The Chainlink

Tries to answer the question "How safe is cycling?"

http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/10/21/how-safe-is-cycling-its-ha...

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I can agree with the "it's a matter of time" line of thinking.  Everyone who drives a car has been in at least one fender bender.  I've never had an accident with a moving vehicle myself, but have fallen off after hitting a patch of gravel/slush.  

Speaking of thinking, Treehugger has an article discussing Canadian bike articles that highlight how the "Culture of Fear" is the single biggest barrier to the widespread uptake of utility cycling. 

Best Bits:

By implying that a blow to the head or chest is unavoidable, we suppress numbers to only those willing to armour up, and scare the vast majority of our risk averse citizens onto other, less active modes of transportation.

yai danche said:

I can agree with the "it's a matter of time" line of thinking.

+1

Jim Freeman said:

Ever filter up between a line of cars stopped for a light?  Congratulations, you are the beneficiary of the hard fought battle to get the law clarified to allow cyclists to pass on the right.  While it is true that cyclists should use caution when doing so, it makes sense that bicycles should be allowed to overtake cars on the right.

After years of seeing insurance companies denying bicycle claims for bicyclists who were either doored or struck while filtering forward in traffic, the new language is a much needed relief for urban cyclists.  Insurance companies would always claim that the cyclist should have queued up in traffic, which defies logic, but as the law previously existed such arguments were entertained in Illinois courts.


Good article.

globalguy said:

Speaking of thinking, Treehugger has an article discussing Canadian bike articles that highlight how the "Culture of Fear" is the single biggest barrier to the widespread uptake of utility cycling. 

Best Bits:

By implying that a blow to the head or chest is unavoidable, we suppress numbers to only those willing to armour up, and scare the vast majority of our risk averse citizens onto other, less active modes of transportation.

Life is risky. Still, I get out of bed in the morning.  How do we manage risk in our lives?  I tend to be a chickenbleep and tend to minimize risk.  My mother, of course, would tell you otherwise. After all, "you have to be crazy to ride...[in whatever conditions at the time the comment was made]" That is the way of the world. It can happen at any time and at any place. To some extent there is a randomness to risk.  The safest rider in the world can meet up with a doofus in a BMW or another rider who is taking more risk and endangering others on the road.  Still, the way we ride helps us manage that risk.  The lead of the story pretty much tells us where its going:

Until his bike slid out of control while he was going 35 miles an hour downhill around a sharp turn, Dr. Harold Schwartz thought cycling accidents were something that happened to other people. Now, after recovering from a fractured pelvis, Dr. Schwartz, 65, the vice president for behavioral health at Hartford Hospital in Connecticut, has changed his mind.

How often do you get to 35 mph?  I think we can all agree that there is a greater chance that something can happen at that speed and when it does it may be bad. The more risk we take the more chance of bad stuff happening. Still, that is no guarantee of having an accident.  Conversely, a chickenbleep rider like me who tends to ride cautiously has no guarantee of getting home in one piece.  If we extrapolate over all the riders on this forum, or all the riders in the city we will see that managing risk helps minimize injury. That's the best we can do. I doubt a bike is any more dangerous than a car. However, there is not as much protection on a bike. We all know that when we start to peddle. 

If I get spooked and become too  afraid to ride I will blow up to 400 lbs and die of a heart attack. I will have lived a miserable life and never got to enjoy the fun of riding a bicycle.  I might as well ride. Its a better gamble.

I will pass traffic on the right when the cars are just sitting on Lincoln Ave. However, I have my eyes open and am not going full throttle. Balance. 

If we ride with awareness most of us will avoid an accident.  If we wear a helmet we are a bit more likely to be able to spell our name the day after an accident. Also, thanks to the Affordable Healthcare Act most of us will be able to obtain insurance to deal the cost of whatever may come our way. 

I have indeed.  I also see people 'filter' up to intersections on the far right and go straight through even though they're passing a line of traffic turning right (stopped or moving; it tends to bunch up since the way is also shared with pedestrians), often complete with turn signals.  Maybe that's covered by the due care language.

Like Dave quotes, it's all about balance.  I tend to remember the idiots and their near collisions more than the uneventful 'filtering.'

Jim Freeman said:

Ever filter up between a line of cars stopped for a light?  Congratulations, you are the beneficiary of the hard fought battle to get the law clarified to allow cyclists to pass on the right.  While it is true that cyclists should use caution when doing so, it makes sense that bicycles should be allowed to overtake cars on the right.

After years of seeing insurance companies denying bicycle claims for bicyclists who were either doored or struck while filtering forward in traffic, the new language is a much needed relief for urban cyclists.  Insurance companies would always claim that the cyclist should have queued up in traffic, which defies logic, but as the law previously existed such arguments were entertained in Illinois courts.

Dave's got it right. It is about balance. Near collisions may be more memorable than uneventful filtering, but the uneventful stuff is most of the traffic I see out there. The idiots are not the majority.

Tricolor said:

...Like Dave quotes, it's all about balance.  I tend to remember the idiots and their near collisions more than the uneventful 'filtering.'

 The Dangers in Terms of Cycling Safety?

  • Accident rates per kilometer are 26 to 48 times higher for bikes than for automobiles (13).
  • Nearly 44,000 cyclists have died in traffic crashes in the United States since 1932 (the first year in which estimates of cyclist fatalities were recorded) (14).
  • U.S. cyclists are three times more likely to be killed than German cyclists and six times more than Dutch cyclists, whether compared per-trip or per-distance traveled (7).
  • According the British Medical Journal, the most important deterrent to riding bikes expressed by non-cyclists is fear of motor traffic (15).
  • While motorists often accuse cyclists of being the cause of bike-car accidents, a Toronto analysis of 2572 police collision reports (Table 1) demonstrates that this is actually not the case. The most common type of crash in this study involved a motorist entering an intersection controlled by a stop sign or red light, and either failing to stop properly, or proceeding before it was safe to do so. The second most common crash type involved a motorist overtaking unsafely. The third most common type of crash is a motorist opening a door onto an oncoming cyclist. In fact, cyclists are the cause of less than 10% of bike-car accidents

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