Comment 11596

By Ryano (anonymous) | Posted September 11, 2007 at 06:45:25

Very good analysis of the risks measured by time vs by distance travelled. The life-years factor is well-known to me already, but this is also an excellent point that many people forget. I would however like to take issue with the fatality rate calculation. Your definition of "crash" is "crash with motor vehicle". While this is obviously a reasonable proxy in cities where cyclists are forced to ride on the road and "mix it" with the cars, but where (and when) that is no longer the case then the fatality rate of cycling falls significantly because a greater proportion of crashes are with fixed objects and other cyclists rather than (the more fatal) motor vehicle. This is in fact the case if you look at fatality statistics for countries where rates of bicycle use (and therefore provision by govts of safer roads and facilities for cyclists) are higher, such as Japan or the Netherlands. Your point about the law-abiding vs non-law abiding cyclists is valid, but the same can be said of drivers. The difference is that dangerous drivers pose immeasurably greater risks to others (and to more groups - passsengers, other drivers, cyclists, motorcyclists and pedestrians) whereas reckless cyclists are a danger mostly to themselves. That's not to say I don't get rankled when I see them bothering pedestrians, and occassionally even a pedestrian can get hurt or even fatally injured in an incident with a reckless cyclist, but the risk pales in comparison to the risk from motor-vehicles reckless or otherwise (don't even mention the numerous environmental issues, the noise and nuisance, the space, social issues, sprawl and all the other problems that cars can inflict on a society).

Other than these few quibbles, a very good piece. Well done!
Ryano (no relation)

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