Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Here is an incredibly stupid article

The Red-Star Tribune puts out an article noting (correctly) that bicylist injuries and deaths are up sharply due to high gas prices. Well, maybe, maybe not?

Maybe not? Absolutely. You see, here in Minnesota, we have a neat phenomenon called "winter" that tends to put the kibosh on cycling from about, well, now until May. So the cycling injuries we have now are...more or less...pretty close to what we'll see in December. So yes, injuries are up, but...we're not really on a pace for 115 of them. Probably about 95 in Minneapolis proper, but it's....really within ordinary bounds.

It gets worse. The article cites an emergency room doctor telling about how dangerous cycling is. Well, yes, if somebody's Taurus ran me over, I'd probably be injured worse than the driver. That said, if statistics be trusted, this same doctor probably treats fifty to one hundred victims of auto accidents for every victim of a bicycle accident. And he's warning about cyclists?

If you work the numbers, injury and death rates for cyclists are....surprise....about the same as they are for automobile drivers. Although there is a big weight difference, there is a significant safety advantage to going more slowly and being able to see and hear everything around you.

Maybe one of these days, they'll teach "math" to journalists and emergency room physicians. I won't be holding my breath, though.

Update: A second look at the second page of the article indicates that 47 of the incidents in Minneapolis are hit & run. This would seem to indicate that, contrary to the claims of many drivers, a great portion of the fault lies with...those on four wheels.


pentamom said...

Not to mention being a smaller target, therefore less likely to be hit even when operator error occurs on one part or the other.

Shawn said...

...though your risk goes up as cars get safer, because the cost of driving recklessly goes down. remarkable side effect.

Bike Bubba said...

Good points both--I'd just add that a good lawyer for the estate of the deceased cyclist can do wonders to increase the coast of aggressive driving around cyclists.

Or the possibility that one might merely wound an armed cyclist might do some good, too.