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An article on bike safety.

Normally I wouldn’t post an article like this to dissuade someone from biking based on statistics or to undermine the simple FACT that biking is more popular these days of hyper inflation, global warming and wars for that black stuff that made Ol Jed a millionaire. Is Biking Dangerous? It just stinks of that “blame the victim” bullcrap that folks like to utter like parrots when ever they hear about an accident or worse a fatality. The kind of nonsense of people who think bikes are only for exercise. Biking to work is no more dangerous than being a Puerto Rican in NYC with “Road Rage” undercovers who can’t distinguish a pair of fingers from a wallet. But there are few good tidbits in here that the author points out.

I will post the whole article so it will be archived forever unlike the NYTimes which will eventually make you pay for it.

Thanks to Astoria bike for posting this.

Freakanomics

October 18, 2007, 11:15 am
Will Bicycling to Work Get You Killed?
By Ryan Hagen
Bicycle commuting is on the rise, as evidenced by the following articles in Treehugger.com , the Boston Herald (Dead link) , and USA Today. But if the idea of hitting the road on two wheels — with little to protect you from cars and trucks but good manners — strikes you as pretty risky, you aren’t so far from the mark.

Per kilometer, cyclists are 12 times more likely than car drivers to suffer a fatal accident, according to Rutgers University urban planner John Pucher and Lewis Dijkstra of the European Commission (the same study found traveling by foot to be 23 times more dangerous than driving, per kilometer). To put this finding in perspective, there were 785 bicycling fatalities on American roadways in 2005, compared to 4,881 pedestrian and 43,443 automotive fatalities that same year.

On the other hand, a Danish study (which was done 7 years ago) found that people who do not bike to work suffer a 39 percent higher mortality rate than those who do. So, assuming you can avoid a fatal accident on the road, biking to work may actually help you live longer.

The risks associated with cycling decrease dramatically when more cyclists are on the road, and especially when those cyclists obey traffic laws. This second point is hammered home in this bizarre but brilliant 1963 bike safety film, “One Got Fat” (the eagle — or is it monkey? — eyed among you will have recognized a clip from this film in the Freakonomics video “Does Sport Cause Crime“).

awesome old video:


One thing “One Got Fat” doesn’t mention is helmet use — helmets weren’t widely used until the 1970s, and controversy remains over how effective they are in reducing bike fatalities. (Full disclosure: I bike to work whenever possible, and wear a helmet, an adherent to what a few cyclists I know like to call the Cult of the Styrofoam Talisman.)

So, Freakonomics readers, just how effective are bike helmets?
———————
wow, are we in first grade…like we’ve only advanced so far as to think about weather to wear a helmet or not.

Something more relevant of a debate…

Christian Science Monitor
article on trying to bring the bicycle back to a city so polluted from new economic growth and car culture hysteria.

2 comments to An article on bike safety.

  • Gabriel Villa

    well… I believe that when wearing a helmet we are safer. Maybe that´s the reason behind my reckless riding…

    makes we think about this Freakonomics thing.

    regards, and congrats on your blog!
    Gabriel
    http://www.donttalkaboutlife.com

  • Marcus

    Wuoted form the main article: “wow, are we in first grade…like we’ve only advanced so far as to think about weather to wear a helmet or not.”

    It’s never wrong (or immature) to question long-held convictions. In this case there is a great deal of evidence that helmets offer no protection at all. In fact the eis even evidence that wearing a helmet may make you more prone to accidents, as well as more prone to serious injuries.