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Old 10-24-04, 09:16 AM   #1
operator
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Looks like us bike commuters die faster...!

http://www.thestar.com/NASApp/cs/Con...=1098396610102

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Heart attacks were 2.6 times more common for people stuck in cars, 3.1 times higher for people stalled in traffic while taking public transportation, and 3.9 times greater for those jammed up while on a bicycle.
I laughed when I read this.
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Old 10-24-04, 10:25 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by operator
I wonder where they bikers are jammed up? Personally I love the freedom of tooling around town when traffic is heavy and I am getting where I need to go twice as fast (at least) as any car. I guess the exhaust could do some damage, but I have seen other threads here that point out that we are out there in the open air, higher up than most drivers noses, and actively processing the air much more quickly than drivers sitting in their enclosed cars.

The only study actually quoted in the article simply states:
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A study of hundreds of heart attacks in Germany published in The New England Journal Of Medicine found nearly one in 12 attacks was linked to traffic.
I'm thinking that this figure doesn't have much to do with bikers. Where did they get the 3.9 times more likely to have a heart attack figure?

Strange science.
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Old 10-24-04, 11:30 AM   #3
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This doesn't make sense.

I would need far more information about the study to make sense of the claim that more cyclists than motorists have heart attacks in traffic.

Cycling is what people do to prevent heart attacks. That's common sense.

And since when do cyclists get jammed up in traffic? We ride on by.

Last edited by closetbiker; 10-24-04 at 11:44 AM.
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Old 10-24-04, 02:06 PM   #4
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um, by bikers, they probably mean motorbikers.

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Old 10-24-04, 02:13 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by shaq-d
um, by bikers, they probably mean motorbikers.

sd
It specifically says Bicycle in the article.
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Old 10-24-04, 02:38 PM   #6
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And the study "was based on interviews with 691 volunteers who survived heart attacks." Strange science, indeed. Methinks they are making far too much soup from one poor piece of meat.
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Old 10-24-04, 05:51 PM   #7
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Hey, this is Germany!!! Did you think cycling would help with the bad effects of all that bratwurst?
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Old 10-24-04, 09:29 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CommuterKat
I wonder where they bikers are jammed up? Personally I love the freedom of tooling around town when traffic is heavy and I am getting where I need to go twice as fast (at least) as any car.
This makes me wonder which bikers were the ones who supposedly had the heart attacks? I suppose that if you're 55 years old, haven't exercised in 30 years, weigh 187kg, then suddenly get on a bike and pedal flat out to work, you're probably putting yourself at risk. However, if you're someone who builds up a reasonable level of fitness gradually, and knows what you're doing in traffic (not everyone does), the statistics might be a little different.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CommuterKat
I guess the exhaust could do some damage, but I have seen other threads here that point out that we are out there in the open air, higher up than most drivers noses, and actively processing the air much more quickly than drivers sitting in their enclosed cars.
One other advantage of being on a bike in traffic in this respect is that if you're outside, whatever wind there is can at least dissipate the smog somewhat. I noticed this phenomenon last week when I was lane-splitting down Bundall Road. Compare this to a car that has all the windows wound up (most of them do, even in our disgustingly hot climate), and the vent sucks in the fumes directly from the car in front.

I guess by getting to my destination quicker, I also get out of the exhaust fumes quicker.
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Old 10-24-04, 10:00 PM   #9
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I think they are saying that a cyclist is 3.9 times as likely to have a heart attack in the hour after riding in traffic than he has outside that time period. It isnt a comparison of the likelyhood of a cyclist having a heart attack compared with a motorists chances.
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Old 10-25-04, 05:20 AM   #10
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It also doesn't say whether these are regular cyclists. I can well believe that some desk-job guy who realizes he's 40 pounds overweight and decides to start riding 5 miles a day and overdoes it the first time out, would come home and have a heart attack.

The instance of heart attack per 100,000 is low enough that 2 or 3 of these would really skew the statistics.
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Old 10-25-04, 09:59 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AndrewP
I think they are saying that a cyclist is 3.9 times as likely to have a heart attack in the hour after riding in traffic than he has outside that time period. It isnt a comparison of the likelyhood of a cyclist having a heart attack compared with a motorists chances.
It looks like you're right. If so, what a meaningless study.
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Old 10-25-04, 10:20 AM   #12
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...and you have to wonder what the definition of traffic is.

Is it, bumper to bumper standing still cars, while the cyclist waits along with them or is just riding along side the still traffic just as damaging?

How long is the exposure required to have a debilitating effect? 10 minutes back up or 30 minutes backed up 2 times a day? What about location? Is riding along side the ocean in traffic as bad as riding inland beside traffic?

How is it that a motorist who sits in 15 extra backed up minutes breathing the exhaust from the cars around him is less at risk than a cyclist that isn't stalled at all riding above and beside the exhaust?
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Old 10-25-04, 11:22 AM   #13
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Judging from my own accquaintances, a lot of Germans take up cycling after their first heart attack. This may bias the sample.
The "traffic jamming" style of riding common in the USA and UK is not really so prevelant in continental Europe.
You have to look really carefully at the sample for any report, but esp for cyclists. One report compared city commuter cyclists to extreme elite MTB riders for impact damage to the genitals. Of course the off-roaders suffered far more impact damage. The newspapers got hold of this and gave the impression that all cycling resulted in MTB style bruising and damage.
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Old 10-26-04, 08:55 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by operator
I was thinking these bicycle commuters would probably die from heart attacks if they were hit by car first. Then it makes perfectly good sense.
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Old 10-26-04, 09:02 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slvoid
It specifically says Bicycle in the article.
yeah..can't figure it out.

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Old 10-26-04, 10:34 AM   #16
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Looking a little more closely at the article, I see heart attack survivors were asked to assess activities in the four days prior to their heart attack symptoms for information on events that may have triggered the attack. In other words, this is in no way a true or factual indication of what contributes to a heart attack.

As far as the traffic link of victims, who hasn't spent time in traffic, either before a heart attack or not?
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