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Old 01-13-05, 02:57 PM   #1
bsyptak
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Interesting bicycling article in Sierra [club] magazine

The actual article had a few extra pics of some Breezers and a Dahon, but the text is here:

http://www.sierraclub.org/sierra/200501/bike_tech.asp
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Old 01-13-05, 04:01 PM   #2
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Pretty good article, discounting the disinformation below:

""But I'm scared stiff of biking"

Well, you should be. There are a lot of idiots behind the wheel, and 662 cyclists were among the more than 42,500 Americans slaughtered in motor vehicle accidents in 2002. Bikers should learn safety measures and, above all, wear a helmet. About 85 percent of those cyclists were not wearing helmets. Avoiding main roads and staying sober greatly increase your odds of survival, since about 60 percent of bike fatalities occur on major roads, and over a fourth of the dead cyclists had been drinking. Also, the fatality rate soars at night."
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Old 01-13-05, 05:28 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by randya
Pretty good article, discounting the disinformation below:

""But I'm scared stiff of biking"

Well, you should be. There are a lot of idiots behind the wheel, and 662 cyclists were among the more than 42,500 Americans slaughtered in motor vehicle accidents in 2002. Bikers should learn safety measures and, above all, wear a helmet. About 85 percent of those cyclists were not wearing helmets. Avoiding main roads and staying sober greatly increase your odds of survival, since about 60 percent of bike fatalities occur on major roads, and over a fourth of the dead cyclists had been drinking. Also, the fatality rate soars at night."
Following are randomly excerted from various web sites after keyword searches.

"Each year in the U.S., accidents involving ladders cause an estimated 300 deaths and 130,000 injuries requiring emergency medical attention."

"More than 2,800 people die each year from choking; many of them are children.....The most common cause of nonfatal choking incidents is food."

"In 1998, 4,406 people drowned in the U.S., including 1,003 children younger than age 15, and drowning was the second leading cause of injury death for children ages 1-14."

"In 1999, over one million people suffered a slip, trip or falling injury, and over 17,000 Americans died as a result."

I suppose we should all just be "scared stiff" of a bunch of things. Or, perhaps accept some risk, be cautious and recognize that sometimes things happen.
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Old 01-13-05, 06:20 PM   #4
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In the US, 42,000 people die in motor vehicle accidents each year, and 450,000 die from tobacco-related illnesses. People are willing to accept much higher risks when they are associated with activities they are familiar with.

The Sierra Club article panders to the fears of non-cyclists. Even though cycling is actually a relatively safe activity, people that are not cyclists percieve the risks to be much higher than the actual risks associated with activities they are familiar with, like driving and smoking.
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Old 01-14-05, 07:10 AM   #5
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If you're going to argue numbers, though, I think you've got to talk about deaths relative to those engaging in the activity, kind of "per capita". To compare 42,000 motor vehicle deaths to 800 bicycle deaths is a little disingenous because so many more people travel by car than bike. I haven't run numbers, but I would be very surprised if the ratio of bike accidents to cyclists was not much higher than that of car accidents to drivers. And consider choking and falling: We all eat, and we almost all walk.
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Old 01-14-05, 09:17 AM   #6
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"But I'm scared stiff of biking"

Too scared to get off of the couch is more like it.

Here's a statistic to think about: Most people who die, die in bed. Want to live longer? Get out of bed.

Slightly off topic, but, oh well--my favorite Irish toast: May you die in bed at the age of 95, shot by a jealous husband.
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Old 01-14-05, 09:27 AM   #7
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The most interesting part of the article for me was the evolution of the new bikes in the article--aside from the electric one. I hope those things are reinforced, cuz we know who's gonna buy them.

Sierra Club always has used scare tactics to get their point across, but they are really no different from any other advocacy organization. They all do what they need to do to get their point across. Though I'm not quite sure what their point was since they were showing all of the cool new bike styles and then telling people that they get killed riding them on the roads.
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Old 01-14-05, 09:44 AM   #8
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Actually I read some number from a credible source once. By exposure hour car passengers have double the fatality rate than cyclists.

I'll try to track that down.
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Old 01-14-05, 10:18 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bsyptak
Sierra Club always has used scare tactics to get their point across, but they are really no different from any other advocacy organization. They all do what they need to do to get their point across. Though I'm not quite sure what their point was since they were showing all of the cool new bike styles and then telling people that they get killed riding them on the roads.
That was kind of the point of my earlier post. You can use numbers to scare or dramatize a point. Who though is going to argue that we stay dry to avoid drowning, lay down to avoid tripping or fallings or starvation to avoid choking?
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Old 01-14-05, 11:43 AM   #10
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I didn't get the impression that the article intended to scare anyone. It was obviously an article designed to counter peoples excuses for not riding. They were certainly not trying to scare people away from riding. If they wanted to scare you away from cycling, they would have put the fatality statistics at the top of the article and spent more ink bashing big cars and drunk drivers rather than helmetless drunk riders.
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Old 01-14-05, 11:56 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by bostontrevor
Actually I read some number from a credible source once. By exposure hour car passengers have double the fatality rate than cyclists.

I'll try to track that down.
Wow, that would be quite cool to find.
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Old 01-14-05, 12:06 PM   #12
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Here it is. Cycling is just over half as deadly as being in a car, per hour.

http://www.magma.ca/~ocbc/comparat.html
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Old 01-14-05, 12:37 PM   #13
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It looks like the "bicycling" activity is aggregated. I'm curious what the "on-road" bicycling exposure rate would be.
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Old 01-14-05, 12:59 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by supcom
It was obviously an article designed to counter peoples excuses for not riding.
Their bicycle safety advice was:

wear a helmet
don't drink and ride
don't ride on arterial streets
don't ride at night
[edit]Otherwise you might die

That's weak at best, and certainly not too encouraging to potential converts to cycling who might be considering replacing their SUV with one of the urban bikes discussed earlier in the article...

IMO, simple real safety advice would be something like:

ride predictably in the direction of traffic
select routes based on riding skills and traffic hazards
obey traffic control devices, use caution at intersections
use adequate lights and reflectors when riding at night
be alert for hazards such as potholes, drainage grates and opening car doors
use personal protective gear such as a helmet when warranted by riding conditions

My assumption is that the author of that article is not a cyclist...

Last edited by randya; 01-14-05 at 09:19 PM.
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Old 01-14-05, 07:55 PM   #15
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thanks for all the responses to this thread. I love seeing this info.
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Old 01-14-05, 09:32 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bostontrevor
Here it is. Cycling is just over half as deadly as being in a car, per hour.
It makes sense that it would be only half as deadly because when a bike crashes with another bike or a tree or something the rider probably will not die from it. But do the same in a car--crash into another car or a tree or something--and the driver or passengers will probably be more likely to die. Oh yeah, add in passengers and one car could kill like 4 or 5 people all at once. Harder to do that on a bike, too.
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Old 01-14-05, 11:11 PM   #17
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I linked to the Breezer site, and while the bikes look good, they list no actual information about the bikes. You can't compare weights and prices with other brands. The best link I've seen here lately is the bike that REI sells for $699 with a Nexus rear and Shimano generator hub up front.
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Old 01-14-05, 11:15 PM   #18
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Well it's really apples and oranges. On top of the things you cite, bikes tend to travel much slower than automobiles and be used much more frequently for recreation (which actually tends to increase the accident rate but decrease the fatal accident rate).
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Old 01-14-05, 11:18 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sbhikes
It makes sense that it would be only half as deadly because when a bike crashes with another bike or a tree or something the rider probably will not die from it. But do the same in a car--crash into another car or a tree or something--and the driver or passengers will probably be more likely to die. Oh yeah, add in passengers and one car could kill like 4 or 5 people all at once. Harder to do that on a bike, too.
It sounds to me like that makes bikes even safer - there's a margin for error, there. An accident in a car is far more likely to have deadly consequences, given the considerably greater size, mass and occupany of motor vehicles.

It's funny how widespread the belief in the danger of cycling is. I can talk myself blue in the face, explaining to my sister that I am less likely to be killed by a car in Lincoln Center than the driver of that car is to be killed by another car and that riding on the sidewalk is by far stupider and more dangerous than riding through Lincoln Center, but all I will get by way of reply is "you don't know what you're talking about!" repeated over and over again.

No indeed...
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Old 01-14-05, 11:32 PM   #20
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Try getting into the helmet debate. Then it gets real fun.
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Old 01-15-05, 07:36 AM   #21
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From the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety: "Only 2 percent of motor vehicle-related deaths are bicyclists. ... adult bicyclists represent more than three-quarters of bicycle deaths ... Responsibility for serious collisions between bicycles and motor vehicles corresponds to rider age. ... Young riders through age 12 most often are responsible for their crashes, and then probable responsibility decreases with age. Older riders more often aren't responsible for their crashes."

Source: http://www.iihs.org/safety_facts/fat...acts/bikes.htm

From this we can conclude:

1) Bikes are safer than cars
2) Bikes would be even safer than cars if you exclude children from the statistics (children, after all, aren't driving cars--imagine how much car fatality rates would rise if you had BMX tykes driving Mustangs instead...)

Also, don't forget that there is a class of bike rider who is on a bike solely because he lost his driver's license due to alcohol or drug offenses. That bit about bicyclists being drunk when they get into accidents makes sense.

Moral: An adult, responsible bike rider who is not an alcohol or drug addict and wears a helmet is a hell of a lot safer than a similarly responsible car driver.
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Old 01-18-05, 12:18 AM   #22
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IMHO if I want to read an article that encourages non-riders to get off the "couch" or one that improves safe bicycling practices I sure won't read one written by the Sierra Club.
The Sierra Club is a joke. They have been using scare tactics for years primarily to increase their membership and hence their revenue.
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Old 01-18-05, 11:47 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bostontrevor
Here it is. Cycling is just over half as deadly as being in a car, per hour.
Thank you! I've just posted it outside my cubicle!
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