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Old 03-04-07, 11:19 PM
Better dead than trendy.
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Originally Posted by Wogsterca
I wonder how many people die from heart attacks caused, primarily by the fact they never get any exercise, and eat only highly processed, highly sugared, highly salted, high fat, chemical laden crap?

There is another issue, there are different kinds of cycling, for example DH, BMX and Urban stunt riders, have a much higher risk of injury (or death) in an unplanned dismount, then a MTB'r, and an MTB'r has a much higher risk of injury (or death) in an unplanned dismount then a roadie or a commuter, even though the roadie or commuter has a much higher distance travelled.
Diseases, particularly heart disease and cancer, are what finish off most of us. You can find Canadian figures for age-standardized mortality rates by selected causes for the years 2000 through 2003 at

Deaths due to cycling aren't listed on that page but for those years they are 54, 73, 75, and 53 (average is 64). (Category V10, "Pedal cyclist injured in transport accident.") The table mentioned in the previous paragraph compares on the basis of deaths per 100,000 population. The population of Canada is about 32.7 million, so that works out to a rate of about 0.2 per 100,000. The average rate for cancer is 178.2/100,000; for heart disease it is 141.8/100,000.

Incidentally, the death rate for falls on stairs is 0.76/100,000, and for pedestrians in transport accidents is 1.2/100,000. (Realistically, a figure for pedestrians should also include deaths from trips and falls on level surfaces and on stairs. That would give a pedestrian death rate of about 2.3/100,000, but let's just leave it at 1.2 for now.)

The most recent estimate of the number of cyclists in Canada is about 12 million (the "frequently"s and "occasionally"s but not the "rarely"s in a CROP Research poll published in September 2006). So if you adjust the cyclist death figures to account for only people who (tell pollsters they) cycle, you get a rate of 0.53/100,000.

So the death rate in Canada for pedestrians would seem to be 1.2/0.53 = 2.26 times greater than cyclists per 100,000 population. (And the heart disease rate is 267 times greater than the cyclist fatality rate.)

There are other ways that the risk could be compared but I don't know of a source of relevant figures. These would include risk per hour and risk per unit of distance traveled. The British have this kind of information available (see Malcolm Wardlaw's article but one would have to be cautious about applying those rates to other countries.

Good point about the different types of cycling. The figures that I've read suggest that road cycling is where most of the (very few) deaths are, but off-road cycling is where most of the non-fatal injuries are. This makes sense when you consider that most cycling fatalities involve a motor vehicle.
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