Post any interesting links you find in the comment section.





3 thoughts on “Link roundup: December 11”
  1. The helmet arguments and safety arguments are interesting.

    I looked into this awhile ago, and per mile, in the USA, cycling is more dangerous on an annual basis (i.e. fatalities per mile cycling vs fatalities per mile driving a car). Not much more, about twice as dangerous. This is a fact.

    That analysis does not take into account individual rider safety practices/training or driver safety/training, i.e. dumbass drivers and cyclists both tend to be in more accidents, and hence fatalities.

    In fact, wrong way riding contributed a great deal (~20% I think) of the cyclists fatalities. So one of the cheapest ways to reduce this aggregate fatality level for cyclists is proper training of cyclists for how to ride in car traffic!

    If infrastructure were properly installed, this risk for cyclists would probably drop precipitously. The vast majority of infrastructure designed for cars IS designed with proper safety, by engineers who spend years studying and modeling car traffic. Currently, bicycle infrastructure is not anywhere near having the same level of design and engineering incorporated into it. If it were, and we had bicycle training at least on the level of car licensing training, then I suspect that the aggregate risk for cyclist fatalities would drop below that of driving a car, per mile, in the USA.

  2. …..the level of car licensing training……

    What level is that? Not to be a smart-ass, but if we did have that level of training for bikes, we would still have people out there with their bad habits and reckless attitudes. In other words the ‘training’ hasn’t done it for cars; and it is likely suspect. But can we expect training would be any better for bikes? People are highly variable entities so we find it maybe, seemingly more effective to deal with things(infrastructure) to give those who want to act reasonably the best playing field we can. And I agree bikes are far from parity with cars in all aspects of that.
    Is dangerous defined by cars hitting cars and bikes hitting bikes only. I think it must be at least 5 times more dangerous for a bike to be hit by a car than by a bike.

  3. First, it is certainly more dangerous for a car to hit a bike. I defined dangerous above as fatalities per mile. Using this metric, cycling is more dangerous to engage in than driving a car, in the USA (I agree that overall the health benefits of cycling certainly outweigh the risk, but those benefits are not as easy to quantify).

    Secondly, I agree that training for driving could be a LOT better. We have far more accidents than, for example, Germany, which has a much more stringent training program before you can get behind the wheel of a car. I suspect that their cycling risk per mile is lower than in the USA just because of the better training for drivers. With that being said, can you imagine what it would be like if there were no training of drivers in the USA, and little enforcement of traffic laws? Have you seen how people drive in India? This is the state of proper cycling training in the USA, basically none. It is true, proper cycling infrastructure is probably the best way to lower the risk of cycling, but it is expensive, and politically difficult. Proper training is inexpensive, and will have a significant impact on the overall risk. Of course not everyone will cycle better because of the training, that really isn’t the point. For example, many people ride against traffic, usually on the sidewalk. Most people who ride against traffic do so because they THINK it is safer. It is actually extremely dangerous, and is the largest contributor to accidents with motor vehicles; I don’t know the contribution level to fatalities. If people, overall, were just trained not to ride against traffic, then cycling accidents would fall by 15-30%. This could be done in school perhaps.

    I don’t necessarily think that bicycles should be registered and cyclists licensed, but some form of nearly mandatory training could be implemented. For example, physical education is mandatory in our public schools, perhaps cycling training could be included as part of PE.

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