Author Topic: I Will NOT Be Biking to Work  (Read 15605 times)

oldtoyota

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I Will NOT Be Biking to Work
« on: June 16, 2013, 02:06:18 PM »
Although I will bike more often near home and/or will walk for errands near home, I will not be biking to work.

Crime here is too awful. A biking commuter just got clobbered by a pack of teenagers. They did not even steal anything so what is the motive? They just wanted to beat someone up. Sadly, this is not the first time people have been attacked on the biking trails.

I know MMM just wrote about how safe it is to bike, so I imagine crime must be a lot lower in CO.

I can take the train and have arranged two telework days, I am going to cruise with that for a bit and see how it goes.

Dealing with cars is really the least of my problems with bike commuting.




OzzieandHarriet

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Re: I Will NOT Be Biking to Work
« Reply #1 on: June 16, 2013, 03:17:19 PM »
I was thinking about that story when I was reading MMM's latest post about the safety of cycling. There have been a number of similar attacks in that same spot over the years since that particular bike path was built. It goes right past my office, but I haven't been brave enough to try it.

Albert

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Re: I Will NOT Be Biking to Work
« Reply #2 on: June 16, 2013, 04:07:34 PM »
Which city are we talking about?

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Re: I Will NOT Be Biking to Work
« Reply #3 on: June 16, 2013, 04:29:13 PM »
This is nuts. I'm sorry to hear that happened, what a horrible story. :-(

Thinking about taping a 4 battery mag light to my bike frame myself.

sheepstache

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Re: I Will NOT Be Biking to Work
« Reply #4 on: June 16, 2013, 04:32:54 PM »
The fact that you heard about this incident has no bearing on how dangerous it actually is.  You know that, right?  Do you know the actual statistics on attacks on cyclists?

Do you know what your risk of being attacked on the train or in the station is?

Do you know what your risk of cardiovascular disease is?

There have been a number of similar attacks in that same spot over the years since that particular bike path was built.
"A number"?  "Over the years"?  Yes, it sounds like you've done some rigorous thinking about this ;)

Personally I know a number of people who have been in car accidents, so I refuse to get around by car.

keith

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Re: I Will NOT Be Biking to Work
« Reply #5 on: June 16, 2013, 04:34:05 PM »
Thinking about taping a 4 battery mag light to my bike frame myself.

To use as a weapon to defend yourself? Would not want to get smacked in the head with one of those! :)

Frugal_in_DC

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Re: I Will NOT Be Biking to Work
« Reply #6 on: June 16, 2013, 04:51:31 PM »
Although I will bike more often near home and/or will walk for errands near home, I will not be biking to work.

Crime here is too awful. A biking commuter just got clobbered by a pack of teenagers. They did not even steal anything so what is the motive? They just wanted to beat someone up. Sadly, this is not the first time people have been attacked on the biking trails.

I know MMM just wrote about how safe it is to bike, so I imagine crime must be a lot lower in CO.

I can take the train and have arranged two telework days, I am going to cruise with that for a bit and see how it goes.

Dealing with cars is really the least of my problems with bike commuting.

I'm with you.  People can talk about bike commuting and spit off facts until they're blue in the face, it's just not for me.  Give me public transportation any day, especially since my employer pays for it, plus telework once a week (or more when needed).  I get most of my reading done on buses and trains.  I love to read and would definitely feel a void if I didn't read regularly during my commute.  And reading to me means holding an actual book or magazine rather than listening to an audiobook while biking.  I'm a runner and get plenty of other regular exercise elsewhere.

oldtoyota

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Re: I Will NOT Be Biking to Work
« Reply #7 on: June 16, 2013, 07:00:37 PM »
You have interesting questions--although you come off sounding angry.

At any rate, as a previous poster noted, this particular area of the trail has been a problem. Bikers get attacked. Do I know the stats? No. However, I know that more of my neighbors have been attacked on the trails more than they have been attacked in the train.

If you read Derridas, it makes sense. People commit crimes if they think they are not being watched. Panopticon, etc, etc.

These are the crimes I know about:

--robbed at gunpoint (this was walking home from the metro)
--raped (3 women on the trail near the metro)
--beaten (I know of at least three incidents).

I like not being raped and I like my teeth to stay in my head, so I'll take WFH or the metro over that trail any day of the week. =-)

My risk of CVD seems like a red herring. Are you trying to say I will get CVD by not biking?

The fact that you heard about this incident has no bearing on how dangerous it actually is.  You know that, right?  Do you know the actual statistics on attacks on cyclists?

Do you know what your risk of being attacked on the train or in the station is?

Do you know what your risk of cardiovascular disease is?

There have been a number of similar attacks in that same spot over the years since that particular bike path was built.
"A number"?  "Over the years"?  Yes, it sounds like you've done some rigorous thinking about this ;)

Personally I know a number of people who have been in car accidents, so I refuse to get around by car.

Another Reader

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Re: I Will NOT Be Biking to Work
« Reply #8 on: June 16, 2013, 07:28:09 PM »
Ummmm.....have you considered moving?  I do not and would not ride a bike on the streets here for safety reasons.  I also would not live in your neighborhood for safety reasons.  Whether you are on a bike, on foot, or reading a book in your own house, the risk where you live is too high.

totoro

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Re: I Will NOT Be Biking to Work
« Reply #9 on: June 16, 2013, 07:36:32 PM »
I won't either, but for different reasons.  I'm a fan of very safe neighbourhoods so crime, other than having my bike stolen (which is a bigger risk than having a car stolen)  is not  really a risk.

I also work from home most of the time and when I need to travel it needs to be by car. 

It turns out though, that biking is not the safest form of transport for me, walking is, because I live centrally the family can walk everywhere (rec centre, schools, grocery). I also enjoy walking a lot.

I think biking is generally good, but not safer than driving because:

1. MMM has worked out the safety rate/hour and used this to establish that bikes are as safe as cars because cars cover more ground per hour and it is a per km risk.  However, it takes longer to bike the same distance (6.25x by MMM calculations), so the risk/km is not altered really it may in fact be a bit higher given that you are substituting bikes for cars on journey's less than 75 miles.

2. Death is not the only risk, as we know from this post. While attack-related incidences are reported, other injuries are also a safety risk and , unlike death or car accidents in general, we know from research into hospital records that only a fraction of bicycle crashes causing injury are ever recorded by the police, possibly as low as ten percent. http://www.bicyclinginfo.org/facts/crash-facts.cfm.  The point is that if there is a 6.2x risk of death from cycling, then injury is also likely to be higher and long-term lifespan exercise benefits are uncertain in relation to injury.  Injury seems to cause more time taken from exercise as far as I can tell and generally makes daily living a bit more onerous, sometimes forever. 

3. The average age of cyclists who are killed is 41:  Of course, this is mitigated for women  a bit because 87% of those killed are male. http://www.bicyclinginfo.org/facts/crash-facts.cfm

4. If I had to choose between injury that alters my life or death at 41 and one or more extra years of life at 86 (the age my grandma died), guess which one Id choose.  More time at the end of life does not compensate for making it to 70, at least in my books.  More healthy time does so exercise is great goal.

5. Many people have a home gym so they spend no time commuting to the gym at all.  Secondly, if it is sedentary time that is the life shortener then it is bad news for those who sit all day to work like me.  It might make more sense to set up a walking treadmill desk if that is how we should be measuring things.  Im considering it: http://www.calebclark.org/?p=5844

So I like the idea of an exercise fountain of youth and I do believe biking is good for your health and generally low risk and to be promoted highly, but I dont believe it is the safest form of transportation or even makes sense for everyone.

hybrid

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Re: I Will NOT Be Biking to Work
« Reply #10 on: June 16, 2013, 08:15:15 PM »
I'd still like to know where "here" is.  Washington DC?  I saw a reference to the Metro.  And if so, which part?

If my adult daughter were taking the exact same path I take home from work each day I would tell her I think it's a bad idea, the area is not safe enough for a 110 pound 25 year old female.  But for me, a 200 pound 46 year old guy who used to deliver mail in a bunch of working class neighborhoods, I don't think twice about it. 

I think each circumstance has to be considered on its own merits.  Since oldtoyota didn't provide many, really hard to say whether oldtoyota had a debatable point or not.  oldtoyota, care to illuminate?

All these anecdotes and selective facts and figures remind me a lot of the recent gun debates.  I know guys who carry concealed because they want to feel "safe".  Big guys who are rarely, if ever, in the kinds of places most gun violence occurs.  One in particular has two kids.  There is just plain no telling him that he is in greater danger of an accidental shooting or domestic violence than the very rare (yet still greater than 0 probability) suburban home invasion where he will be home and with his sidearm at the ready, but because he is a slave to his irrational fear there is no amount of logic that will resonate with him.

To all the posters I would ask you consider the individual merits.  Some places are bike friendly, some aren't.  Some cyclists are big guys, some cyclist are smaller women.  Some parts of the country are very safe, others not so much.  YMMV.
 
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MrsPete

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Re: I Will NOT Be Biking to Work
« Reply #11 on: June 16, 2013, 09:16:27 PM »
Although I think most of the ideas promoted on this website are good, I also will not be biking to work. 

No, it's not about crime for me, though I do personally know a man who was attacked while biking.  I don't think it had to do with biking so much as having been in the wrong place at the wrong time.  I have known other people over the years who've been victims of crimes in various situations.  In response to those various situations, I have altered my behavior in one way:  I will not go to one particular shopping center after dark. 

But, back to the issue.  I will not be biking to work for several reasons:

- I arrive at work at 6:45 am and begin teaching at 7:00 am.  Since I work in a professional job, I would have to leave in time to change clothes and fix my hair before beginning work.  I'm already NOT a morning person, and I will not voluntarily leave home even earlier than required.
- I often carry books to/from school, and I always carry my lunch.  Combined with my work clothes and shoes, this equals a fairly big backpack to carry back and forth every day -- especially since I'm in the South, and it's hot here!  On Fridays one of my responsibiliites includes bringing breakfast for a before-school group.  I can't manage that on a bike. 
- The roads I travel to work have no sidewalks and are not particularly wide.  In the winter months I'd have to leave in the dark.  And because I teach high school I share the road with inexperienced teen drivers; I see a wreck (or evidence of a wreck -- I don't mean I witness every one) every other week.  This is largely because the teen drivers are laughing with friends or texting and aren't watching the road.  Finally, and perhaps most significantly, I'd have to cross a six-lane highway.  It just doesn't seem like a recipe for safety. 

I'm not saying it's not a good option for other people with other circumstances, or that biking might not be a good option for me for other purposes -- in good weather, in daylight, not towards the main road -- but biking to work just isn't something to which I'm open.  Furthermore, a full week's commute to/from work costs me less than one gallon of gas. 

If that sounds whiney, too bad.  It's my assessment of how this particular money-saving idea fits into my life.  Few frugal-life tips are true for everyone, and this one isn't as universal as MMM's article would have us believe. 



sheepstache

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Re: I Will NOT Be Biking to Work
« Reply #12 on: June 16, 2013, 09:28:23 PM »
You have interesting questions--although you come off sounding angry.

At any rate, as a previous poster noted, this particular area of the trail has been a problem. Bikers get attacked. Do I know the stats? No. However, I know that more of my neighbors have been attacked on the trails more than they have been attacked in the train.

If you read Derridas, it makes sense. People commit crimes if they think they are not being watched. Panopticon, etc, etc.

These are the crimes I know about:

--robbed at gunpoint (this was walking home from the metro)
--raped (3 women on the trail near the metro)
--beaten (I know of at least three incidents).

I like not being raped and I like my teeth to stay in my head, so I'll take WFH or the metro over that trail any day of the week. =-)

My risk of CVD seems like a red herring. Are you trying to say I will get CVD by not biking?


You are correct.  I am angry when I believe people are not thinking. 
I get angry when people allow their lives to be directed by gut reactions without questioning their assumptions.  If this is so important to you that it is directing an element of your life, you owe it to yourself to research it properly and make a comparison.  That means not coming to conclusions based on anecdotes.  Your comparison between your neighbors means nothing because it is not a random sample and it is a small sample size.

I get angry because I feel it on a moral level.  Morality is about making decisions and so I believe each of us has a moral responsibility to learn proper logic and reasoning when it comes to risk evaluation.  I see it in my neighborhood.  People allow themselves to be afraid of young black men, therefore young black men get used to being treated like criminals.  People convince themselves that every one of their neighbors is dangerous and therefore will not go speak to a neighbor in person about a noise concern but will instead call the police on them, further lowering the quality of life and respect between individuals.  Women are convinced they will be raped or murdered if they are on the subway late at night, therefore the subway trains are emptier at night, which, if you believe Derrida, leads to more crime.  I get angry when people are ignorant of other countries because they are convinced that travel is dangerous.  I get angry when our government ignores science because apparently nobody can understand statistics.  I get angry when people vote a certain way because they are convinced government spending has or has not grown under the current president.  Now, I have a higher risk tolerance for some of these things due to personality or whatever, so I try to be sympathetic to those who have a clear understanding of the risk but are simply more easily frightened than I am or who don't feel as negatively as I do about the alternatives.  But what I can not tolerate is people who make decisions without lifting a finger to see whether their assumptions or reasoning are correct.

I also got extremely angry once at a friend who insisted that you were more likely to win a jackpot from a slot machine that was played more often.  And I get angry at my husband for refusing to understand the Monty Hall problem.  So, while I think I am not an angry person in general, apparently there is something about deliberate ignorance of basic probability that really chaps my hide.

It also bugs me on a mustachian level when people simply shrug and give up about a problem.  Can you alter your behavior in any way to increase your chances of positive outcomes?  Can you get the city to re-evaluate the bike route?  Can you suggest security cameras be installed?  Or hey, could you, I don't know, take a different route rather than the trail?  If the answers to these questions are either 'no' or 'the time it would take is not worth it to me,' that's totally fine. 

Do I think you will get CVD?  No, again, it is necessary to evaluate likelihood rather than speaking in absolute terms.  And I'm asking it as a question because I don't know about your life.  If you do not get sufficient exercise otherwise, then I would imagine the trade off is not worth it.  I've seen a couple studies about this, like this guy: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2920084/  I like that one because it's not comparing it to the risk of driving a car like many other similar studies do since that's not what we're talking about here.  You'd want to look into the crime statistics in the areas they cite and compare them to your area, of course, but then the Netherlands has lower CVD rates too.  There's some more interesting info here http://www.ubcmj.com/pdf/ubcmj_3_2_2012_6-11.pdf Very helpful since it cites a bunch of studies at the end that you can follow up with.

I mean, here's the other thing.  If you have thought about it and decided that for whatever reason cycling to work is not for you, why bother posting a thread defending your personal decision?  I don't get it. 


Totoro, on the question of risk evaluated in terms of both hours spent on the road and distance traveled, you might find this page interesting: http://www.phred.org/~alex/kenkifer/www.kenkifer.com/bikepages/health/risks.htm

As to your point #3, does the average age of bike riders skew lower than the general population?

Out of curiosity, are there things individuals could do about the problem?  For example, do cyclists who receive training in road safety skills end up with fewer injuries?  What percentage of cyclists who get into accidents are recreational cyclists rather than commuters, i.e., does more experience result in more safety?


People like Frugal in DC I have no issue with.  Some other transportation option optimizes your happiness?  Terrific.  (I have no idea why y'all are agreeing with each other since you're saying different things, but that's a different thing.)

sheepstache

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Re: I Will NOT Be Biking to Work
« Reply #13 on: June 16, 2013, 09:35:07 PM »
If my adult daughter were taking the exact same path I take home from work each day I would tell her I think it's a bad idea, the area is not safe enough for a 110 pound 25 year old female.  But for me, a 200 pound 46 year old guy who used to deliver mail in a bunch of working class neighborhoods, I don't think twice about it. 

What are you basing this on?  Are you assuming that females are more likely to be victims of violent crime?  Are you assuming younger or smaller people are more likely to be victims?  And if so, where did you learn this?

(Lest I seem confrontational, I appreciated your points in the rest of your post and liked how you made them.  The gun example in particular was a calmer and more concise version of what I was trying to get at in my previous post.  Ditto for your and Mrs. Pete's point that individual circumstances are individual.)

« Last Edit: June 16, 2013, 09:49:52 PM by sheepstache »

Jamesqf

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Re: I Will NOT Be Biking to Work
« Reply #14 on: June 16, 2013, 09:51:00 PM »
Still waiting to learn where "here" is.  If it's a civilized place, carry your choice of defensive weapon - anything from tear gas spray to a .38.

Another Reader

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Re: I Will NOT Be Biking to Work
« Reply #15 on: June 16, 2013, 10:11:21 PM »
I think the OP has demonstrated her neighborhood does not qualify as "civilized"....

lizzigee

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Re: I Will NOT Be Biking to Work
« Reply #16 on: June 17, 2013, 01:01:52 AM »
OK, so if you don't bike to work we won't kick you out haha.  After all, just because MMM might choose to jump off a cliff doesn't mean you have to too. He thinks it's a great idea and can see the benefits for himself, but those same benefits may not be there for you, so just choose the  bits of the Mustachian way that are applicable to your life, and post some more if you come up with other great ideas so that we can all evaluate our own options. Nothing to stress about.

kms

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Re: I Will NOT Be Biking to Work
« Reply #17 on: June 17, 2013, 01:37:15 AM »
Back when I went to grad school in Detroit (Wayne State University) biking was also considered far too dangerous. I never had to, because I was able to either walk anywhere (everything of importance was on or right next to campus) or hitch a ride with a friend (didn't have a car back then either) but a friend of mine did and never had any trouble.
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jfer_rose

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Re: I Will NOT Be Biking to Work
« Reply #18 on: June 17, 2013, 04:37:35 AM »
Wow. I think I know the trail that is being discussed. But after hearing about the awful and brutal attack, I never once thought of changing my behavior. Since I already bike regularly and see so many other people on bikes, I guess I have a sense of just how rare this sort of thing is. Yes it is horrible, but the odds of something similar happening to you, or to someone you know, are just so low. Also, I've been following the efforts to make the trail safer, patrols by the Guardian Angels, etc. Also, the more people who bike, the safer it will be for everyone.

katieboo

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Re: I Will NOT Be Biking to Work
« Reply #19 on: June 17, 2013, 05:32:16 AM »
I'm thinking about about  biking to work. as I type on my phone I am on the eliptical at gym which I do every morning. Boring. Catch- I work in one of the worst areas of town. Poverty shootings, etc. and I grew up on the wrong side of the tracks so I'm not one to overreact, but I also want to be sensible.

I already had doubts about isolating myself on the bike trail. Now I definitely won't take it. Not enough riders. I'll risk the visibility on a heavy traffic road any day over isolation.

Carrying is out because I work for the government, or I'd think about it. I'll probably bring a huge can of spray though. We will see if I get the nerve to do this!


tuyop

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Re: I Will NOT Be Biking to Work
« Reply #20 on: June 17, 2013, 05:56:16 AM »
Oh man I love how much fear gets posted regarding bike commuting.

BlueMR2

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Re: I Will NOT Be Biking to Work
« Reply #21 on: June 17, 2013, 06:53:42 AM »
We've had a couple attacks over the years on trails over by the University, but given all the traffic they get, it's not a major concern.  I'm more likely to get run over by a car out riding on the street (that happens every month or 2 around here it seems).  I live in a low crime area, but things still happen.  In the last few months just within a half mile 2 fast food places have been robbed at knifepoint and the ice cream shop was burglarized.  After years of nothing happening...  Sometimes there's just clusters of crime...

So, make sure you calculate the risk properly.  Perhaps it is too dangerous to do.  Perhaps not.  I see that you're unable to carry a firearm (which has it's own huge cost/risk/benefit calculation to perform), but perhaps there's some other mitigation strategy that you can pursue.

In my case, I drive to work as cycling would be a long ride through some bad neighborhoods, whereas the drive is a nice drive on the expressway (which goes over nice 'hoods).  My errands are run on bike and foot as much as possible as I can mostly stick to good areas.  I do choose to carry a firearm when it's legal and will not introduce any additional problems.  Sometimes my calculation says to leave it home, so I do.

No need to be angry about not being able to bike right now.  See if there's anything you can (is it something that needs to be brought to the attention of the local news?) do to change the situation and do the best you can for now.

hybrid

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Re: I Will NOT Be Biking to Work
« Reply #22 on: June 17, 2013, 06:54:46 AM »
If my adult daughter were taking the exact same path I take home from work each day I would tell her I think it's a bad idea, the area is not safe enough for a 110 pound 25 year old female.  But for me, a 200 pound 46 year old guy who used to deliver mail in a bunch of working class neighborhoods, I don't think twice about it. 

What are you basing this on?  Are you assuming that females are more likely to be victims of violent crime?  Are you assuming younger or smaller people are more likely to be victims?  And if so, where did you learn this?

(Lest I seem confrontational, I appreciated your points in the rest of your post and liked how you made them.  The gun example in particular was a calmer and more concise version of what I was trying to get at in my previous post.  Ditto for your and Mrs. Pete's point that individual circumstances are individual.)

I'm basing it on three subjective observations.  One, the likelihood of my being singled out and my ability to defend myself and/or get away (low, and pretty good).  Two, the relative likelihood that my much smaller, slower, and less able to defend herself daughter would be able to do the same (still fairly low but not as low, and not good at all), and three, my general knowledge of the area.  Is it all subjective?  Well of course it is.  Not every decision can be made with metrics, some things you simply have to use your judgment on, and when in doubt side with caution.  As I said, I've been in plenty of "rough" neighborhoods in my former job and the majority of the time they aren't that rough for the average guy.  But IMO a smaller woman is not doing herself any favors traveling the roads I do.
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zhelud

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Re: I Will NOT Be Biking to Work
« Reply #23 on: June 17, 2013, 08:40:26 AM »
Oldtoyota, I assume you live in the DC area, where a bunch of teenagers beat up a biker on the Met Branch Trail, right? That was a really awful incident, and that trail has a bad history. From what I have heard, I wouldn't ride it alone. And no trail is completely safe. On the trail near where I live in Arlington (Four Mile Run), a woman was recently stabbed in broad daylight on a weekend when the trail was full of people. On the Custis trail, two bikers were robbed at gunpoint one night a few weeks ago. Etc, etc.

But, I hear about beatings and robberies on Metro all the time- even when there are lots of people around. The weekly local crime report always multiple includes incidents where pedestrians are robbed, groped, beat up, etc- and I'm always surprised at how often these take place during the day in populated areas.  Cars and buses hit pedestrians. Cars and buses hit each other. It seems to me that the only way to be 100 percent safe is to stay home. 

kevin78

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Re: I Will NOT Be Biking to Work
« Reply #24 on: June 17, 2013, 08:50:20 AM »
I'm basing it on three subjective observations.  One, the likelihood of my being singled out and my ability to defend myself and/or get away (low, and pretty good).  Two, the relative likelihood that my much smaller, slower, and less able to defend herself daughter would be able to do the same (still fairly low but not as low, and not good at all), and three, my general knowledge of the area.  Is it all subjective?  Well of course it is.  Not every decision can be made with metrics, some things you simply have to use your judgment on, and when in doubt side with caution.  As I said, I've been in plenty of "rough" neighborhoods in my former job and the majority of the time they aren't that rough for the average guy.  But IMO a smaller woman is not doing herself any favors traveling the roads I do.

I think this is pretty common sense.  If you are going to get attacked it will be because the attacker will sense that you are scared.  I hate to say it but a young woman is a rape target more so than a 46 y/o man who is 200 lbs.  I have the same fear.  I'm a 35 y/o man, in good shape but even with lifting weights I'm only 170 lbs since I'm 5'7", so as a man there is a fear in the back of my mind that I could be overtaken by a group of teenagers if I was caught out alone.  So, I don't know.  I think you have to carefully evaluate your surroundings at all times and trust your instincts.

Another thing I've noticed lately is there is a guy I've seen on a bike a few times on the country roads and he has a rack and one of those big orange caution triangle signs attached to it (I think it might be attached to a milk crate)

It is really effective, you see this guy very well with a big orange sign like that.  I may do that if necessary.

totoro

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Re: I Will NOT Be Biking to Work
« Reply #25 on: June 17, 2013, 09:19:25 AM »
I looked at the study you linked Sheepstache.  It strongly supports the fact that per mile travelled you are more likely to die on a bike (.039 fatalities per million miles) than in a car (.016 fatalities per million miles).  The author points out that the risk is 2.5 greater to die cycling. 

The fact that people travel more by car than by bike does not really change the fact that when we substitute biking for driving for the same trip your risk of death is 2.5x higher.  Still, the risk is REALLY low and I believe biking is a good activity.  I just don't buy the premise the premise that it is "the safest form of transportation".  We all take risks every day and biking is an acceptable one for me, just not one I choose often because I walk everywhere instead and I dislike biking on busy roads. 

Is the fact that the average age of death of a cyclist is 41 really representative?  Maybe not, I'm not sure.  I couldn't find the median.  I would say that this is def. at odds with the premise that it is mostly kids and young folk who are killed and because they are not acting in a safe manner.

Does cyclist behaviour have anything to do with risk?  Yes, how could it not?  That said, we don't control driver behaviour.  Nor do we control all the other factors on the roads as we bike.

As far as dangerous neighbourhoods go, I'm curious as to why you would choose to live in a neighbourhood with a higher crime rate?  A safe, pleasant neighbourhood is one of the things I am willing to work longer for myself.

ace1224

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Re: I Will NOT Be Biking to Work
« Reply #26 on: June 17, 2013, 09:19:40 AM »
Oldtoyota, I assume you live in the DC area, where a bunch of teenagers beat up a biker on the Met Branch Trail, right? That was a really awful incident, and that trail has a bad history. From what I have heard, I wouldn't ride it alone. And no trail is completely safe. On the trail near where I live in Arlington (Four Mile Run), a woman was recently stabbed in broad daylight on a weekend when the trail was full of people. On the Custis trail, two bikers were robbed at gunpoint one night a few weeks ago. Etc, etc.

But, I hear about beatings and robberies on Metro all the time- even when there are lots of people around. The weekly local crime report always multiple includes incidents where pedestrians are robbed, groped, beat up, etc- and I'm always surprised at how often these take place during the day in populated areas.  Cars and buses hit pedestrians. Cars and buses hit each other. It seems to me that the only way to be 100 percent safe is to stay home.
even then you can be broken into.  last year every house in my court was broken into except for mine (yay for giant scary german shepards that bark really really loud) you can never be 100 percent safe

Bakari

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Re: I Will NOT Be Biking to Work
« Reply #27 on: June 17, 2013, 10:17:24 AM »
The fact that you heard about this incident has no bearing on how dangerous it actually is.  You know that, right?  Do you know the actual statistics on attacks on cyclists?

More than that.  The fact that you hear about it implies it is LESS likely to occur.  People and reporters tell stories that are interesting, and things which are commonplace are not particularly interesting.  That's why we hear about every major carrier plane crash, anywhere in the country (extremely rare) and yet we never hear about car crashes (about 15 thousand per day, including 90 fatalities), and why we hear about deaths from swine flu (14,000 confirmed, possibly as many as a quarter million unreported) but never about deaths from plain old ordinary seasonal flu (a quarter million, every year).  Since common things don't get reported on, we get to pretend that driving a car isn't dangerous, even though it is the single largest cause of death and injury after disease, and the single largest total for everyone under 40.


These are the crimes I know about:

--robbed at gunpoint (this was walking home from the metro)
--raped (3 women on the trail near the metro)
--beaten (I know of at least three incidents).


Correct me if I am wrong, but none of those victims were on bicycles, were they?
In fact, it sounds like (at least) most of them were train riders!  Even though its just anecdotes, not real statistics, it seems to imply the exact opposite of what you are trying to say  - people who take the train are at risk (unless of course your front door opens directly into the train station.)  Its a lot easier to stop someone walking 4mph than someone rolling 16mph.  Not to mention the protective helmet that goes with cycling.

And it doesn't seem like anyone has mentioned this yet: if the trail is dangerous, why not just  take a different route?  Just because an off street trail exists doesn't mean you have to ride your bike on it.




2. Death is not the only risk, as we know from this post. While attack-related incidences are reported, other injuries are also a safety risk and , unlike death or car accidents in general, we know from research into hospital records that only a fraction of bicycle crashes causing injury are ever recorded by the police, possibly as low as ten percent. http://www.bicyclinginfo.org/facts/crash-facts.cfm.  The point is that if there is a 6.2x risk of death from cycling, then injury is also likely to be higher and long-term lifespan exercise benefits are uncertain in relation to injury.  Injury seems to cause more time taken from exercise as far as I can tell and generally makes daily living a bit more onerous, sometimes forever.

...

4. If I had to choose between injury that alters my life or death at 41 and one or more extra years of life at 86 (the age my grandma died), guess which one Id choose.

In 2011, 2,217,000 people were injured in motor vehicle crashes.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says in 2010 that the cost of medical care and productivity losses associated with motor vehicle crash injuries was over $99 billion, or nearly $500, for each licensed driver in the United States. In addition, every 10 seconds an American is treated in an emergency department for crash-related injuries, based on data from 2005.

The most common cause of the worst non-death injury, paraplegia? Car accidents.


If my adult daughter were taking the exact same path I take home from work each day I would tell her I think it's a bad idea, the area is not safe enough for a 110 pound 25 year old female.  But for me, a 200 pound 46 year old guy who used to deliver mail in a bunch of working class neighborhoods, I don't think twice about it.

What are you basing this on?  Are you assuming that females are more likely to be victims of violent crime?  Are you assuming younger or smaller people are more likely to be victims?  And if so, where did you learn this?

Once again, your implication is correct, and you do not go quite far enough.

Contrary to almost universal belief, males are MORE often the victims of violent crime by strangers.
Men are at significantly higher risk of being assaulted by a stranger, and this has always been true:

Violent crimes included are rape, robbery, and both simple and aggravated assault.
Violent crime rate per 1,000 persons age 12 or older

   
             Total                           Gender of victim
             population                 Male            Female
1977      50.6                         71.3            32.5
1987      43.8                         57.0            32.1
1997      38.7                         45.8            32.1
2007      20.3                         22.6            18.1
2008      19.0                         21.4            16.7

http://www.bjs.gov/content/glance/tables/vsxtab.cfm


http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/content/homicide/gender.cfm


The trend has been for assault against males to drop faster than against females, so while it is no longer more than twice as dangerous for a man than a woman, it remains approximately 30% more dangerous, on average, nationwide.
Our perception that women are naturally victims is not due to any actual risk, it is due to society wide subconscious sexism.
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Jamesqf

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Re: I Will NOT Be Biking to Work
« Reply #28 on: June 17, 2013, 11:01:11 AM »
This whole discussion makes me nostalgic for the time when I biked to work in San Jose, and the trail I rode on had signs posted warning that  mountain lions had been seen in the area.

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Re: I Will NOT Be Biking to Work
« Reply #29 on: June 17, 2013, 11:42:24 AM »
The trouble I have with Bakari's argument is that there are a whole host of other variables to be considered aside from just gender.  I was already well aware that more men are murdered on average than women, but the reasons behind those murders and where they occur are much harder to tease out.  And when it comes to random violence, I think that a lot of it boils down to, as another poster already put it, having the misfortune to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.  It's pretty rare. 

For example, where I live the City of Richmond has a far higher homicide rate than the County of Chersterfield.  That is in large part due to the fact that there is a much higher concentration of poverty in the city than the county.  There are no housing projects in Chesterfield County.  Where you have a housing project, you will have a lot of crime.  The wrong place is more likely to be in economically depressed areas.  The wrong time is at night.  Who is more likely to be on the streets of a housing project after dark?  A male.  Trust me, I've been in enough bad neighborhoods to know.

So in my case a little common sense goes a long way here.  If I am targeting a complete stranger, which happens fairly rarely but still happens, am I going to target a big guy on the bike moving faster or the much smaller woman on a bike moving slower?  Probably neither, target comes and goes too fast.  What happens when either of the two has a breakdown?  Most working class neighborhoods are safer than people imagine, but they are still safer for larger men familiar with their surroundings than smaller women who aren't. 

I've already had to tell a lot of people that my ride home is a lot safer than they imagine, but that does not mean it is 100% safe, because nothing is 100% safe.  There simply reaches a point where a little caution is prudent, and I stand by the notion that I would not recommend the path I take for my very attractive and not very strong daughter.  I don't consider my situation to be sexist at all, but Bakari is free to disagree.  Of course, he is doing so without any firsthand knowledge.....

   
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GuitarStv

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Re: I Will NOT Be Biking to Work
« Reply #30 on: June 17, 2013, 11:49:49 AM »
Most of my cycling commute takes place on the road at moderate to high speeds . . . I don't know how you could be ambushed by a roving pack of teens on a four lane road.  If a dangerous situation seemed to be developing, you're going to get away if you're on a bike.  At absolute worst, I'd think about avoiding secluded bike paths if concerned about crime.  Biking on the road is about as safe as it gets though (well, other than ridiculous drivers).

hybrid

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Re: I Will NOT Be Biking to Work
« Reply #31 on: June 17, 2013, 12:23:46 PM »
Most of my cycling commute takes place on the road at moderate to high speeds . . . I don't know how you could be ambushed by a roving pack of teens on a four lane road.  If a dangerous situation seemed to be developing, you're going to get away if you're on a bike.  At absolute worst, I'd think about avoiding secluded bike paths if concerned about crime.  Biking on the road is about as safe as it gets though (well, other than ridiculous drivers).

I agree completely.  But if you have the misfortune to break down or get a flat in a sketchy area, that's a horse of a different color.  I was pretty nervous about biking when I first started commuting several weeks ago and after a while I discovered that the drivers aren't nearly as scary as I thought they would be.  I'm getting pretty confident now - but not cocky.  I always assume the worst from them at intersections and use lots of hand signals.  I figure some clown is going to cut me off at some point anyway, and I just have to be ready for it.
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sheepstache

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Re: I Will NOT Be Biking to Work
« Reply #32 on: June 17, 2013, 01:05:57 PM »
Well if we are just going to throw metrics out the window, then: my common sense is different from yours and is just as legitimate.

No one is going to beat up a random woman to prove their masculinity, which is what a lot of teenage crime is about.  "Boo-ya, we're so tough, we totally destroyed that biker!"  "Awright, dude, how big was he?"  "Uh, it was a little girl, actually."  "Uh..."
And muggers are less likely to go after women.  You want to be facing a jury for attacking a 200 pound guy or for attacking a 110-pound woman?  Of course, sometimes economic need means the mugger can't make such nice considerations, but in that case the 200-pound guy is equally at risk because the criminal is just going to go for the first person they see.
Women are a greater rape target outside of prison, sure, but the incidence of rape is extremely low.   Like, women are less likely to be victims of violent crime in general, and sexual assault is a subset of that, and sexual assault by someone you don't know is an even smaller subset.  If I found out that only women are ever struck by lightening, I wouldn't suddenly go around being frightened of lightening just because it singles my gender out.  (Far and away the most likely violence for women to suffer, in case you're interested, is domestic violence.  So I'm pretty much taking my life in my hands every day I remain married.  What can I say?  I like to live dangerously.  In parallel, the overwhelming majority of rape cases are date or acquaintance rape.  So if you're female you should probably, you know, stop having any relationships at all with any men.)

Now, I am cognizant that there's a virtuous cycle here.  In our wisdom we have convinced women that it's not safe to leave the house and that if they go to a public restroom they have to do it in pairs, etc., and that cuts down on the potential for violent crime against them.  Conversely, men are not warned or protected and are expected to go to dangerous areas and do dangerous things.  But I think that is a shame.  If the goal in life is to eliminate as much risk as possible, men ought also to go to the bathroom in pairs.
  The flipside of the cycle is experience, which Hybrid has pointed out matters (according to his common sense which in this instance is in agreement with mine.).  If women are discouraged from facing less safe situations, they do not gain experience with them.  They do not learn how to be attentive to their surroundings and they do not place a priority on learning to defend themselves.  I used to be that 110-pound 25-year-old and traveled all over the place by myself and went through dangerous neighborhoods and it led to my learning how to handle myself and no one has ever fucked with me, so I conclude that this is the way to go.

Anyway, I didn't mean to derail the thread with one of my pet topics.  I meant to come back and rant about the TSA and how Americans are trading away their freedoms out of fear of unlikely but titillating dangers.


Totoro: My point with the lower age is that you would expect people in this group to die at a younger age because...they are younger.  You wouldn't look at the average age of death in a nursing home and conclude that a nursing home must be a super safe place to live.  (I mean, okay, it probably is, but you'd conclude that on different grounds.)  You'd know that the higher age of death is simply a result of their being no younger people there to bring the average down with their deaths. 

I assume your question about why live in a dangerous neighborhood was directed at the OP.

tuyop

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Re: I Will NOT Be Biking to Work
« Reply #33 on: June 17, 2013, 01:23:12 PM »
Most of my cycling commute takes place on the road at moderate to high speeds . . . I don't know how you could be ambushed by a roving pack of teens on a four lane road.  If a dangerous situation seemed to be developing, you're going to get away if you're on a bike.  At absolute worst, I'd think about avoiding secluded bike paths if concerned about crime.  Biking on the road is about as safe as it gets though (well, other than ridiculous drivers).

Yeah seriously, I'm usually rolling at like 30kph on a 35-lb bicycle, if someone wants to get in the way of the equivalent of a speeding refrigerator made of muscle and aluminum, that's between them and their god. I'm not too worried about it.

oldtoyota

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Re: I Will NOT Be Biking to Work
« Reply #34 on: June 17, 2013, 01:30:20 PM »
Oh man I love how much fear gets posted regarding bike commuting.

Evidently, the metro is quite dangerous--according to others here--so I'm already taking great risks!

oldtoyota

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Re: I Will NOT Be Biking to Work
« Reply #35 on: June 17, 2013, 01:41:27 PM »
Well if we are just going to throw metrics out the window, then: my common sense is different from yours and is just as legitimate....


I know you are saying something, but I am not listening to you. I think your posts are unnecessarily rude, and I don't need to be told I am not thinking. Have a good day, angry man.

Joet

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Re: I Will NOT Be Biking to Work
« Reply #36 on: June 17, 2013, 02:12:06 PM »
I think the logic is a bit specious (at best) if cyclists are experiencing fatalities at a 6x rate per mile driven. You can't just say "hey cyclists dont go as far, wee I win at logic". On a per mile basis they experience greater fatalities. End of datapoint.

We can discuss alternate ways to normalize the data, but really everything I've seen so far is just an attempt (imo) to fix the conclusion from the data. Yawn, I can do that too.

hybrid

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Re: I Will NOT Be Biking to Work
« Reply #37 on: June 17, 2013, 02:17:16 PM »
Well if we are just going to throw metrics out the window, then: my common sense is different from yours and is just as legitimate.

I'll offer this.  In my circles I am usually the guy seen as going out on a limb, doing things that other perceive as reckless, etc.  It's definitely odd to be debating from the other side of the equation.  So I am suppose I am going to take comfort in the fact that you are out further on the limb than I am.

As for throwing metrics out a window, I am old enough to appreciate the old turn about "lies, damned lies, and statistics".  Some things are easily teased out with numbers, some aren't.  I've read a fair amount about why men are often subject to more violence than women, and one of the contributing factors that does not fir neatly onto a graph is the rather common sensical "because they are more likely to put themselves in harms way".  I'm a big fan of stats and letting the numbers fall where they may, but one only has to casually pay attention to our two political parties to realize that darn near any debate can be framed to the author's liking.  MMMs recent thread on bike safety certainly inspired a lot of compelling arguments both pro and for.

Like you, I agree wholeheartedly that our nation has become one giant bunch of fraidycats post 9/11, and every time I have to board a plane I realize just how ridiculous Fortress America has become.  But I would also offer you are jumping to a lot of conclusions about individuals specific situations without much data both objective and subjective to go on.  I STILL don't know exactly where oldtoyota is talking about?  ;-)
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tuyop

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Re: I Will NOT Be Biking to Work
« Reply #38 on: June 17, 2013, 02:24:57 PM »
I don't really understand the idea that life is about minimizing risks at all costs. Like, life is pain and hazards and the beautiful outdoors. Take risks, step outside your comfort zone constantly, don't let fear control you.

You guys are seriously debating the hazards of riding a bicycle per kilometer. I'd say that if you're that frightened of riding a bicycle, it is exactly the reason you need to go and do it. Action is the cure for fear, not statistics.

Just compare populations that experience pain, hardship and injury between those that don't. You'll find that athletes of all types are often in a state of pain and injury, and not just constant discomfort from the rigours of their sport. They face crazy dangers of falling off mountains or drowning in the sea, being eaten and mauled by wild animals, breaking bones, tearing muscle and flesh. They also have much lower rates of suicide and depression, I bet they have better sex and more of it, and experience greater success in other areas of their lives due to the positive correlation of being attractive and interesting and being successful.

Or you could mitigate all of these terrible risks by living a life of ease and sloth, only exposing yourself to risk to partake in the most secure forms of transportation in the most secure places so that you can eke out a few more totally mundane moments on this planet. You will probably never break a bone or have a scar. You may need to be medicated in order to keep from actually killing yourself with the existential agony of your (safe) lifestyle, not to mention the medication you will require from the diseases that you contract from not giving your body and mind the stimulation it needs to function normally. No thanks.

hybrid

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Re: I Will NOT Be Biking to Work
« Reply #39 on: June 17, 2013, 02:41:49 PM »
I don't really understand the idea that life is about minimizing risks at all costs.

I don't think that is the point being made here.  Absolutely everyone mitigates some risk in their life.  Or perhaps I am mistaken there, maybe you keep 100% of your portfolio in equities?  ;-)  The point being argued is where do you draw the lines between risks worth taking and risks not worth taking.  As I said much earlier in the thread, YMMV.
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Jamesqf

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Re: I Will NOT Be Biking to Work
« Reply #40 on: June 17, 2013, 03:19:26 PM »
I think the logic is a bit specious (at best) if cyclists are experiencing fatalities at a 6x rate per mile driven.

But is "fatalities per mile" the appropriate metric for risk?  Or should it be fatalities per hour spent at the activity?

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Re: I Will NOT Be Biking to Work
« Reply #41 on: June 17, 2013, 03:26:22 PM »
in the case of a typical bike vs car commuter, I dont think the workplace magically becomes 6x closer if you happen to be on a bike, so yes I think per distance is the appropriate metric.

my $0.01

totoro

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Re: I Will NOT Be Biking to Work
« Reply #42 on: June 17, 2013, 05:03:37 PM »
Exactly my point Joet.  It is a per mile risk because we are replacing commutes under 75 miles with a bicycle.  Of course it is going to take you longer, but the risk is a per mile risk.  The rationalization based on per hour risk is illogical  when we are discussing safety of relative modes of transportation.  Walking is even safer, but will take even longer

Sheepstache you stated in response to the stat that the average age of a cycling fatality is 41 with:

"Totoro: My point with the lower age is that you would expect people in this group to die at a younger age because...they are younger."

Maybe, but they are also a lot of under 20s in this group and the premise is that  high risk behaving 20 and unders driving up the mortality rates.  In order to have an average age of 41 we need to have a lot of fatalities in the 40 plus age group who we might normally think of as being more careful.  I would have expected the average age of death to be even lower.

Jamesqf

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Re: I Will NOT Be Biking to Work
« Reply #43 on: June 17, 2013, 06:07:26 PM »
in the case of a typical bike vs car commuter, I dont think the workplace magically becomes 6x closer if you happen to be on a bike, so yes I think per distance is the appropriate metric.

But the statistics are IIRC not just for car & bike commuters, but for all car travel and all biking.  Indeed, I'm not even sure how the compilers of the statistics could get even a halfway accurate guess at annual bike miles.

Joet

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Re: I Will NOT Be Biking to Work
« Reply #44 on: June 17, 2013, 06:11:51 PM »
like normal stats right? sampling and modeling. maybe the models vastly under-estimate the deaths/mile by bike? If not, it's pretty dangerous (relatively), and thats ok in my book.

Bakari

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Re: I Will NOT Be Biking to Work
« Reply #45 on: June 17, 2013, 06:27:12 PM »
The trouble I have with Bakari's argument is that there are a whole host of other variables to be considered aside from just gender.  I was already well aware that more men are murdered on average than women, but the reasons behind those murders and where they occur are much harder to tease out.

I should have been more clear that I was talking about crimes committed by strangers specifically
http://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/vvcs9310.pdf (page 2)  Actually, this report shows male's chances of being a victim by a stranger as even higher than the data I posted the first time

Quote
  And when it comes to random violence, I think that a lot of it boils down to, as another poster already put it, having the misfortune to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.  It's pretty rare. 

For example, where I live the City of Richmond has a far higher homicide rate than the County of Chersterfield.  That is in large part due to the fact that there is a much higher concentration of poverty in the city than the county.  There are no housing projects in Chesterfield County.  Where you have a housing project, you will have a lot of crime.  The wrong place is more likely to be in economically depressed areas.  The wrong time is at night.  Who is more likely to be on the streets of a housing project after dark?  A male.  Trust me, I've been in enough bad neighborhoods to know.

So in my case a little common sense goes a long way here.  If I am targeting a complete stranger, which happens fairly rarely but still happens, am I going to target a big guy on the bike moving faster or the much smaller woman on a bike moving slower?  Probably neither, target comes and goes too fast.  What happens when either of the two has a breakdown?  Most working class neighborhoods are safer than people imagine, but they are still safer for larger men familiar with their surroundings than smaller women who aren't. 

I've already had to tell a lot of people that my ride home is a lot safer than they imagine, but that does not mean it is 100% safe, because nothing is 100% safe.  There simply reaches a point where a little caution is prudent, and I stand by the notion that I would not recommend the path I take for my very attractive and not very strong daughter.  I don't consider my situation to be sexist at all, but Bakari is free to disagree.  Of course, he is doing so without any firsthand knowledge.....

Do you mean first hand knowledge of your sexism or lack there of?  I wasn't saying you personally were.  I was saying we, collectively, as a society have ingrained it so much that it is invisible.

If it were really a question of individual's vulnerability, there would be no reason to even mention gender.
But let's be honest - who is more likely to have concern for their safety expressed:
a 120lb, 5'4" male, or a 160lb 5'9" female athlete?

By similar logic, are we to assume that we save "women and children first" from a sinking ship is because, unlike women, men have a natural ability to breath underwater?  Or is it more likely that patriarchal society teaches us that women are weak and vulnerable, and men should be their protectors?

It may be true that the average male is stronger than the average female, but there are still millions of women who are stronger than millions of men.

OR

did you mean no first hand knowledge of dangerous neighborhoods?  I've lived almost my entire life in poor, high crime neighborhoods (Richmond and Oakland, CA).  And as long as we are going by anecdote instead of stats, myself and nearly every male friend I know has been mugged, or jumped, or in someway assaulted by strangers, most of us more than once.  Almost none of my females have ever been assaulted by strangers.   Believe it or not, but I have always seen equal numbers of each gender out at night, or walking somewhere secluded, or by themselves (or all 3). 

Your "common sense" begins with the conclusion, and then finds a way to justify it.  Why do you assume the male is riding faster?  Why do you assume he is familiar with his surroundings, but she isn't? 


Well if we are just going to throw metrics out the window, then: my common sense is different from yours and is just as legitimate.

No one is going to beat up a random woman to prove their masculinity, which is what a lot of teenage crime is about.  "Boo-ya, we're so tough, we totally destroyed that biker!"  "Awright, dude, how big was he?"  "Uh, it was a little girl, actually."  "Uh..."
And muggers are less likely to go after women.  You want to be facing a jury for attacking a 200 pound guy or for attacking a 110-pound woman? 

I suspect this is close to the truth.
Aside from sociopaths, even criminals have a code of conduct.
"Never hit a woman" is right up there with "Don't be a snitch"
Ironically, the same ingrained sexism that tells us women must be victims more often is likely the reason why they aren't!

Quote

Women are a greater rape target outside of prison, sure...

True - but not remotely nearly as much as "common knowledge" has us believe.  The reason for the 1:10 ratio of male to female victims of rape is because rape is defined as sexual penetration.  If instead you define it as "non-consensual sexual contact" the ratio changes to 2:3.  It still makes female's statistical risk slightly higher, but that is a huge difference.
Similarly common knowledge tells us the perpetrators are 99% male, and data reinforces that so long as you use the same narrow definition.  If you look at non-consensual sexual contact, 60% of the perpetrators against men are women.

Quote
Anyway, I didn't mean to derail the thread with one of my pet topics.

Same here.  I've already written enough on that topic
« Last Edit: June 17, 2013, 06:29:07 PM by Bakari »
Anything I've said here useful or interesting?  Find a lot more of my thoughts here: http://biodieselhauling.blogspot.com/

kendallf

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Re: I Will NOT Be Biking to Work
« Reply #46 on: June 17, 2013, 07:39:51 PM »
The long statistical analyses here crack me up.  I think the people who have decided cycling's not for them aren't going to change their minds whether we define danger by the mile, the hour, or the metric tonne.  And that's a shame.

I ride between 8-10k miles yearly in one of America's "Most Dangerous" cities for cycling (Jacksonville, FL).  That appellation is real, and we need to improve our roads, our drivers' attitudes and education, and for that matter, our cyclists' behaviour.

Having said that, is it possible to ride here safely?  Absolutely.  Ride in a safe manner, pick smart routes, use good lights at night..it's not rocket science.  My own experience bears out some of the points MMM brings out in his article.  Local fatalities and injuries are skewed toward two groups: (A) people riding at night, often without lights, often riding the wrong way/in the lane/across traffic and (B) road racing crashes that are a result of close quarters pack racing. 

I road race my bike, and I've had several crashes in races or race style group rides.  I have never had a crash or incident with a car while commuting or riding solo for pleasure. 

I was in Finland the past two weeks, and watched probably thousands of people ride around the city of Tampere and in small villages and countryside north of there.  The ages ran the gamut from pre-schoolers to grandmas, the bikes and speeds varied wildly, and it was no big deal to anyone there.  Not coincidentally, I saw far less obesity and mobility issues in the Suomi people.
In the absence of clearly-defined goals, we become strangely loyal to performing daily trivia until ultimately we become enslaved by it.
― Robert A. Heinlein

Bakari

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Re: I Will NOT Be Biking to Work
« Reply #47 on: June 17, 2013, 07:51:27 PM »
I am angry when I believe people are not thinking. 
I get angry when people allow their lives to be directed by gut reactions without questioning their assumptions.  If this is so important to you that it is directing an element of your life, you owe it to yourself to research it properly and make a comparison.  That means not coming to conclusions based on anecdotes.  Your comparison between your neighbors means nothing because it is not a random sample and it is a small sample size.

I get angry because I feel it on a moral level.  Morality is about making decisions and so I believe each of us has a moral responsibility to learn proper logic and reasoning when it comes to risk evaluation.

I don't know if this makes it better or worse, but in any event, its all very interesting:
http://youarenotsosmart.com/about/

you might like (or else hate) these too:

http://www.ted.com/speakers/dan_ariely.html
and
http://www.ted.com/speakers/dan_gilbert.html

And if you have more time, the three part National Geographic series starting with:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JyeLF_a2iW0
Anything I've said here useful or interesting?  Find a lot more of my thoughts here: http://biodieselhauling.blogspot.com/

Luck better Skill

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Re: I Will NOT Be Biking to Work
« Reply #48 on: June 17, 2013, 08:53:06 PM »
  I have got to weigh in on the statistics here.  I look at some of the information provided by Bakari and it is good, but that does not make our conclusions correct.  My stats teacher gave me extra credit for proving both sides of an argument using the same data.

example:
"Contrary to almost universal belief, males are MORE often the victims of violent crime by strangers.
Men are at significantly higher risk of being assaulted by a stranger, and this has always been true:"

  There for we concluded that Male Citizens are more likely the victims of a violent crime then Female Citizens.  That is not what the reports say.  It implies the opposite.

  1.  The report counts criminals on criminals, gang on gang, inmates, etc.  If readers on this thread are not members of a gang, incarcerated etc. your odds drop of being a victim by a stranger regardless if you are male or female.

  2.  How is counting done.  Example if 4 gang members beat up one rival gang member is it 1 assault, 4, or 8? 

  3.  Age groups!  Age 12 and up????  The report states that over 50% of all stranger violent crime is on those under the age of 24.  Juveniles should not be separated from the adult population for numbers.  We all did stupid things as teenagers we would not do as adults.

  The complied stats seem very accurate but without knowing how the data was collected or compiled it we can draw very incorrect conclusions.  Just a warning to the wise:  "if you torture numbers long enough they will tell you anything you want to hear."
Simple is Best;  Less is More.

sheepstache

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Re: I Will NOT Be Biking to Work
« Reply #49 on: June 17, 2013, 08:55:47 PM »
As for throwing metrics out a window, I am old enough to appreciate the old turn about "lies, damned lies, and statistics".  Some things are easily teased out with numbers, some aren't.

...

But I would also offer you are jumping to a lot of conclusions about individuals specific situations without much data both objective and subjective to go on.  I STILL don't know exactly where oldtoyota is talking about?  ;-)

Oh, of course.  But that's why I'm taking a break from the statistics and presenting my own personal common sense take.  What I suspect happens is that people swallow an assumption uncritically and then build their "common sense" explanation from there to rationalize it.  In my case, I looked into the statistics some years ago; they were not what I expected; and I have now adjusted my common sense explanation to reflect them.  Common sense is not reasoning or a way to arrive at a conclusion, it is just a rationale for believing what one already believes.

I don't mean to deny that individual factors should effect individual decisions.  I know some people who, no matter the situation, seem to get picked on.  Something about their demeanor or height or pheromones, who knows.  They would be wise to be more cautious than others.  I know a mildly claustrophobic person who got caught in an elevator for a loooong time and now prefers to take the stairs.  They weight the risk of getting stuck far higher than most people do.  I don't mean to suggest that oldtoyota is a big old stupidhead just because he doesn't see things the same way I do.  (Totoro, for example, doesn't make the same choices as I do but sounds like she has put some thought into it.)  I mentioned lightening before.  If someone lives on a treeless hill where there are a bunch of storms, I don't think they're paranoid or unthinking for wanting to get a lightening rod.  If someone in more average circumstances wants to get a lightening rod just because their neighbor's house got hit by lightening,well, then that's weird.  And I don't want someone on a treeless hill to buy a lightening rod just because their neighbor did; I want people to do things for the correct reasons!

Once again, your implication is correct, and you do not go quite far enough.

Contrary to almost universal belief, males are MORE often the victims of violent crime by strangers.
Men are at significantly higher risk of being assaulted by a stranger, and this has always been true:

As you saw in my later post, I do indeed know the numbers (And I swear I'm not just copying your posts :)  I'm writing stuff in my draft emails since I'm standing by for cues at work and then posting later when I have a chance to re-read what I've written.)  but my new thing is to ask people whether they've considered certain things rather than just presenting them with, uh...those things.  Because there is more to reasoning than just blindly going around repeating an opinion until you bump into someone who disagrees.  While I am of course all for seeking out discussion in the hopes of finding individuals with contrary views, one can also create contrary views on one's own mental test grounds.

I don't expect people to do this with everything in their lives because it would take so long.  Certainly Wikipedia's page of common misconceptions has multiple eye openers for anybody.  But at the point that you realize you're making a decision based on certain information, that's where it should kick in.

Maybe, but they are also a lot of under 20s in this group and the premise is that  high risk behaving 20 and unders driving up the mortality rates. 

Oh, we may have been talking at cross-purposes.  I wasn't trying to link the average age and effects of cyclist behavior.  I was addressing what you were saying about how the average age of death was 41 while you would rather live to be 86.  I was trying to make the point that the younger-than-average age of death doesn't mean you are actually likely to die sooner due to cycling.  But I guess that wasn't what you were saying.