Author Topic: SIX cycling fatalities in two weeks!!  (Read 3469 times)

NinetyFour

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SIX cycling fatalities in two weeks!!
« on: November 26, 2013, 12:32:46 PM »
I know the topic of the risks of cycling have come up before, but I wanted to share this article anyway.  Scary!

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/20/world/europe/london-cyclist-fatalities-bring-calls-for-truck-limits.html?src=rechp

Here is a quote:

Even before the latest fatal accident, which took place Monday in Camberwell, southeast London, a commentary in The Evening Standard newspaper described the streets as a “war zone” and compared the fatal accident rate in London with deaths in the armed forces serving in Afghanistan.

“Which is more dangerous? Riding a bicycle in a sophisticated, modern European capital or serving with the British Army in one of the most dangerous countries in the world?” the newspaper asked. It turns out that 14 cyclists have died this year in London as opposed to eight soldiers in Afghanistan.
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FunkyStickman

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Re: SIX cycling fatalities in two weeks!!
« Reply #1 on: November 26, 2013, 01:08:54 PM »
Bike accidents account for 2% of all traffic accidents, which in turn account for 2.06% of overall fatalities... so your chances of dying on a bike are 0.04% compared to 29.34% for dying from heart disease.

I'll take my chances on the bike.
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beltim

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Re: SIX cycling fatalities in two weeks!!
« Reply #2 on: November 26, 2013, 01:15:56 PM »
Wow, The Evening Standard has an even worse understanding of risk statistics than MMM!

Russ

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Re: SIX cycling fatalities in two weeks!!
« Reply #3 on: November 26, 2013, 01:18:44 PM »
Bike accidents account for 2% of all traffic accidents, which in turn account for 2.06% of overall fatalities... so your chances of dying on a bike are 0.04% compared to 29.34% for dying from heart disease.

I'll take my chances on the bike.

That's not the point of the article at all.

Ed.: and also not really an effective use of probability, unless I'm misunderstanding you
« Last Edit: November 26, 2013, 01:22:48 PM by Russ »

Daleth

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Re: SIX cycling fatalities in two weeks!!
« Reply #4 on: November 26, 2013, 01:19:30 PM »
Uh... How many British soldiers are in Afghanistan, vs. how many people ride bikes in the streets of London? I would think for the comparison to be accurate, you'd have to estimate the total person-hours spent on bikes in London (i.e., if three people each ride a bike for 20 minutes, that's 1 person-hour) and compare it to the same number of person-hours that troops spend in Afghanistan.

FunkyStickman

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Re: SIX cycling fatalities in two weeks!!
« Reply #5 on: November 26, 2013, 02:04:49 PM »
Bike accidents account for 2% of all traffic accidents, which in turn account for 2.06% of overall fatalities... so your chances of dying on a bike are 0.04% compared to 29.34% for dying from heart disease.

I'll take my chances on the bike.

That's not the point of the article at all.

Ed.: and also not really an effective use of probability, unless I'm misunderstanding you

I know what the point of the article is. I've seen countless links to it (and all the backlash from it, and others like it) in all the bike commuting groups I frequent. However, it seems like the only people who are reading the articles are outraged cyclists.

Really, what do these articles accomplish? I'm all for safety, but I get tired of reading about cycling deaths when there are no real solutions. If you're riding as safely as possible, there's nothing else you can do. They tend to foster worry, and use sensationalism as a way to drive readership up. Without motorist education and sensible infrastructure, it's just lip service. Nothing will change. Banning delivery trucks will not fix the problem.

And yes, I've been wrongly hit by a car on my bike, and was massively injured. The police were absolutely useless. I'm still riding, because statistically, it's still relatively safe compared to driving a car (plus the added benefits of saving money and getting in shape).

London is a very progressive city as far as I know, and even as dangerous as it is there, they're miles ahead of most U.S. cities. I apologize if I'm coming across as callous, but I guess after years of watching these kinds of things, I'm just being realistic.

Bottom line: be the safest you can be, but don't let the media scare you into staying off the bike.
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gooki

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Re: SIX cycling fatalities in two weeks!!
« Reply #6 on: November 26, 2013, 07:55:55 PM »
The more public outrage there is, the more likely the infrastructure will be improved.

It worked for Holland.
www.youtube.com/watch?v=XuBdf9jYj7o‎
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mpbaker22

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Re: SIX cycling fatalities in two weeks!!
« Reply #7 on: November 27, 2013, 10:58:42 AM »
FunkyStickman's use of probabilities is laughable.  So is the articles ... actually the article doesn't even use probability, it just uses 2 numbers.

For example, funkystickman, were you aware that most people don't ride bikes, or at least don't ride often.  Therefore, your probability of dying from a bicycle crash is actually equal to your probability of dying from a bicycle crash given that you ride bicycles.
Let's say 1% account for 100% of miles ridden (I'd be willing to bet you'd find 1% actually account for something in the 90s).  then your probability is .04/1 or 4%

FunkyStickman

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Re: SIX cycling fatalities in two weeks!!
« Reply #8 on: November 27, 2013, 05:17:24 PM »
FunkyStickman's use of probabilities is laughable.  So is the articles ... actually the article doesn't even use probability, it just uses 2 numbers.

So tell us, oh great arbiter of numbers, what exactly would you use to ascertain these numbers? And the more important question, does it really matter? Who's going to compare their means of travel strictly on statistical probability of death? And what means do we use to get these numbers, anyway? What statistical filters and requirements will we use? Miles traveled? Frequency? Day of the week? Traffic law adherence? Visibility? Infrastructure? Do tell us, how is it supposed to be done? Inquiring minds want to know.


For example, funkystickman, were you aware that most people don't ride bikes, or at least don't ride often.  Therefore, your probability of dying from a bicycle crash is actually equal to your probability of dying from a bicycle crash given that you ride bicycles.
Let's say 1% account for 100% of miles ridden (I'd be willing to bet you'd find 1% actually account for something in the 90s).  then your probability is .04/1 or 4%

My point wasn't to statistically prove anything (and neither is yours, if your response is to be taken seriously). I have ridden and driven enough miles in traffic to know that statistics don't mean anything if you're actually out there in the streets. Every situation is different, and by the government institution (in the article) suggesting that banning lorries will reduce deaths, they are simply showing their ignorance at how traffic works.

I may not have a degree in math, but I've got a black belt in bike commuting.
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Russ

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Re: SIX cycling fatalities in two weeks!!
« Reply #9 on: November 27, 2013, 05:40:47 PM »
^what you concluded with your numbers was that 1 in 2500 people will die as a cyclists in a traffic accident, which is ridiculous. Just pointing out the reason you're getting flak for that.

I agree that people should ride bikes more.

mpbaker22

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Re: SIX cycling fatalities in two weeks!!
« Reply #10 on: December 03, 2013, 02:37:13 PM »
^what you concluded with your numbers was that 1 in 2500 people will die as a cyclists in a traffic accident, which is ridiculous. Just pointing out the reason you're getting flak for that.

I agree that people should ride bikes more.

Exactly ... I'm not arguing that either party is correct.  In fact, I'm arguing that both parties have produced mis-leading statistics that were labeled incorrectly.  What stickman should have said is that one in 2500 people who die in accidents are cyclists, which really doesn't tell us anything.

In the article, for all we know there were 8 soldiers in Afghanistan all year.  Thus the death rate of soldiers in Afghanisthan is 100%.  Whereas the entire population of England could be cyclists, so 14 deaths is only .0000264% chance of death.  I'm pretty sure I'd take the .0000264% chance of death over 100%!!!!  Aren't statistics wonderful?

Cinder

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Re: SIX cycling fatalities in two weeks!!
« Reply #11 on: December 12, 2013, 11:49:18 AM »
I have ridden and driven enough miles in traffic to know that statistics don't mean anything if you're actually out there in the streets.
I think what you are seeing is similar to when a basketball player has a so called 'hot streak'.  They don't actually exist, no mater what all the fans, players, and sports-casters will tell you.  If you look at the math, every shot they take is just like a weighted coin flip... based on whatever their statistics are... 60%, 70%, etc... You are just as likely to get long runs of heads or tails in a row while flipping coins, it's a part of the general randomness of things.  The statistics don't change just because you are in the streets.

mpbaker22

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Re: SIX cycling fatalities in two weeks!!
« Reply #12 on: December 12, 2013, 12:00:43 PM »
I have ridden and driven enough miles in traffic to know that statistics don't mean anything if you're actually out there in the streets.
I think what you are seeing is similar to when a basketball player has a so called 'hot streak'.  They don't actually exist, no mater what all the fans, players, and sports-casters will tell you.  If you look at the math, every shot they take is just like a weighted coin flip... based on whatever their statistics are... 60%, 70%, etc... You are just as likely to get long runs of heads or tails in a row while flipping coins, it's a part of the general randomness of things.  The statistics don't change just because you are in the streets.

I think the poster's point was that many people are in cycling accidents because they do stupid things like 1) ride the wrong way 2) blow throw stop signs 3) ride on the sidewalk, etc.  I.E.  Things that a smarter rider doesn't do.  I'd be interested in studies done only on people riding correctly.

FunkyStickman

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Re: SIX cycling fatalities in two weeks!!
« Reply #13 on: December 17, 2013, 01:41:06 PM »
I think the poster's point was that many people are in cycling accidents because they do stupid things like 1) ride the wrong way 2) blow throw stop signs 3) ride on the sidewalk, etc.  I.E.  Things that a smarter rider doesn't do.  I'd be interested in studies done only on people riding correctly.

It would be nice to get hard numbers on this, but still, it's relatively safe if you don't ride like an idiot, which goes for driving cars, too.

If sensationalism could get all cyclists to ride responsibly, I would agree it's a great idea... but I seriously doubt it will have that effect. It's more likely to scare people away than encourage them to ride better.
"There is no dignity quite so impressive, and no one independence quite so important, as living within your means." -Calvin Coolidge

"Civilization is the limitless multiplication of unnecessary necessities." - Mark Twain

Paul der Krake

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Re: SIX cycling fatalities in two weeks!!
« Reply #14 on: December 17, 2013, 02:29:09 PM »
I've cycled in London for about a third of my entire life on this earth, mostly through the most congested arteries of the city. Regularly in less than favorable conditions that I'm not proud of (at night, drunk off my ass, no lights, no helmet).

You have to understand that the city is VERY different from the average american town. For one, there are a lot more roads that you can choose from (less sprawl, highly packed roads). Speed is quite low, and lights/stops are numerous, and requires drivers to always be on the look out.

Oh and we don't hand out driving privileges like candy either, so that's gotta help too.

NinetyFour

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Re: SIX cycling fatalities in two weeks!!
« Reply #15 on: December 17, 2013, 02:39:02 PM »
Related item that I received in an e-mail from my city's Multi Modal Transportation office:

Bicyclists and pedestrians now represent 16.3% of all traffic deaths, yet states spend just 0.4% of their safety dollars on bicycle and pedestrian safety.

 

Source: Safe Routes to School National Partnership

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mpbaker22

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Re: SIX cycling fatalities in two weeks!!
« Reply #16 on: December 17, 2013, 03:09:56 PM »
I've cycled in London for about a third of my entire life on this earth,


based on your posted age of 1,338, you have biked approximately 1,338*365*8 = 3,906,690 hours.  Even at an average of 5 miles per hour, that's 19,534,800 miles!  That has got to be a world record!
:P

jba302

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Re: SIX cycling fatalities in two weeks!!
« Reply #17 on: December 27, 2013, 12:55:06 PM »
Oh and we don't hand out driving privileges like candy either, so that's gotta help too.

I read this line and immediately pictured a hillbilly in overalls yelling something about "my rights."

Paul der Krake

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Re: SIX cycling fatalities in two weeks!!
« Reply #18 on: December 30, 2013, 12:18:45 PM »
Oh and we don't hand out driving privileges like candy either, so that's gotta help too.

I read this line and immediately pictured a hillbilly in overalls yelling something about "my rights."
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