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Old 04-10-12, 04:44 PM   #1
Bekologist
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cars still greatest threat to peds despite bike-ped death

despite the vocal complaints about the recent pedestrian death as a result of a bicyclist blowing a stop light in San Francisco,

motorists are still the greatest threat to pedestrians.
streetsblog SF- despite bike-ped death, cars still greatest danger to peds/


"The vast majority of the more than 800 pedestrian injuries or deaths on San Francisco’s streets every year involve motorists and occur disproportionately on high-speed “arterial” streets."

"“In a way, this is kind of a man-bites-dog story,” Stampe said of the bike-ped crash — an event receiving an unusual amount of attention precisely because it happens so infrequently, while too-common car-pedestrian crashes go vastly under-reported. ”This is a real tragedy,” Stampe continued. “I don’t think anybody disagrees, a lot of people are upset, and it’s not okay for people to be hit in a crosswalk and killed in San Francisco. But the fact remains that three people a day are hit by cars… and that’s an underestimate.”

In fact, four other pedestrians have been killed this year alone, according to the SFPD, two of them in the same week as the bike-pedestrian fatality."
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Old 04-10-12, 05:44 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Bekologist View Post
despite the vocal complaints about the recent pedestrian death as a result of a bicyclist blowing a stop light in San Francisco,

motorists are still the greatest threat to pedestrians.
streetsblog SF- despite bike-ped death, cars still greatest danger to peds/


"The vast majority of the more than 800 pedestrian injuries or deaths on San Francisco’s streets every year involve motorists and occur disproportionately on high-speed “arterial” streets."

"“In a way, this is kind of a man-bites-dog story,” Stampe said of the bike-ped crash — an event receiving an unusual amount of attention precisely because it happens so infrequently, while too-common car-pedestrian crashes go vastly under-reported. ”This is a real tragedy,” Stampe continued. “I don’t think anybody disagrees, a lot of people are upset, and it’s not okay for people to be hit in a crosswalk and killed in San Francisco. But the fact remains that three people a day are hit by cars… and that’s an underestimate.”

In fact, four other pedestrians have been killed this year alone, according to the SFPD, two of them in the same week as the bike-pedestrian fatality."
It all has to do with what our society considers "acceptable losses" for the privilege of driving.
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Old 04-12-12, 07:33 PM   #3
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Well stated. The acceptable loss rate is surprisingly double standardish. A plane crashes= tragedy. A car crashes=ho hum. Cyclist vs car= ho hum. Car vs pedestrian= a little less ho hum. Cyclist vs ped= bigger deal because it is much less the "norm". To an extent it makes me wonder if it is the us-vs-them mindset as well, in the regard of having something for the non cycling world to point at. I do not endorse anyone being hurt or infringed on but It does seem to be over played compared to a car vs bike scenario.
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Old 04-22-12, 10:42 AM   #4
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I don't think it's a case of 'man bites dog' so much as it's evidence of a 'moral panic' about cyclists. I've attempted (probably poorly) to explain a little of my thinking on this in my blog at The Desegregated Cyclist
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Old 04-29-12, 10:05 AM   #5
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It all has to do with what our society considers "acceptable losses" for the privilege of driving.
Also in the 'acceptable losses' thinking, is the state/county/city DOT that chooses not to remove a tree/bush that clearly blocks the view of a vehicle trying to enter the main flow of traffic. I stopped going on the seemingly less dangerous route to the local 7-11, because of two trees that block a motorist's/cyclist's view of oncoming traffic, in two locations.
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Old 04-29-12, 08:40 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by ianbrettcooper View Post
I don't think it's a case of 'man bites dog' so much as it's evidence of a 'moral panic' about cyclists. I've attempted (probably poorly) to explain a little of my thinking on this in my blog at The Desegregated Cyclist
While I don't agree with everything Ian writes in The Desegregated Cyclist, I think that he is quite right about the American moral panic about bicycle traffic. For seventy years or more, American society has considered cyclists to be unwanted, barely tolerated, trespassers on the roads, and has passed laws saying so. Now that not only the fringe environmentalists but also mainstream government are pushing bicycle transportation (no matter whether they are doing this in the right or wrong manner), those with this discriminatory view of bicycle traffic have become subject to panic.
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Old 05-08-12, 01:10 PM   #7
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Well, with the required disclaimer that I don't agree with everything that either John or Ian has posted/published (although I find Ian's blog very interesting and valuable and John has been a hero of mine for decades, even when I think he's stubbornly wrong):

The diagnosis of "moral panic" over the proliferation of cycling seems to me to be exactly on-target. The reaction from the anti-cycling crowd to the recent fatal crash, here in San Francisco, has been a near-textbook example of mass hysteria. It would be comical if it weren't so vicious.

Clearly, though, this should be seen as a sign of progress. Regressive forces in society only go into panic mode when they feel truly threatened and, in many places in the US, the unquestioned dominance and superiority of the private auto on public roads is, indeed, threatened. Fortunately, where I ride, a much larger group of drivers than the backlash crowd are learning to expect and accept cyclists and to share the road.

"First they ignore you. Then they ridicule you. And then they attack you and want to burn you. And then they build monuments to you."

~Nicholas Klein, 1918 (Usually misquoted and mis-attributed to Gandhi)
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Old 05-22-12, 08:00 PM   #8
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This summer, I worked a bit at the local bike shop. I mentioned to a few customers that I used to tow my kids in a trailer, when they were small enough. Some of them said they would never do that, because it's too dangerous. I wasn't exactly diplomatic: I asked if they drive their kids in cars. They didn't believe me that driving is more dangerous than cycling. And why should they?
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Old 05-22-12, 09:12 PM   #9
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...They didn't believe me that driving is more dangerous than cycling. And why should they?
The problem may not be so much that motorists overestimate the dangers involved in cycling (though I'm sure they do). The real problem is that they massively underestimate the dangers of driving - regarding it as 'perfectly safe' when a quick look at the statistics shows quite clearly that it is not that safe. Add to the crash statistics the lifetime health problems (obesity, heart disease, etc.) that can be attributed (at least in part) to driving, and it's no wonder that motoring has a lifetime risk of death that some analysts suggest is twice that of cycling.

Another issue is that these risks, though real, are quite small - we're talking a lifetime risk of death on the road of about 1 in 75 for motoring and 1 in 150 for cycling. People can't think in those terms because such small risks are unlikely to be illustrated in any meaningful way. I have had a close friend die in a car accident, but the vast majority of people have not. I, on the other hand, have not had a close friend die on a bike, yet the strange imbalance in how bicyclist deaths are reported (almost 'advertised' as a way to market fear), combined with the sense we have of cyclists as belonging to a close-knit community (something motorists haven't experienced for over 70 years), brings home the sense of personal loss, and makes it much easier to think in terms of cycling as dangerous. This is true even for someone like me who has done some study of the statistics - even I have to avoid too much exposure to cycling death reports, because immersion in such an environment causes emotion to overcome rationality.

Then there's the strange view of cycling that people in the US traditionally have - that of it being in some way 'child's play'. This affects the issue as well, tending to make people see the victims as vulnerable in the way that children are vulnerable - because they were riding what people regard as a toy. This misidentification of cycling with childhood tends to create a subconscious sense of the loss of a child (making it feel more immediate) and also creating a subconscious need to berate cyclists as one might a child - telling them to get out of the road.

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Old 05-22-12, 09:21 PM   #10
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We don't perceive dangers of things we do frequently. We perceive things that we rarely do as dangerous. Therein lies the problem.
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