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how unsafe is biking

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how unsafe is biking

Old 07-03-12, 02:51 PM
  #76  
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Fourty years, eight cities of varying sizes, 2-5000 miles of traffic jamming per year, thousands and thousands of miles of loaded touring on county roads, and I have been hit once.
I was on a through street, she was at a stop sign, I had a white shirt on, blinking light on my right arm, was wearing an orange and yellow safety vest; she stopped, looked both ways, waited until I was right in front of her, looked me straight in the eye and accelerated. She drove 1/2 a block with me on the hood, dragging my bike beneath her car and told the officer she did not see me. I wasn't hurt, but there you go, idiots are out there.
There are all kinds of stats, but it seems intersections are where accidents usually occur, so avoid sidewalks (more intersections), be careful in residential areas (people go blind in their own territory) and follow the rules of the road. I think most people don't want to hit anybody else.

Marc
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Old 07-03-12, 03:53 PM
  #77  
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Originally Posted by ItsJustMe View Post
What do curb cuts have to do with cycling? I've never seen a curb cut in the road, only on sidewalks.
Curb cuts mean more cars turning, crossing lanes, and stopping suddenly when they realize that their turn has just come up. It also means more cars entering traffic from parking lots and stores...sometimes making a wide left turn across traffic.

Here's a link to a comprehensive bike accident study done this year for my state: http://www.policyinstitute.iu.edu/Pu...ril%202012.pdf

It's the most comprehensive study that I've personally seen, although there are still a lot of holes that need to be filled. One of the things that reading it will point out, though, is how safe biking is in an absolute sense. In a state with a 6.5 million population, bicycle fatalities ranged between 7 and 19. For the entire state, in one year.

Figures 5 and 6 have very interesting statistics for suburban, exurban, urban, and rural accidents. According to Figure 5, you are 4 times more likely to be involved in a collision in an urban area than in a suburban or exurban area. However, if you look at fatalities, these percentages flip - you are 4 times more likely to die in a suburban or exurban collision than in an urban collision. Rural collisions are roughly half as dangerous as suburan/exurban, and still twice as dangerous as urban collisions. This almost certainly is in large part due to the speed differential on county roads vs. local/urban roads.
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Old 07-03-12, 05:26 PM
  #78  
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Originally Posted by irwin7638 View Post
Fourty years, eight cities of varying sizes, 2-5000 miles of traffic jamming per year, thousands and thousands of miles of loaded touring on county roads, and I have been hit once.
I was on a through street, she was at a stop sign, I had a white shirt on, blinking light on my right arm, was wearing an orange and yellow safety vest; she stopped, looked both ways, waited until I was right in front of her, looked me straight in the eye and accelerated. She drove 1/2 a block with me on the hood, dragging my bike beneath her car and told the officer she did not see me. I wasn't hurt, but there you go, idiots are out there.
There are all kinds of stats, but it seems intersections are where accidents usually occur, so avoid sidewalks (more intersections), be careful in residential areas (people go blind in their own territory) and follow the rules of the road. I think most people don't want to hit anybody else.

Marc
Good points Marc.

I ride a lot to work and notice that when I am going straight and there is, say a gas station to my right I see a lot of people look left, look right and then go. They look through you. Scary really.
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Old 07-03-12, 07:54 PM
  #79  
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I'm glad you said it

Originally Posted by SlimRider View Post
It's not advisable to always take the lane. In many cases, you just manage to piss drivers off.
I'm glad you said it. Triggering road rage is a self-defeating thing to do. A little respect goes a long way... drivers have to get somewhere too and, in my experience, the vast majority of them make great efforts not to hit bicycles even when the cyclists are actng recklessly.
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Old 07-03-12, 08:24 PM
  #80  
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Off the top of my head, this is what I remember. I could be wrong.

A large fraction, like half, of bike accidents are of the cyclist falling off his bike without colliding with a pedestrian or other vehicle. My conclusion: the cyclist's skill has a big effect on this risk.

Of the car-bike collisions, half of them are the cyclist's fault. Many are predictable situations, such as riding on the sidewalk and passing over a driveway. The most common way for a cyclist to cause a car-bike collision is to ride in the wrong direction. Conclusion: knowledge, skill, and compliance with laws has a huge effect on cycling safety.

If we could normalize bike injury statistics for cyclist skill, I think we would find that skillful cycling is extremely safe, compared with most other modes of transport.

I've been cycling for transportation since 1975, and I'm pretty happy doing it. I've been injured a few times, but not permanently. The worst was a concussion. I now teach skills in cycling in traffic. I feel that now that I know how to share a lane when appropriate and when to take a lane to myself, drivers treat me with respect and help protect my safety, generally speaking. Of course there are exceptionally bad drivers out there, and I think I'm pretty good at anticipating their antics.

Take a skills course. It will pay off.
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Old 07-03-12, 08:32 PM
  #81  
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Old 07-03-12, 08:45 PM
  #82  
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Cyling is as safe as you make it. Ride on the wrong side of the road, ride on the sidewalks, blow through lights and stop signs, let yourself get crowded into the curb, ride with dark clothes and no lights at night, ride too close to parked cars, etc, and you increase your chances of being hit. Ride safely and predicatably and you're less likely to get in an accident than if you drove to work.
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Old 07-03-12, 08:58 PM
  #83  
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Here's some interesting statistical data:

http://www.baycitizen.org/data/bike-accidents/

Green Dot = Cyclist at Fault
Blue Dot = Driver at Fault
Red Dot = Unknown

Click on the green dots, and you'll quickly see a pattern..."Wrong Side of the Road" & "Traffic Signals and Signs".
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Old 07-03-12, 10:19 PM
  #84  
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Originally Posted by locolobo13 View Post
One problem I have with bicycle stats is how do you collect them? Especially injuries or fatalities per mile or hour cycled. I can look out my downtown office window and see at least a hundred bicyclists that never registered with any survey.

The data for most studies that involve bicycle fatalities and serious injuries are collected from state agencies (e.g., Highway Patrol) and from hospital stats of emergency room visits. You're right, though, most less serious injuries are probably never reported anywhere. In the last eight years, I've crashed on my bike three times, and each time it was pretty minor, so I told my friends, but not anyone who counts that sort of thing.
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Old 07-03-12, 10:57 PM
  #85  
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Originally Posted by dscheidt View Post
Mile for mile, you're a whole hell more likely to get killed in a car than you are on a bike.
Stats to back that up?

I think it also really depends where you live. I used to commute 30 miles regularly in Salt Lake City, and never once feared for my life. In Chicago, I feel unsafe biking on designated bike lanes and on the Lakeshore drive path, due to the bike/pedestrian/car traffic.
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Old 07-04-12, 07:03 PM
  #86  
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Originally Posted by ajfa View Post
Stats to back that up?

I think it also really depends where you live. I used to commute 30 miles regularly in Salt Lake City, and never once feared for my life. In Chicago, I feel unsafe biking on designated bike lanes and on the Lakeshore drive path, due to the bike/pedestrian/car traffic.
Here are some interesting stats. It depends on how you measure. Interesting read, though. Unfortunately, the author of the pages I'm linking to was killed by a drunk driver.

http://www.kenkifer.com/bikepages/health/risks.htm
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Old 07-05-12, 04:31 PM
  #87  
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Originally Posted by noglider View Post

If we could normalize bike injury statistics for cyclist skill, I think we would find that skillful cycling is extremely safe, compared with most other modes of transport.
To be fair though you would also have to normalize for skill for the other transportation options. I know the risks vary a lot for motorcyclists depending on years of riding experience and even if they are riding a new-to-them motorcycle.
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Old 07-08-12, 04:04 AM
  #88  
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I've been riding to class for the last three years and most of the @#$!! things were my bad - dropping a skinny tire into a gutter, losing grip on a bald tire, et.all - but there has only been one bike-on-car incident where I slightly clipped a car that pulled out of a driveway into my path and scraped my arm along its hood. I do live in a cycling friendly city, though.

So what did I learn? Be a f@#$ing person. Don't run red-lights; I saw a car barely miss a girl who ran every single red light on a stretch of road. Don't ride on sidewalks when you can. I burnt half my pads off when I almost collided with a guy riding full blast down a sidewalk. Check your surroundings - front, back, and sides. Signal. Be ready on the brakes.
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Old 07-08-12, 07:45 AM
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Life is dangerous. Deal with it.
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Old 07-08-12, 09:15 AM
  #90  
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Originally Posted by sesmith View Post
Here are some interesting stats. It depends on how you measure. Interesting read, though. Unfortunately, the author of the pages I'm linking to was killed by a drunk driver.

http://www.kenkifer.com/bikepages/health/risks.htm
These stats, as you say, may be "interesting" but, for the most part, are useless. Kifer's original stats are from 1978 and his most recent are 1992. That's 20-35 year old information. And you may note a pretty drastic change in the profile of the type of cyclists killed occurs during the 14 years between '78 and '92.

His conclusions are based on conjectures founded on scanty old info. To use that as a basis for how safe it is to ride a bike in 2012 probably has as much value as reading Tarot cards.
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Old 07-08-12, 10:39 AM
  #91  
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Originally Posted by buzzman View Post
These stats, as you say, may be "interesting" but, for the most part, are useless. Kifer's original stats are from 1978 and his most recent are 1992. That's 20-35 year old information. And you may note a pretty drastic change in the profile of the type of cyclists killed occurs during the 14 years between '78 and '92.

His conclusions are based on conjectures founded on scanty old info. To use that as a basis for how safe it is to ride a bike in 2012 probably has as much value as reading Tarot cards.
I can't deny any of what you say. It's too bad he died so young. He might be providing useful and timely statistics today. It appears he did a better job at the time than anyone else.
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