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Old 10-13-2013, 09:56 PM
Alan Alan is offline
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Lightbulb Is riding a bike safe?

Jonathan ran a post on Friday titled Ask BikePortland: How can I convince my friend that cycling is safe? Quite a few comments suggested that no, it's not safe, in fact it's really quite dangerous. While everything in life has some danger, and of course riding a bike has dangers associated with it just like everything else in life, and of course anything including cycling is safer if you take appropriate precautions, I'm not in the camp that says bicycling is especially dangerous. I might be wrong, I'm willing to have it proven to me that bicycling is an inherently dangerous activity above and beyond the normal dangers associated with living, but the best data that I've seen says that riding a bike is a net health benefit, and that's safer than plenty of other things I choose to do. The question comes up again and again, though, and I'd like to see more than just anecdotes and opinions as answers, hopefully a wealth of good data and studies. So, in the spirit of my collection of references about "Road Taxes" for bikes, I'm collecting links about how dangerous or safe it is to ride a bike.

I saw a comment on BikePortland recently with links to studies showing that the more time spent riding a bike, the longer the person's statistical lifespan, while the more time spent in a car, the shorter the life expectancy. I'm searching for it but if anyone has the source, please post!

Here goes...

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http://bikeportland.org/2013/07/12/p...omment-4255096

Quote:
dr2chase July 12, 2013

Mayer Hillman, book is "Cycling: Towards Health and Safety". Other more recent (and more statistically careful) studies: 39% higher mortality rate for non-cycling commuters (http://"http://archinte.jamanetwork....icleid=485349"); cyclists (commuters) can expect to live 2-5 years longer (http://"http://www.escardio.org/abou...-cycling.aspx")

Nonetheless, crashes suck.
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http://bikeportland.org/2013/08/21/o...omment-4392675

Quote:
dr2chase August 22, 2013 at 10:04 am

Biking is far safer than riding a motorcycle (25x, figures I saw, either per-trip or per-hour) and only slightly more dangerous than driving per-trip (1.5x - 2x, various figures) and less dangerous per hour (dated figures from FailureAnalysisAssociates/Exponent). And with good infrastructure (physical, legal, cultural -- i.e., the Netherlands) cycling can be 5x safer than it is here.

That's the shape of the beast -- as it exists today, cycling is not much more dangerous than something most people think is safer, and is far safer than something that most people think is dangerous, yet is much more common among adults. And further, there is an existence proof that cycling can be very safe -- much safer than the activity (driving) that we think of as safe.

Furthermore, though we think driving is safe, if we look at mortality rates we discover that it is not -- non-cyclist commuters have a 39% higher risk of death in a given year (in Denmark -- our higher crash rates make the margin smaller in this country, but still over 30% by casual arithmetic).
That's a part of the beast that someone people tend to ignore.

If you're going to talk about risk, it makes sense to provide numbers.
(I'm looking for that Failure Analysis URL, too. -Alan)

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John Pucher shows us how to make “Cycling for Everyone” (BikePortland)

Quote:
Paul Souders May 30, 2008 at 3:12 pm

The last four minutes are full of thumpers (I'm paraphrasing here):

"For every hour you spend cycling, you add more than an hour to your lifespan."
Full video (80 minutes) available at http://www.sfu.ca/city/city_pgm_video020.htm.

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Why our focus on "safety" holds us back (BikePortland)

Quote:
But what if all these discussion surrounding safety isn't really where we should focus our energy? On the Green Lane Project blog this week, Michael Andersen (yes, http://"http://bikeportland.org/auth...chael Andersen) laid out the following case in a post titled, What if bike comfort is more important than bike safety?:
...
Andersen's blog post about safety and these examples from the Netherlands show quite clearly that there's another, more appealing way to talk about and implement cycling infrastructure than always harping on safety.
Jonathan Maus' post about the philosophy of PDOT (and probably most other American DOTs) compared to what he saw in the Netherlands and Denmark. Not exactly on "how safe are bikes" but related enough I wanted to include it.

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http://www.ucl.ac.uk/news/news-artic...2-cycling-risk

Quote:
Cycling safer than driving for young people

6 December 2012

Researchers from UCL have found that cycling is safer than driving for young males, with 17 to 20 year old drivers facing almost five times greater risk per hour than cyclists of the same age.
(from this BikePortland discussion)

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http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2013/...ransportation/

Quote:
Biking vs. Driving

Driving a car at 70MPH for one hour:
20 minutes of lifespan erased
$35.00 per hour of money burned
Riding a bike at 12MPH for one hour:
4.5 hours of lifespan gained
$100 of monetary gains secured
On a Per-Mile Basis:
Car: Lose 50 cents and 18 seconds of life
Bike: Gain $8.33 and 1350 seconds of life
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OHSU bike commuter injury study released (BikePortland)

Quote:
Approximately 20% of bicycle commuters experienced a traumatic event and 5% required medical attention during 1 year of commuting. Traumatic events were not related to rider demographics, safety practices, or experience levels. These results imply that injury prevention should focus on improving the safety of the bicycle commuting environment.
"Traumatic event" refers to causing any injury no matter how minor, so scrapes or bruises or sprains count as much as broken bones or concussions.

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http://cyclehelmets.org/1015.html

Quote:
It is widely acknowledged that cycling is one of the best ways for people to achieve good health and fitness. People who cycle regularly live longer than those who do not and lead healthier lives (Paffenbarger, Hyde, Wing and Hsieh, 1986).
Quote:
The health benefits of cycling outweigh the risks (BMA, 1992) by a substantial margin.

Estimated benefit:cost ratios range from 13:1 to 415:1 – see table below.
It goes on to a comparative table of risks and benefits from cycling and then has references to these source documents:

http://www.networks.nhs.uk/uploads/0...and_health.pdf - Cavill N, Davis A, 2007. Cycling and Health: what's the evidence?. Cycling England .
http://dx.doi.org/10.1289/ehp.0901747 - de Hartog JJ, Boogaard H, Nijland H, Hoek G, 2010. Do the health benefits of cycling outweigh the risks?. Environmental Health Perspectives doi: 10.1289/ehp.0901747.
http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/abstract/314/10/605 - Paffenbarger RS, Hyde RT, Wing AL, Hsieh CC, 1986. Physical activity, all-cause mortality, and longevity of college alumni. New England Journal of Medicine 1986;314:605-613.
http://www.locchiodiromolo.it/blog/w...02/science.pdf - Rabl A, de Nazelle A, 2011. Benefits of shift from car to active transport. Transport Policy .
http://www.bmj.com/content/343/bmj.d4521 - Rojas-Rueda D, de Nazelle A, Tainio M, Nieuwenhuijsen MJ, 2011. The health risks and benefits of cycling in urban environments compared with car use: health impact assessment study. British Medical Journal BMJ 2011; 343:d4521 .
http://www.publications.parliament.u...th/23/2302.htm - Parliamentary Health Select Committee report on obesity. The Stationery Office, HC23-1, May 2004, Paragraph 316, page 83.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/arti...7/?tool=pubmed - uxworth W, Nevill AM, White C, Jenkins C, 1986. Health, fitness, physical activity and morbidity of middle aged male factory workers. British Journal of Industrial Medicine 1986 Nov;43(11):733-53.
http://www.thelancet.com/journals/la...714-1/fulltext - Woodcock J, Edwards P, Tonne C, Armstrong BG, Ashiru O, Banister D, Beevers S, Chalabi Z, et al, 2009. Public health benefits of strategies to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions: urban land transport. The Lancet 2009;374(9705):1930-1943.

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"The text that you have entered is too long (10012 characters). Please shorten it to 10000 characters long."

more to come...

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grep bait: bike danger risk health lifespan life expectancy
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  #2  
Old 10-13-2013, 09:58 PM
Alan Alan is offline
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Default Is riding a bike safe? (pt II)

Continued:

Secret To A Long, Healthy Life: Bike To The Store (NPR.org)

Quote:
The benefits were based on a presumed reduction in air pollution particulates and ozone, which increase the risk of heart attack, strokes, and asthma. They also factored in the health benefits of increased exercise, and applied that to the 31 million people living in the Upper Midwest.
So, the study was more focused on the epidemiology of the entire population but it also found that the individuals who use bikes more have direct health benefits to themselves as well as to the area's population as a whole.

Original study here: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3261937/ "Air Quality and Exercise-Related Health Benefits from Reduced Car Travel in the Midwestern United States"
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10 Dec 2013 (thanks, lovedoctor!)

U.S. transportation safety over time: Cars, planes, trains, walking, cycling
Between 2000 and 2009, on average 6,067 pedestrians and bicyclists died on U.S. highways and in collisions with other modes of transport. Of these, 4,930 died when hit by cars and trucks operated by private users, 545 deaths resulted from collisions with commercial carriers, and 592 from commercial users not on highways.

In all, fatalities of pedestrians and bicyclists make up nearly 15% of annual average highway fatalities. More than 90% of pedestrian fatalities occurred in collisions with automobiles and light trucks.

A related study on risk factors for on-road cycling commuters indicated that prior to car-bicycle accidents, 89% of cyclists were traveled in a safe and legal manner. In addition, vehicle drivers were at fault in 87% of the events.
Naturalistic cycling study: identifying risk factors for on-road commuter cyclists.
A naturalistic cycling study was conducted in Melbourne, Australia, with cyclists wearing helmet-mounted video cameras.
[...]
Sideswipe was the most frequent event type (40.7%). Most events occurred at an intersection/intersection-related location (70.3%). The vehicle driver was judged at fault in the majority of events (87.0%) and no post-event driver reaction was observed (83.3%).
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22 January 2014

http://www.vehicularcyclist.com/comparat.html (Ignore where it says 'HTML Code', I just use the HTML bbcode tags to make a pretty table, and it insists on saying that.)

HTML Code:
COMPARATIVE RISK OF DIFFERENT ACTIVITIES

Estimates of Fatal Risk
                                               fatalities
  Activity                                per million hrs 
  --------                                ---------------
  Skydiving                                     128.71
  General Aviation                               15.58
  On-road Motorcycling                            8.80
  Scuba Diving                                    1.98
  Living (all causes of death)                    1.53
  Swimming                                        1.07
  Snowmobiling                                     .88
  Passenger cars                                   .47
  Water skiing                                     .28
  Bicycling                                        .26
  Flying (scheduled domestic airlines)             .15
  Hunting                                          .08
  Cosmic Radiation from transcontinental flights   .035
  Home Living (active)                             .027
  Traveling in a School Bus                        .022
  Passenger Car Post-collision fire                .017
  Home Living, active & passive (sleeping)         .014
  Residential Fire                                 .003

Compiled by Failure Analysis Associates, Inc. (Design News, 10-4-93)
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22 January 2014

"How safe is bicycling? Cyclists suffered in an estimated 52,000 injuries in 2009; making your odds of returning home safely from any given ride nearly 77,000 to one; the chances of surviving any given ride were over 6.3 million to one in your favor."

That's from The National Bicycling and Walking Study: 15–Year Status Report, May 2010, found at http://bikinginla.com/facts-stats/ - lots of other factoids on that BikingInLA page, too!
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22 January 2014

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20587380

"Environ Health Perspect. 2010 Aug
Do the health benefits of cycling outweigh the risks?
Abstract
BACKGROUND: Although from a societal point of view a modal shift from car to bicycle may have beneficial health effects due to decreased air pollution emissions, decreased greenhouse gas emissions, and increased levels of physical activity, shifts in individual adverse health effects such as higher exposure to air pollution and risk of a traffic accident may prevail.Objective: We describe whether the health benefits from the increased physical activity of a modal shift for urban commutes outweigh the health risks.
[...]
CONCLUSIONS:On average, the estimated health benefits of cycling were substantially larger than the risks relative to car driving for individuals shifting their mode of transport."
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http://bikinginla.com/2014/02/04/ mentions two articles about research done by medical student Michael Chieng, supervised by Professor Alistair Woodward:

New Zealand study shows cycling is safer than you think — in fact, a two-hour ride is six times safer than riding a horse, 15 times safer than a day on the slopes and 35-times safer than playing rugby.

"A typical rider would be out on his or her bike for seven years before an injury, and on average would be riding for 70 years before suffering an injury sufficiently severe to be admitted to hospital." -NZ Herald
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Last edited by Alan; 02-04-2014 at 01:17 AM. Reason: more!
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Old 10-14-2013, 07:48 AM
therealorang therealorang is offline
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Ack - I can't find the bookmark to the studies I usually use on this. They indicate that bicycling is safer on a per hour basis than many activities including walking near traffic and driving (in the US, in the UK it's more dangerous than driving).

The perception of the dangers of cycling has more to do with the way the human brain is biased toward negative data (a good explanation of this can be found in Abundance)
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Old 10-14-2013, 09:51 AM
Alan Alan is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by therealorang View Post
Ack - I can't find the bookmark to the studies I usually use on this.
Well, post 'em when you find 'em!

Quote:
The perception of the dangers of cycling has more to do with the way the human brain is biased toward negative data (a good explanation of this can be found in Abundance)
Thanks! I think that's this book: Abundance: The Future Is Better Than You Think by Peter Diamandis, at Powell's.

Anyone know if Powell's still gives some pennies to BikePortland if you click through from here?
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Old 02-13-2014, 02:11 PM
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Apennine Apennine is offline
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Default Suffolk Pol: No One Should Ever Ride a Bike in Suffolk County

http://babylonvillage.patch.com/grou...edium=facebook

I was going to make this its own post (and I will, if you think it's a good idea) but here is this crazy Suffolk County (Long Island, NY, where I grew up) legislator saying nobody should ride a bike in his area.

Yes, there are inherent risks to bike riding, but when a gov't official decides the best answer is not to do it, that is the wrong tack.
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Old 02-13-2014, 04:25 PM
Alan Alan is offline
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Wow, Thomas Barraga's ignorance is truly astonishing. From that patch.com article:

Quote:
"I cannot tell you how many constituents over the years have told me that they are taking up bicycling for pleasure and exercise," Barraga wrote. "I have told them not to do so but they usually do not listen – 90 percent of those people eventually were hit by an automobile many like your mother with serious physical injuries."
A highly scientific survey he made, no doubt.
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Old 02-14-2014, 01:09 AM
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Story here is that Suffolk County Legis. Thomas Barraga responded to a letter sent by one of his constituents, saying...in addition to what Alan quoted him having said:

"...I have lived in West Islip most of my life and my personal feeling is that no one who lives in our hamlet or for that matter in Suffolk County should ever ride a bicycle or a motorcycle. ..." http://babylonvillage.patch.com/grou...edium=facebook

(Note: I applied the bold/italic to the excerpt above.)

So the brouhaha is over a personal feeling expressed...(which the linked story's headline and writer elected not to note), rather than some professional decision he's made as a legislator. The story did include the full text of Legislator Barraga's letter to his constituent.

From the entirety of what he writes in that letter, his response doesn't offer any indication or encouragement that efforts on his part or that of other officials, are under way that would improve conditions for biking and motorcycling in Suffolk County.

I don't know if I'll get around to searching for the info, but would be interested in what conditions for biking generally are like in the county, and some sense of what are the views of Suffolk County residents about biking. Many possibly valid questions, but one would be whether people there feel Barraga, as a legislator, is representing them well on biking and motorcycle related issues.

I like to think that when resident voter-constituents here in Oregon, write one of their legislators about a bike or motorcycle related issue, they get a more informative, professional response than was given by Legislator Barraga to his constituent.
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Old 02-14-2014, 12:35 PM
Alan Alan is offline
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If you put 'Suffolk County, NY' into maps.google.com, it'll give you an outline of the area. You can zoom in from there and even go to Street Views to see what the roads are like there. Here's a street view of Montauk Highway in Babylon, also called Main Street, the street where Matthew Cutrone (the young man who wrote to his county legislator) said his mother was hit by a car while riding a bike.

I kinda doubt that Barraga would say "...my personal feeling is that no one who lives in our hamlet or for that matter in Suffolk County should ever swim," or "...my personal feeling is that no one who lives in our hamlet or for that matter in Suffolk County should ever ride in a car," even though those activities are more dangerous than biking.
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Old 02-15-2014, 12:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alan View Post
If you put 'Suffolk County, NY' into maps.google.com, it'll give you an outline of the area. You can zoom in from there and even go to Street Views to see what the roads are like there. Here's a street view of Montauk Highway in Babylon, also called Main Street, the street where Matthew Cutrone (the young man who wrote to his county legislator) said his mother was hit by a car while riding a bike.

I kinda doubt that Barraga would say "...my personal feeling is that no one who lives in our hamlet or for that matter in Suffolk County should ever swim," or "...my personal feeling is that no one who lives in our hamlet or for that matter in Suffolk County should ever ride in a car," even though those activities are more dangerous than biking.
Do you? Not knowing the guy at all, or New Yorkers knowledge of, and opinion of him, I have no idea what he has to say about swimming or riding in cars. Cherry picking some off-hand personal feeling he expressed about people biking on the county's roads, in a letter to a constituent, isn't much on which to draw an accurate conclusion that he's ignorant about things relating to biking, or is crazy.
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