PM   #4
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I agree with the OP. I guess that is one of the advantages of bike commuters being perceived as low-income guy.

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Old 04-08-07, 09:01 PM   #5
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While I will concede most of your points, I think they're quite minor - at least for me.
The risk of being carjacked, mugged, or trapped inside a burning/flooded car is negligible.
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Old 04-08-07, 09:31 PM   #6
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Car hits you on a bike at 35mph from behind, usually fatal.
Car hits you in a car at 35mph from behind, not usually fatal.
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Old 04-08-07, 09:44 PM   #7
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Losing control at high speeds in a car, usually fatal.
Losing control at high speeds on a bike, not usually fatal.

Not acting like a jackass on bike, not usually fatal.
Not acting like a jackass in a car, not usually fatal.

Having ice cream tonight, usually good.
Having more ice cream tonight, usually good.
Having even more ice cream tonight, not usually good.

The list goes on.... As the World Turns.
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Old 04-08-07, 09:57 PM   #8
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Being a victim of violent crime is really low on my list of worries. Being a victim of terrorism is extremely low.

Getting hit by a car on my daily commute. That's a legimate concern.

Getting heart dicease. That's even more of a legimate concern (kills more people than anything else).

I guess I'll keep biking.
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Old 04-08-07, 10:32 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slvoid
Car hits you on a bike at 35mph from behind, usually fatal.
Car hits you in a car at 35mph from behind, not usually fatal.
That's the best reason I've got for not driving.
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Old 04-08-07, 11:17 PM   #10
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The only problems I had with your post were

#1. If a car falls into a river you actually HAVE to wait for it to fill with water before you escape. Plus the advantage of you car is that your probably wont break ur ribs when u fall off the bridge.

#2. As a cyclist you expose yourself to times more pollution and smog than the average driver.

The thrill of riding under your own power kinda negates these things. Plus u can always buy a Respro.
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Old 04-09-07, 12:13 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WishYouWasMe
The only problems I had with your post were

#1. If a car falls into a river you actually HAVE to wait for it to fill with water before you escape. Plus the advantage of you car is that your probably wont break ur ribs when u fall off the bridge.

#2. As a cyclist you expose yourself to times more pollution and smog than the average driver.

The thrill of riding under your own power kinda negates these things. Plus u can always buy a Respro.
#1. You're right. I remembered the episode of Mythbusters after I typed it.
#2. I disagree. On a bike, you are generally not directly behind cars all the time. As a motorist, you are. On a bike, your air intake is higher than that on a car. And finally, the filtering system on most cars just makes the pollution smell nicer.
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Old 04-09-07, 07:47 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WishYouWasMe
#1. If a car falls into a river you actually HAVE to wait for it to fill with water before you escape. Plus the advantage of you car is that your probably wont break ur ribs when u fall off the bridge.
No you don't. Roll down the window. Even power windows work when underwater. I think that's safer. Once the car fills with water, you're going to be sinking fast, and most situations are not going to be as clean as the mythbusters episode. It's quite likely that the car will turn sideways, maybe even hitting bottom sideways as you're trying to get out, crushing you. Or you'll have sticks or weeds or submerged rocks and whatnot to deal with. Plus, it's surprisingly easy to lose orientation and not know what way is up if the water is cloudy.

Roll the windows down and climb out before the car fills, and you'll still be on top of the water.

Or ride a bike and not worry about it at all.
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Old 04-09-07, 08:26 AM   #13
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#2. As a cyclist you expose yourself to times more pollution and smog than the average driver.
I believe it's been said many times that this isn't true.
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