Author Topic: Medium Article on The Hidden Cost of Cars  (Read 5416 times)

Chris22

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Re: Medium Article on The Hidden Cost of Cars
« Reply #50 on: May 16, 2018, 11:12:13 AM »
It's not opposition to cycling that annoys me (that's just confusing around here): it's the fact that the arguments being made are genuinely bad and wrong.

That's fine, because a lot of Pete's arguments for biking are bad and wrong.  He tortures the shit out of numbers to support biking, which is silly because it gives his critics ammunition and generally biking is a good idea that can stand on its own merit without being dragged down by his spurious arguments.

dustinst22

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Re: Medium Article on The Hidden Cost of Cars
« Reply #51 on: May 16, 2018, 11:20:13 AM »
A study done on the statistics of commuting by bicycle and driving found that a person riding a bike is 17 times more likely to die, per mile, than someone driving. It may not sound like it, but this is HUGE. Driving a car is already one of the most dangerous things human beings do on a daily basis.  To increase that risk by a factor of 17 is pretty insane.  This was a UK study.

In the US, the numbers are not much different.  1.48 deaths per 200 million miles driven by passenger car versus 16.08 deaths per 200 million miles ridden by bike.  The numbers get much worse when you look at serious injuries (going to hospital) outside of death.

Serious Injury statistics for the US (Serious Injury = requiring hospital care).

Driving: 43 injuries per 200 million miles driven by car

Riding: 11,166 injuries per 200 million miles ridden by bike

That's a seriously massive difference, and not something to casually overlook.  You are 78 times more likely to be seriously injured by riding a bike than driving a car, with every mile you travel.

It's something to take into account, particularly if you are a parent.  Much safer ways to get your exercise.

By the way, when I worked for a company I used to commute to work by bike, but only because almost the entire trip was a bike trail.
« Last Edit: May 16, 2018, 11:26:59 AM by dustinst22 »

dustinst22

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Re: Medium Article on The Hidden Cost of Cars
« Reply #52 on: May 16, 2018, 11:29:20 AM »
It's a total fucking mystery to me why anyone would seek to be an active member of a community based on three pillars while flatly deriding one of them.


Well then let me help to clarify the mystery.  Somehow the concepts on this blog don't fall apart when I refuse to ride to work on my Huffy.  Amazingly the core tenets of frugality and smart investing work pretty well without the bike part.  I know, astonishing really.
« Last Edit: May 16, 2018, 11:41:41 AM by dustinst22 »

DreamFIRE

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Re: Medium Article on The Hidden Cost of Cars
« Reply #53 on: May 16, 2018, 11:54:37 AM »
I was able to read it, but I stopped after a while.  I didn't care for his message.  I average only $1500 per year to drive/license/insure/maintain my car. 
Because you can externalise your costs. Which is part of the point of his poorly-written article.

But the same's true of many things in our Western lifestyle. Everything has a cost, the only question is who's paying. As the man in Bangladesh said, "they tell me my flooded house is because of global warming, but I swear to you, I have never owned even a single lightbulb."

I need  a car for other reasons besides driving to work, so the additional cost for me to drive my car to work comes out to about $10/mo.  Time is money, so it would actually cost me a lot more to ride my bike, and that's assuming I don't get hit by a car, which is a high likelihood of city bike riding over thousands of rides over the years if you were to bike to work every day including cold ass winter days and snowy / icy weather.

It's a total fucking mystery to me why anyone would seek to be an active member of a community based on three pillars while flatly deriding one of them.


Well then let me help to clarify the mystery.  Somehow the concepts on this blog don't fall apart when I refuse to ride to work on my Huffy.  Amazingly the core tenets of frugality and smart investing work pretty well without the bike part.  I know, astonishing really.

Yep, and there's no rule that says you can't get your exercise from something other than biking to work.  I've got a car and use it, but I still manage savings rates of 70% to 80% year after year and stay fit.
« Last Edit: May 16, 2018, 11:56:19 AM by DreamFIRE »

TPGW

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Re: Medium Article on The Hidden Cost of Cars
« Reply #54 on: May 16, 2018, 12:01:55 PM »
For a example of one: I bike to work almost every day and I'm not dead. 

For an example of 250,000:

"Cycling to work lowers the risk of dying early by 40 per cent, and reduces the chance of developing cancer by 45 per cent.

Similarly a daily bike ride to the office nearly halves the risk of heart disease, according to a major study by the University of Glasgow, who tracked the health of more than a quarter of a million people over five years."

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/2017/04/19/cycling-work-could-help-live-longer-greatly-reduces-chance-developing/

PoutineLover

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Re: Medium Article on The Hidden Cost of Cars
« Reply #55 on: May 16, 2018, 12:22:24 PM »
Owning a bike instead of a car is a lifestyle choice for me and one that I am incredibly happy with. I am saving tons of money, my commute doesn't pollute or contribute to congestion, and I don't have to pay for or worry about parking, expensive maintenance, and insurance in addition to the cost of the car itself. For most of my trips, it doesn't even take me longer since I live in a dense urban area with lots of stoplights, so I travel at about the same speed as traffic. The thing is, I grew up in a city where you needed to own a car, it was too spread out, the roads had high speed limits and no space for bikes, and it was rare to see bikes so people didn't give enough space. There, I couldn't bike everywhere I needed to go, but I did bike as much as I could. I purposely chose to move to a city where public transit and biking infrastructure is really good, so I don't need a car and there are very few times I wish I had one, and when that happens I can rent one. People who drive exclusively are so blinded to other ways of life because it's a habit and a standard life choice that most people don't ever deviate from, but it is possible to design your life in such a way that a car is no longer a necessity. I strongly believe that cities should be designed to make walking, biking and public transit better options than driving to nudge people's decision making towards the environmentally friendly and active transportation choices.

undercover

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Re: Medium Article on The Hidden Cost of Cars
« Reply #56 on: May 16, 2018, 12:25:47 PM »
Whether MMM is completely right or wrong, he seems to be one that mostly practices what he preaches, so that's enough for me. You don't have to commit to biking to work everyday or hauling groceries by bike trailer to take a few of the ideas and implement them into your own life.

I think people here tend to defend whatever lifestyle choice they've chosen simply because they've chosen it instead of objectively looking at the reasons why there may be better options. For the record, I drive exclusively everywhere I go, but I still think biking is the right choice for many people.

If you can't find a safe route to bike, don't do it. For, I would imagine, a lot of people, there are safe routes almost everywhere. It may not be the most direct route but it's doable.

If you live your life by statistics, you may become one. I don't think many people here live their life based on statistics as we tend to buck almost every trend. The "dangers of biking" statistics don't nearly tell the full story. Also, at some point you really do need to be the change you want to see. Owning a car is fine. Operating a car becomes expensive. Reducing your trips and biking can really make a huge dent in your financial well being and overall health as well. It's irrelevant that you don't need to exercise over the "minimum" amount per week to stay healthy and fit.

runbikerun

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Re: Medium Article on The Hidden Cost of Cars
« Reply #57 on: May 16, 2018, 12:27:01 PM »
A study done on the statistics of commuting by bicycle and driving found that a person riding a bike is 17 times more likely to die, per mile, than someone driving. It may not sound like it, but this is HUGE. Driving a car is already one of the most dangerous things human beings do on a daily basis.  To increase that risk by a factor of 17 is pretty insane.  This was a UK study.

In the US, the numbers are not much different.  1.48 deaths per 200 million miles driven by passenger car versus 16.08 deaths per 200 million miles ridden by bike.  The numbers get much worse when you look at serious injuries (going to hospital) outside of death.

Serious Injury statistics for the US (Serious Injury = requiring hospital care).

Driving: 43 injuries per 200 million miles driven by car

Riding: 11,166 injuries per 200 million miles ridden by bike

That's a seriously massive difference, and not something to casually overlook.  You are 78 times more likely to be seriously injured by riding a bike than driving a car, with every mile you travel.

It's something to take into account, particularly if you are a parent.  Much safer ways to get your exercise.

By the way, when I worked for a company I used to commute to work by bike, but only because almost the entire trip was a bike trail.

And the same ugly arguments come up again.

Eleven thousand serious injuries per 200 million miles implies that we're looking at about a 0.055% chance of injury on a given ten-mile ride, versus about a 0.000215% chance on a given ten-mile drive. So add a zero, and we find that per mile, cycling is actually about 0.00054785% more risky per mile.

That's the true reflection of the danger involved per mile. But what happens if we correct for journey distance? Or for the fact that motorway driving, which bike commuters will still be using a car for, accounts for a full third of all miles driven (in the UK at least) but only 9% of accidents?

And because this thread has been sorely in need of some actual hard, referenced data:

https://www.bmj.com/content/357/bmj.j1456?tab=related#datasupp

The interesting stuff:
-The researchers followed a quarter of a million people to assess the health outcomes of different modes of commuting.
-Cycling was positively correlated with a lower risk of both cardiovascular disease and cancer, AND for all-cause mortality. In other words, cycling in the UK at least is objectively associated with strongly positive health outcomes.

Or how about this:

https://ajph.aphapublications.org/doi/abs/10.2105/AJPH.2015.302724?url_ver=Z39.88-2003&rfr_id=ori%3Arid%3Acrossref.org&rfr_dat=cr_pub%3Dpubmed

The key findings there? That cycle commuting prevents about six and a half thousand deaths a year in Holland, and adds about six months to Dutch life expectancy. SIX MONTHS.

As humans, we are genetically hardwired to assess risk poorly. Cycling to and from work is one of the most positive things the average person can do for their health if they live within biking range. All the fear and worry in the world doesn't change that.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to ride to the shops.

FIRE47

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Re: Medium Article on The Hidden Cost of Cars
« Reply #58 on: May 16, 2018, 12:42:51 PM »
A study done on the statistics of commuting by bicycle and driving found that a person riding a bike is 17 times more likely to die, per mile, than someone driving. It may not sound like it, but this is HUGE. Driving a car is already one of the most dangerous things human beings do on a daily basis.  To increase that risk by a factor of 17 is pretty insane.  This was a UK study.

In the US, the numbers are not much different.  1.48 deaths per 200 million miles driven by passenger car versus 16.08 deaths per 200 million miles ridden by bike.  The numbers get much worse when you look at serious injuries (going to hospital) outside of death.

Serious Injury statistics for the US (Serious Injury = requiring hospital care).

Driving: 43 injuries per 200 million miles driven by car

Riding: 11,166 injuries per 200 million miles ridden by bike

That's a seriously massive difference, and not something to casually overlook.  You are 78 times more likely to be seriously injured by riding a bike than driving a car, with every mile you travel.

It's something to take into account, particularly if you are a parent.  Much safer ways to get your exercise.

By the way, when I worked for a company I used to commute to work by bike, but only because almost the entire trip was a bike trail.

And the same ugly arguments come up again.

Eleven thousand serious injuries per 200 million miles implies that we're looking at about a 0.055% chance of injury on a given ten-mile ride, versus about a 0.000215% chance on a given ten-mile drive. So add a zero, and we find that per mile, cycling is actually about 0.00054785% more risky per mile.

That's the true reflection of the danger involved per mile. But what happens if we correct for journey distance? Or for the fact that motorway driving, which bike commuters will still be using a car for, accounts for a full third of all miles driven (in the UK at least) but only 9% of accidents?

And because this thread has been sorely in need of some actual hard, referenced data:

https://www.bmj.com/content/357/bmj.j1456?tab=related#datasupp

The interesting stuff:
-The researchers followed a quarter of a million people to assess the health outcomes of different modes of commuting.
-Cycling was positively correlated with a lower risk of both cardiovascular disease and cancer, AND for all-cause mortality. In other words, cycling in the UK at least is objectively associated with strongly positive health outcomes.

Or how about this:

https://ajph.aphapublications.org/doi/abs/10.2105/AJPH.2015.302724?url_ver=Z39.88-2003&rfr_id=ori%3Arid%3Acrossref.org&rfr_dat=cr_pub%3Dpubmed

The key findings there? That cycle commuting prevents about six and a half thousand deaths a year in Holland, and adds about six months to Dutch life expectancy. SIX MONTHS.

As humans, we are genetically hardwired to assess risk poorly. Cycling to and from work is one of the most positive things the average person can do for their health if they live within biking range. All the fear and worry in the world doesn't change that.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to ride to the shops.

Do you actually believe that biking to work reduces cancer? The more likely conclusion is that those who bike to work are more wealthy, have more free time are more likely to have a healthy diet, less likely to smoke, less likely to be obese and so on. Perhaps they controlled for some of this.

I don't doubt that biking in general would lead to these outcomes - but specifically biking to work.
« Last Edit: May 16, 2018, 12:48:54 PM by FIRE47 »

TPGW

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Re: Medium Article on The Hidden Cost of Cars
« Reply #59 on: May 16, 2018, 12:52:33 PM »
Quote
Do you actually believe that biking to work reduces cancer?

Yes.

The link between regular physical activity and lower cancer rates is well established.

https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/risk/obesity/physical-activity-fact-sheet

FIRE47

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Re: Medium Article on The Hidden Cost of Cars
« Reply #60 on: May 16, 2018, 12:56:07 PM »
Quote
Do you actually believe that biking to work reduces cancer?

Yes.

The link between regular physical activity and lower cancer rates is well established.

https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/risk/obesity/physical-activity-fact-sheet

Of course it does, I'm asking about biking to work - not biking.

TPGW

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Re: Medium Article on The Hidden Cost of Cars
« Reply #61 on: May 16, 2018, 12:58:23 PM »
Quote
Of course it does, I'm asking about biking to work - not biking.

Biking to work.....is biking. 

Chris22

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Re: Medium Article on The Hidden Cost of Cars
« Reply #62 on: May 16, 2018, 01:02:18 PM »
Quote
Of course it does, I'm asking about biking to work - not biking.

Biking to work.....is biking.

But wouldn't a person who drove to work and then biked after/before hours on a bike trail away from traffic gain all the benefits of the exercise + the smaller chance of being run over by a cell phone wielding SUV pilot?

dustinst22

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Re: Medium Article on The Hidden Cost of Cars
« Reply #63 on: May 16, 2018, 01:04:02 PM »

Eleven thousand serious injuries per 200 million miles implies that we're looking at about a 0.055% chance of injury on a given ten-mile ride, versus about a 0.000215% chance on a given ten-mile drive. So add a zero, and we find that per mile, cycling is actually about 0.00054785% more risky per mile.


No.  The difference per mile is   0.0000215% (car) vs 0.00583% (bike).    You are 271 times more likely to sustain a serious injury per mile on a bike compared to driving.  Keep in mind this data is including all bike riding including closed off bike trails, so the numbers are even worse than they appear here if you are commuting with traffic.  I'm not really sure how you derived your number.
« Last Edit: May 16, 2018, 01:07:37 PM by dustinst22 »

Chris22

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Re: Medium Article on The Hidden Cost of Cars
« Reply #64 on: May 16, 2018, 01:07:55 PM »

Eleven thousand serious injuries per 200 million miles implies that we're looking at about a 0.055% chance of injury on a given ten-mile ride, versus about a 0.000215% chance on a given ten-mile drive. So add a zero, and we find that per mile, cycling is actually about 0.00054785% more risky per mile.


No.  The difference per mile is   0.0000215% (car) vs 0.00583% (bike).    You are 271 times more likely to sustain a serious injury per mile on a bike.  I'm not really sure how you derived your number.

Said another way, there were 11,000 injuries per 200M bike miles.  There were 430 for cars.

Also this is "serious injuries", what do deaths look like?  IIRC, most (66%?) car deaths involve some one or more of A) alcohol, B) being on the road between 2AM and 5AM (related to A) and C) not wearing a seatbelt. 

Cut out those risky behaviors and your risk plummets. 

Seadog

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Re: Medium Article on The Hidden Cost of Cars
« Reply #65 on: May 16, 2018, 01:08:09 PM »
And the same ugly arguments come up again.

Eleven thousand serious injuries per 200 million miles implies that we're looking at about a 0.055% chance of injury on a given ten-mile ride, versus about a 0.000215% chance on a given ten-mile drive. So add a zero, and we find that per mile, cycling is actually about 0.00054785% more risky per mile.

That's the true reflection of the danger involved per mile. But what happens if we correct for journey distance? Or for the fact that motorway driving, which bike commuters will still be using a car for, accounts for a full third of all miles driven (in the UK at least) but only 9% of accidents?

And because this thread has been sorely in need of some actual hard, referenced data:

https://www.bmj.com/content/357/bmj.j1456?tab=related#datasupp

The interesting stuff:
-The researchers followed a quarter of a million people to assess the health outcomes of different modes of commuting.
-Cycling was positively correlated with a lower risk of both cardiovascular disease and cancer, AND for all-cause mortality. In other words, cycling in the UK at least is objectively associated with strongly positive health outcomes.

Or how about this:

https://ajph.aphapublications.org/doi/abs/10.2105/AJPH.2015.302724?url_ver=Z39.88-2003&rfr_id=ori%3Arid%3Acrossref.org&rfr_dat=cr_pub%3Dpubmed

The key findings there? That cycle commuting prevents about six and a half thousand deaths a year in Holland, and adds about six months to Dutch life expectancy. SIX MONTHS.

As humans, we are genetically hardwired to assess risk poorly. Cycling to and from work is one of the most positive things the average person can do for their health if they live within biking range. All the fear and worry in the world doesn't change that.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to ride to the shops.

I too am just blown away by people looking at half the argument, piss poor interpretation of stats, and the "from my cold dead hands" attitude towards the suggestion of giving up their cars.

People who became millionaires from games of chance were orders of magnitude more likely to have played the lottery. In fact, there was almost a direct correlation between the number of tickets bought, and the likelihood of becoming a millionaire. Therefore I think it's safe and obvious that if you want to become a millionaire, play the lottery, and buy as many tickets as you can.

I think runbikerun might be the only person on this entire forum that gets it. According to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_volcanic_eruptions_by_death_toll 1 person has died from volcanoes in Iceland. over 125 thousand have died in Indonesia. Literally you have 125000 times the likelihood of dying from an eruption in Indonesia as Iceland. Forget 17x and the bike car argument, volcanoes are the real risky killer.

That's the whole point of the safety is an expensive illusion. Airlines are the perfect example. Even if there was a 9/11 attack monthly, it would still kill less people than driving, but having 1 in 100 years was enough to increase security spending by a huge factor. You're odds of dying from terrorism are 1 in 3.64 million, but too high! Too Dangerous! Spend thousands of dollars to make it lower!

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/you-re-more-likely-die-choking-be-killed-foreign-terrorists-n715141

At the same time, your odds of dying from heart disease, cancer, health issues, are non trivial in the order of actual percents! People here are worried about reducing 1/10,000 to 1/1,1000 while ignoring the real risk health issues pose. Great job. You reduced your cumulative transport + health risk from 10.002% to 10.0015%.

People say they do everything they can to reduce risk. Do you have a personal driver? Studies show professionals have an order of magnitude less accidents. You can further decrease your risk by a factor of 10. 10 is a huge number.

You've reduced your lifetime odds of dying from 1/5000 or essentially 0, to 1/50000, or essentially 0. Was that worth increasing your commuting cost by a factor of 10?

People need to look at the whole package like the studies above. You're more likely to die on a per mile basis, but you're also likely to improve health, save money, help the environment. As a whole what are the key differences between biking and driving? What results could an average person expect? It's not enough to say you're more likely to die biking as it isn't enough to say you're more likely to be a millionaire playing lotto.

dustinst22

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Re: Medium Article on The Hidden Cost of Cars
« Reply #66 on: May 16, 2018, 01:12:34 PM »
The point you're missing is that driving is already one of the most risky behaviors human beings do.  It's also something we do quite regularly.  It's an inherently very high risk activity (the statistics confirm this).  Biking is several magnitutes more dangerous (17 times more likely to die, and 271 times more likely to sustain serious injury).  We're not talking about volcano lava, lightning shock, or being eaten by a shark here, we're talking about a regular daily high risk activity.  Most people who understand risk also understand that riding a motorcycle is vastly more risky than driving a car.  I'm not sure why it's also difficult to understand why riding a bicycle has nearly the same risk factor.
« Last Edit: May 16, 2018, 01:17:01 PM by dustinst22 »

runbikerun

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Re: Medium Article on The Hidden Cost of Cars
« Reply #67 on: May 16, 2018, 01:25:21 PM »
You are 271 times more likely to sustain a serious injury per mile on a bike.

This is fundamentally bad statistics, and is the kind of thing statistics professors warn their students against doing. It's misleading and deliberately shocking, and says virtually nothing about actual risk involved. 271 times 1/1,000,000 is still less than 0.03%, after all. People who go to bars to drink with friends are INFINTELY more likely to end up in a fistfight than people who drink alone at home - see how easy it is to present something in a shocking manner by quoting only the relative difference in probabilities without any reference to the overall probabilities?


dustinst22

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Re: Medium Article on The Hidden Cost of Cars
« Reply #68 on: May 16, 2018, 01:28:41 PM »
You are 271 times more likely to sustain a serious injury per mile on a bike.

This is fundamentally bad statistics, and is the kind of thing statistics professors warn their students against doing. It's misleading and deliberately shocking, and says virtually nothing about actual risk involved. 271 times 1/1,000,000 is still less than 0.03%, after all. People who go to bars to drink with friends are INFINTELY more likely to end up in a fistfight than people who drink alone at home - see how easy it is to present something in a shocking manner by quoting only the relative difference in probabilities without any reference to the overall probabilities?

Please first respond to my post above correcting your figures (post #63), not sure how you derived that figure I replied to.   Also, this is a straw man fallacy.
« Last Edit: May 16, 2018, 01:39:33 PM by dustinst22 »

Seadog

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Re: Medium Article on The Hidden Cost of Cars
« Reply #69 on: May 16, 2018, 01:40:30 PM »
The point you're missing is that driving is already one of the most risky behaviors human beings do.  It's also something we do quite regularly.  It's an inherently very high risk activity (the statistics confirm this).  Biking is several magnitutes more dangerous (17 times more likely to die, and 271 times more likely to sustain serious injury).  We're not talking about volcano lava, lightning shock, or being eaten by a shark here, we're talking about a regular daily high risk activity.  Most people who understand risk also understand that riding a motorcycle is vastly more risky than driving a car.  I'm not sure why it's also difficult to understand why riding a bicycle has nearly the same risk factor.

You keep citing these number which sound high, but it's misleading since the numbers are so tiny. While driving is one of the highest risk things we do, the risk is still low. I read 1% is you're lifetime risk of dying in a car crash. Are you suggesting that if you bike, your odds are 17%? Numbers below say 1/4000. Naturally this is because people do a lot more driving than biking, so it isn't apples to apples. You're 1000 times more likely to die in a car crash as be struck by lightning. Does that mean driving is dangerous? Or just that lightning strikes are really rare? Quoting these sorts of numbers are half the picture, but ubiquitous in these comments. 

http://injuryfacts.nsc.org/all-injuries/preventable-death-overview/odds-of-dying/

Forget all that though, the things you really ought to be focusing on are the top few. Heart disease, Obesity, Cancer Risk factors. Therefore I presume everyone here so overly concerned about reducing their lifetime transport risk a fraction of a percent has already done everything they effectively can with regards to health.

Take 100,000 ppl over a life time. 1000 will die in car crashes. 25 in bike crashes. People here are arguing back and forth over which tiny group they want to avoid, while ignoring the 16000 who died from heart disease and 14000 from cancer. If you can do something to reduce your risk of heart disease/cancer by a mere 3%, you've essentially cancelled out the entire risk of driving. 

Seadog

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Re: Medium Article on The Hidden Cost of Cars
« Reply #70 on: May 16, 2018, 01:47:08 PM »
If someone commutes 10 miles on bicycle every work day of the year, he/she statistically has a 14.5% chance per year of sustaining a serious injury.  That's nothing to sneeze at.

If they drive that same distance, on the other hand,  they have a 0.05% chance of incurring serious injury per year.

Do these numbers really play out though? 1% lifetime risk of a car death. Say you have 1000 acquaintances/ppl who you know their name. I'd expect 10 to die in my life, or one every 5-10 years, and that's generally played out, so I buy that 1% stat, at least in the ballpark.

You're saying 1/6 bike commuters will be seriously injured per year. I know more than 6 ppl who bike to work, so you'd be expecting 1 very serious injury each year, which I don't see, in fact I know of only one. Therefore experimentally, 14.5% is off. In fact it's so rare that any serious injury generally makes the news.   

FIRE47

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Re: Medium Article on The Hidden Cost of Cars
« Reply #71 on: May 16, 2018, 01:47:19 PM »
If someone commutes 10 miles on bicycle every work day of the year, he/she statistically has a 14.5% chance per year of sustaining a serious injury.  That's nothing to sneeze at.

If they drive that same distance, on the other hand,  they have a 0.05% chance of incurring serious injury per year.

This is crazy if true. What is defined as a "serious injury"?

dustinst22

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Re: Medium Article on The Hidden Cost of Cars
« Reply #72 on: May 16, 2018, 01:48:07 PM »
If someone commutes 10 miles on bicycle every work day of the year, he/she statistically has a 14.5% chance per year of sustaining a serious injury.  That's nothing to sneeze at.

If they drive that same distance, on the other hand,  they have a 0.05% chance of incurring serious injury per year.

This is crazy if true. What is defined as a "serious injury"?

Serious injury was defined in the statistics as requiring hospitalization.

wageslave23

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Re: Medium Article on The Hidden Cost of Cars
« Reply #73 on: May 16, 2018, 01:49:01 PM »
The point you're missing is that driving is already one of the most risky behaviors human beings do.  It's also something we do quite regularly.  It's an inherently very high risk activity (the statistics confirm this).  Biking is several magnitutes more dangerous (17 times more likely to die, and 271 times more likely to sustain serious injury).  We're not talking about volcano lava, lightning shock, or being eaten by a shark here, we're talking about a regular daily high risk activity.  Most people who understand risk also understand that riding a motorcycle is vastly more risky than driving a car.  I'm not sure why it's also difficult to understand why riding a bicycle has nearly the same risk factor.

You keep citing these number which sound high, but it's misleading since the numbers are so tiny. While driving is one of the highest risk things we do, the risk is still low. I read 1% is you're lifetime risk of dying in a car crash. Are you suggesting that if you bike, your odds are 17%? Numbers below say 1/4000. Naturally this is because people do a lot more driving than biking, so it isn't apples to apples. You're 1000 times more likely to die in a car crash as be struck by lightning. Does that mean driving is dangerous? Or just that lightning strikes are really rare? Quoting these sorts of numbers are half the picture, but ubiquitous in these comments. 

http://injuryfacts.nsc.org/all-injuries/preventable-death-overview/odds-of-dying/

Forget all that though, the things you really ought to be focusing on are the top few. Heart disease, Obesity, Cancer Risk factors. Therefore I presume everyone here so overly concerned about reducing their lifetime transport risk a fraction of a percent has already done everything they effectively can with regards to health.

Take 100,000 ppl over a life time. 1000 will die in car crashes. 25 in bike crashes. People here are arguing back and forth over which tiny group they want to avoid, while ignoring the 16000 who died from heart disease and 14000 from cancer. If you can do something to reduce your risk of heart disease/cancer by a mere 3%, you've essentially cancelled out the entire risk of driving.

You aren't considering that you are encouraging people to increase their biking 100x the average.  So if someone did that then their risk of dying would be 100x the average.  This is just a ballpark but hopefully you understand the main idea.

Chris22

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Re: Medium Article on The Hidden Cost of Cars
« Reply #74 on: May 16, 2018, 01:53:12 PM »
Take 100,000 ppl over a life time. 1000 will die in car crashes. 25 in bike crashes. People here are arguing back and forth over which tiny group they want to avoid, while ignoring the 16000 who died from heart disease and 14000 from cancer. If you can do something to reduce your risk of heart disease/cancer by a mere 3%, you've essentially cancelled out the entire risk of driving.

But again, biking to work requires me to drive on major roads.  I can bike on my own time, or exercise in countless other ways, on bike paths, trails, side roads, whatever, and be much safer.  Bike commuting advocates seem to live in this weird world where the only way to be healthy is to commute via bike, when in fact you can get all the good effects of biking with minimal risk by, say, riding on our extensive bike path network through the park districts here.

dustinst22

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Re: Medium Article on The Hidden Cost of Cars
« Reply #75 on: May 16, 2018, 01:55:10 PM »
Sorry, I think I did the calc wrong on the per year bike commuting injury rate, I'm going to remove that post for now until I double check it.

TPGW

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Re: Medium Article on The Hidden Cost of Cars
« Reply #76 on: May 16, 2018, 02:21:17 PM »
Quote
Bike commuting advocates seem to live in this weird world where the only way to be healthy is to commute via bike, when in fact you can get all the good effects of biking with minimal risk by, say, riding on our extensive bike path network through the park districts here.

If true that would be an idiotic position.  But that's not what's happening here. 

Here, we have people saying bike commuting is A) perilously dangerous to the point where it is irresponsible to do so, or B) at a minimum, that the risk alone justifies a decision not to bike to work. 

That argument has been confronted with a study of a quarter of a million people showing that people who bike commute live longer than average. 

So yeah, it you simply prefer to drive and don't like biking, fair enough, although from a budgetary and environmental POV it's not ideal.  But if you aren't biking because of the risk of an early death, the statistics do not back you up.   
« Last Edit: May 16, 2018, 02:36:09 PM by TPGW »

wageslave23

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Re: Medium Article on The Hidden Cost of Cars
« Reply #77 on: May 16, 2018, 02:50:52 PM »
Quote
Bike commuting advocates seem to live in this weird world where the only way to be healthy is to commute via bike, when in fact you can get all the good effects of biking with minimal risk by, say, riding on our extensive bike path network through the park districts here.

If true that would be an idiotic position.  But that's not what's happening here. 

Here, we have people saying bike commuting is A) perilously dangerous to the point where it is irresponsible to do so, or B) at a minimum, that the risk alone justifies a decision not to bike to work. 

That argument has been confronted with a study of a quarter of a million people showing that people who bike commute live longer than average. 

So yeah, it you simply prefer to drive and don't like biking, fair enough, although from a budgetary and environmental POV it's not ideal.  But if you aren't biking because of the risk of an early death, the statistics do not back you up.   

Did the study control for diet, activity levels outside of biking, income level, urban vs. rural, randomized to assign bike commuting vs. driving?  If not that this is all correlation and not causation.  If you forced the otherwise healthy bikers (sickly people can't bike commute) to drive to work instead, I think you would find that they live the same if not longer lives than they already do.  Their diets are probably better because they tend to health conscious.  They are probably more highly educated than the general population and wealthier since they tend to live in urban areas.  So while the study might be interesting, it doesn't prove anything.

Seadog

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Re: Medium Article on The Hidden Cost of Cars
« Reply #78 on: May 16, 2018, 07:12:38 PM »
Sorry, I think I did the calc wrong on the per year bike commuting injury rate, I'm going to remove that post for now until I double check it.

I was looking into it more, and also found this study saying that cycling was 5 times safer than driving in the UK.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/transport/9729218/Driving-is-five-times-more-dangerous-than-cycling-for-young-men.html

Then I found this:

https://blogs.crikey.com.au/theurbanist/2013/08/21/is-cycling-more-dangerous-than-driving/

It says in one study cycling was 11-19 x more dangerous, and another study in a different city found 4.5x more dangerous.

To me this says that all the numbers are bunk or they need better methods. We literally have a variation of 100x in the level of risk between 3 studies. A fifth that of driving, to nearly 20x. 

inline five

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Re: Medium Article on The Hidden Cost of Cars
« Reply #79 on: May 16, 2018, 07:37:00 PM »
There is more than one way to skin a cat.

Living in CA or major city? Sure bike to work and shed the car, which would cost a fortune to just park.

Live in a more rural or less public transit friendly area? Buy an inexpensive older car and learn to wrench on it yourself.

Motorcycles get good mpg (up to around 80) and are cheap to buy if you want to combine the two.

But I just can't get behind the concept of intentionally shedding a car and putting yourself in a worse situation. Some folks have jobs where they can work from home, some people need to carry luggage back and forth to their jobs, some live in an area where their job is good and doesn't exist outside that area but it's crazy expensive to buy right next to their job.

Maybe some work jobs in less secure industries, and living next to your job isn't a prudent choice.

List goes on.

runbikerun

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Re: Medium Article on The Hidden Cost of Cars
« Reply #80 on: May 16, 2018, 11:50:45 PM »
Quote
Bike commuting advocates seem to live in this weird world where the only way to be healthy is to commute via bike, when in fact you can get all the good effects of biking with minimal risk by, say, riding on our extensive bike path network through the park districts here.

If true that would be an idiotic position.  But that's not what's happening here. 

Here, we have people saying bike commuting is A) perilously dangerous to the point where it is irresponsible to do so, or B) at a minimum, that the risk alone justifies a decision not to bike to work. 

That argument has been confronted with a study of a quarter of a million people showing that people who bike commute live longer than average. 

So yeah, it you simply prefer to drive and don't like biking, fair enough, although from a budgetary and environmental POV it's not ideal.  But if you aren't biking because of the risk of an early death, the statistics do not back you up.   

Did the study control for diet, activity levels outside of biking, income level, urban vs. rural, randomized to assign bike commuting vs. driving?  If not that this is all correlation and not causation.  If you forced the otherwise healthy bikers (sickly people can't bike commute) to drive to work instead, I think you would find that they live the same if not longer lives than they already do.  Their diets are probably better because they tend to health conscious.  They are probably more highly educated than the general population and wealthier since they tend to live in urban areas.  So while the study might be interesting, it doesn't prove anything.

This is utter sophistry. You haven't read the study, and you've dismissed it out of hand. What the hell is the point of discussing anything if you're going to respond to actual sourced research by making up flaws you haven't bothered checking for and dismissing the results?

As I already pointed out, the study was conducted in a country where over a quarter of all journeys are done by commute. Everything you're assuming in your post is based on a set of assumptions about the profile of cyclists that doesn't hold true in the Netherlands. It's not my job to convince you that an article from the American Journal of Public Health draw correct conclusions: it's your job to prove it doesn't, not simply blandly assume so by carrying over a bunch of entrenched ideas about cyclists from your own experience.

BuildingFrugalHabits

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Re: Medium Article on The Hidden Cost of Cars
« Reply #81 on: May 17, 2018, 07:36:44 AM »
Makes me sad to see so many people who seem like they want to give biking a shot but are maybe a little intimidated by the traffic and the prospect of riding with cars.  I say be the change that you want to see in the world.  It's not going to become safer for cyclists to have more people riding in the parks, more people need to take to the streets on their bikes and advocate for bicycle infrastructure.  I also try to ride my mountain bike to the trailhead when time allows for the same reason.  Hence where I live, local governments have responded by putting in more bike lanes because they see the demand for it. 

Also, try exploring different alternative routes and maybe on a weekend when you aren't pressed for time.  My bike commute route cuts through neighborhoods so I stay off the main roads.  There's usually a safe route if you look around a bit.  Also, when you ride a lot, you start to get a feel for when drivers are distracted or don't see you, you become more observant.  I always try to make eye contact with drivers so I know they see me.  In my almost 20 years of bike commuting, I've had one or two close calls which I've anticipated and avoided.  Overall, most drivers I encounter are courteous to a fault though i.e. "you go, no you go". 


wageslave23

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Re: Medium Article on The Hidden Cost of Cars
« Reply #82 on: May 17, 2018, 10:23:25 AM »
Quote
Bike commuting advocates seem to live in this weird world where the only way to be healthy is to commute via bike, when in fact you can get all the good effects of biking with minimal risk by, say, riding on our extensive bike path network through the park districts here.

If true that would be an idiotic position.  But that's not what's happening here. 

Here, we have people saying bike commuting is A) perilously dangerous to the point where it is irresponsible to do so, or B) at a minimum, that the risk alone justifies a decision not to bike to work. 

That argument has been confronted with a study of a quarter of a million people showing that people who bike commute live longer than average. 

So yeah, it you simply prefer to drive and don't like biking, fair enough, although from a budgetary and environmental POV it's not ideal.  But if you aren't biking because of the risk of an early death, the statistics do not back you up.   

Did the study control for diet, activity levels outside of biking, income level, urban vs. rural, randomized to assign bike commuting vs. driving?  If not that this is all correlation and not causation.  If you forced the otherwise healthy bikers (sickly people can't bike commute) to drive to work instead, I think you would find that they live the same if not longer lives than they already do.  Their diets are probably better because they tend to health conscious.  They are probably more highly educated than the general population and wealthier since they tend to live in urban areas.  So while the study might be interesting, it doesn't prove anything.

This is utter sophistry. You haven't read the study, and you've dismissed it out of hand. What the hell is the point of discussing anything if you're going to respond to actual sourced research by making up flaws you haven't bothered checking for and dismissing the results?

As I already pointed out, the study was conducted in a country where over a quarter of all journeys are done by commute. Everything you're assuming in your post is based on a set of assumptions about the profile of cyclists that doesn't hold true in the Netherlands. It's not my job to convince you that an article from the American Journal of Public Health draw correct conclusions: it's your job to prove it doesn't, not simply blandly assume so by carrying over a bunch of entrenched ideas about cyclists from your own experience.

You should ask this question of any study (was it randomized?).  Its what separates correlation and causation, an amusing study and an informing study.  I put no weight in the study results, so I have no inclination to look into their methods.  I am just reminding everyone that it is important to ask what their controls were before you make life altering changes based on it.  If they did randomize and the results influence you to bike more then go for it.

mschaus

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Re: Medium Article on The Hidden Cost of Cars
« Reply #83 on: May 17, 2018, 11:14:31 AM »
I agree that this whole thread appears to be like the twilight zone. If some particular person is scared to ride their bike, great, but complaining about it wont get anyone anywhere. We should be discussing how to make the infrastructure and education better so that our communities can improve.

I know everyone has gotten bogged down in the statistics, but Id encourage everyone to take a step back and look at the big picture, too. Thats the main purpose of this blog. The bicycle is an automatic life rebalancing machine. It improves both your wallet and body, and the more of it people do the better it is for every person in our society. Youll get more vitamin D, spend more time with your family, and strengthen your community. The list of benefits go on and on, and you wont fully understand until you start riding your bike on a regular basis (for recreation or commuting). Just take the commutes one day at a time; no need to commit to doing it forever. Lots of discussions here have helpful tips on how to get started and find a safe route.

Note that drivers in every town are terrible and that your town is not special in this regard, but that there is almost always a reasonable route to take in every town. Many people are reaping the benefits. Why not be one of them?

Id highly encourage everyone to read the MMM blog to which this forum belongs.
http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2012/05/07/what-do-you-mean-you-dont-have-a-bike/

Quite succinctly Its time for this silliness to come to an end. You must ride a bike. We all must. Its not a weird fringe form of transportation that only people in Portland and Colorado do. Its just simply the way we all get around for moderate intra-city distances.

Ride safe and enjoy!

(Also I'm glad we can all agree the Medium article was poorly written, regardless of correct/incorrect)
« Last Edit: May 17, 2018, 11:42:54 AM by mschaus »

Chris22

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Re: Medium Article on The Hidden Cost of Cars
« Reply #84 on: May 17, 2018, 11:38:48 AM »
Id highly encourage everyone to read the MMM blog to which this forum belongs.

https://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2013/06/13/bicycling-the-safest-form-of-transportation/


That article is literally the poster child for tortured math in support of bicycles. 

mschaus

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Re: Medium Article on The Hidden Cost of Cars
« Reply #85 on: May 17, 2018, 11:44:31 AM »
Id highly encourage everyone to read the MMM blog to which this forum belongs.

https://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2013/06/13/bicycling-the-safest-form-of-transportation/


That article is literally the poster child for tortured math in support of bicycles.

OK thanks for the feedback, I removed that link because it was clearly distracting and unrelated to my post, my mistake. I wanted us to look at the big picture.
http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2012/05/07/what-do-you-mean-you-dont-have-a-bike/

Kyle Schuant

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Re: Medium Article on The Hidden Cost of Cars
« Reply #86 on: May 18, 2018, 07:22:23 AM »
But wouldn't a person who drove to work and then biked after/before hours on a bike trail away from traffic gain all the benefits of the exercise + the smaller chance of being run over by a cell phone wielding SUV pilot?
Yes. But in practice, most won't do that activity. If you are going from A to B, rather than from A to A again scenically, you are more likely to take the trip. You're commuting, and you just happen to be exercising while doing so.

You also happen to be saving money on driving, too - however you count the costs, whether you externalise them or not, a car driven less is cheaper than one driven more.

I used to bike to work, but it was 25km each way, and old knee injuries played up, so I drove. I couldn't move closer to work, so I moved my work closer to me - my garage. Obviously that's not an option for everyone, but most can, I think, get closer to work than 25km.

dogboyslim

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Re: Medium Article on The Hidden Cost of Cars
« Reply #87 on: May 18, 2018, 07:52:16 AM »
A study done on the statistics of commuting by bicycle and driving found that a person riding a bike is 17 times more likely to die, per mile, than someone driving. It may not sound like it, but this is HUGE. Driving a car is already one of the most dangerous things human beings do on a daily basis.  To increase that risk by a factor of 17 is pretty insane.  This was a UK study.

In the US, the numbers are not much different.  1.48 deaths per 200 million miles driven by passenger car versus 16.08 deaths per 200 million miles ridden by bike.  The numbers get much worse when you look at serious injuries (going to hospital) outside of death.

Serious Injury statistics for the US (Serious Injury = requiring hospital care).

Driving: 43 injuries per 200 million miles driven by car

Riding: 11,166 injuries per 200 million miles ridden by bike

That's a seriously massive difference, and not something to casually overlook.  You are 78 times more likely to be seriously injured by riding a bike than driving a car, with every mile you travel.

It's something to take into account, particularly if you are a parent.  Much safer ways to get your exercise.

By the way, when I worked for a company I used to commute to work by bike, but only because almost the entire trip was a bike trail.

Consider the time per hour of exposure and it drops significantly.  Average driving speeds are probably 35-40 mph while average cycling speeds are probably 8-9 mph, so the risk per hour is really only 2-3x as bad as driving.  Is cycling dangerous?  Yep.  Can I mitigate the danger?  Yep.  Can I eliminate it?  Nope.  But it is still fun, and good for my health generally.  I have been hit by a car, and I still ride. S**t happens, go live your life.  Just my $.02

Seadog

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Re: Medium Article on The Hidden Cost of Cars
« Reply #88 on: May 18, 2018, 08:09:25 AM »
But wouldn't a person who drove to work and then biked after/before hours on a bike trail away from traffic gain all the benefits of the exercise + the smaller chance of being run over by a cell phone wielding SUV pilot?
Yes. But in practice, most won't do that activity. If you are going from A to B, rather than from A to A again scenically, you are more likely to take the trip. You're commuting, and you just happen to be exercising while doing so.

This. I always like how many parallels between health and finance there are. If you drive 1 mile to work, it certainly doesn't preclude you from having a healthy life style and being in great shape. However if you look at everyone that does that, I think you'd find the vast majority simply *are not* making health a priority. However, if everything else is in check, and you still do the 1 mile trek because of time/equipment concerns or hell just to be lazy, you can be fine.

Same thing with buying lunch out and $5 Lattes. Look at everyone who does that and I bet on average their finances suck. That said, I'm sure there are people in there that live in a tiny house, own no car, save 50% take home, but they just really like fancy coffees and lunches out and that's where they splurge.

Neither tells the whole story, but it's highly indicative of greater lifestyle choices and priorities.

I own no car. I also have camera equipment worth what a decent used car would cost. To me that's what mustachianism is. Doing things consciously while being aware of their total costs and values and if its a good deal for your particular situation.

I just get a kick out of the sweeping generalizations on both sides.

Raenia

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Re: Medium Article on The Hidden Cost of Cars
« Reply #89 on: May 18, 2018, 08:26:49 AM »
Consider the time per hour of exposure and it drops significantly.  Average driving speeds are probably 35-40 mph while average cycling speeds are probably 8-9 mph, so the risk per hour is really only 2-3x as bad as driving.  Is cycling dangerous?  Yep.  Can I mitigate the danger?  Yep.  Can I eliminate it?  Nope.  But it is still fun, and good for my health generally.  I have been hit by a car, and I still ride. S**t happens, go live your life.  Just my $.02

Not trying to be dense here, but why does it make sense to consider risk per hour rather than per mile?  If I have a 10 mi trip to make, it's the same 10 mi regardless of if it takes me 10 min, 30 min, or 2 hrs to get there.  If the risk per hour is 1/3 as much, but the time taken is 3x as much, the total risk is the same, right?

((Note: numbers for explanation only, not accurate based on expected speeds)

koshtra

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Re: Medium Article on The Hidden Cost of Cars
« Reply #90 on: May 18, 2018, 09:18:59 AM »
Consider the time per hour of exposure and it drops significantly.  Average driving speeds are probably 35-40 mph while average cycling speeds are probably 8-9 mph, so the risk per hour is really only 2-3x as bad as driving.  Is cycling dangerous?  Yep.  Can I mitigate the danger?  Yep.  Can I eliminate it?  Nope.  But it is still fun, and good for my health generally.  I have been hit by a car, and I still ride. S**t happens, go live your life.  Just my $.02

Not trying to be dense here, but why does it make sense to consider risk per hour rather than per mile?  If I have a 10 mi trip to make, it's the same 10 mi regardless of if it takes me 10 min, 30 min, or 2 hrs to get there.  If the risk per hour is 1/3 as much, but the time taken is 3x as much, the total risk is the same, right?

((Note: numbers for explanation only, not accurate based on expected speeds)

Yeah, I think as far as the risk goes, risk per mile is a better measure. Although in real life they're not independent variables -- if your default mode of transport is a bicycle, I can pretty much guarantee you will choose to cover a LOT fewer miles :-)

runbikerun

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Re: Medium Article on The Hidden Cost of Cars
« Reply #91 on: May 18, 2018, 10:40:37 AM »
Per hour is imperfect, but it's regarded by plenty of commentators as being a better option than per mile for a few reasons:

1. Per mile figures for cars are heavily influenced by time spent on intercity motorways and freeways, which are precisely the kind of driving miles a regular cyclist will still use a car for. People don't generally replace 500 miles a week of driving with an equivalent amount of cycling: you're far more likely to see a replacement of maybe 100 miles, with 400 remaining the same. For perspective, the British motorway network sees 33% of all road traffic, but only 9% of accidents - so non-motorway driving is about five times as likely to result in an accident than motorway driving, going by my very rough calculations.

2. Per hour measurements are still imperfect, but the time focus means that slower intra-urban driving - the type that's typically being replaced when someone opts to commute by bike - is more heavily weighted than by mile. It's still not perfect, but it's better.

dustinst22

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Re: Medium Article on The Hidden Cost of Cars
« Reply #92 on: May 19, 2018, 12:58:51 AM »


Consider the time per hour of exposure and it drops significantly.  Average driving speeds are probably 35-40 mph while average cycling speeds are probably 8-9 mph, so the risk per hour is really only 2-3x as bad as driving.  Is cycling dangerous?  Yep.  Can I mitigate the danger?  Yep.  Can I eliminate it?  Nope.  But it is still fun, and good for my health generally.  I have been hit by a car, and I still ride. S**t happens, go live your life.  Just my $.02

Well, most of this discussion is comparing a work commute via bicycling versus a car.  So for this purpose since the distance is equal, the per mile metric works well.

runbikerun

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Re: Medium Article on The Hidden Cost of Cars
« Reply #93 on: May 19, 2018, 04:12:50 AM »
It doesn't, though, because the per mile figure for cars includes all types of driving rather than the type of driving which cycling tends to replace. In the UK, non-motorway driving is five times more likely per mile to lead to an accident: what's the equivalent figure for the US? Is there a further subset of driving types that might enable us to get a clearer idea of the relative risks involved?

DreamFIRE

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Re: Medium Article on The Hidden Cost of Cars
« Reply #94 on: May 19, 2018, 07:21:56 AM »


Consider the time per hour of exposure and it drops significantly.  Average driving speeds are probably 35-40 mph while average cycling speeds are probably 8-9 mph, so the risk per hour is really only 2-3x as bad as driving.  Is cycling dangerous?  Yep.  Can I mitigate the danger?  Yep.  Can I eliminate it?  Nope.  But it is still fun, and good for my health generally.  I have been hit by a car, and I still ride. S**t happens, go live your life.  Just my $.02

Well, most of this discussion is comparing a work commute via bicycling versus a car.  So for this purpose since the distance is equal, the per mile metric works well.

Exactly, "per mile" is the only metric that makes sense when talking about the work commute.   It's absurd to use "per hour" when the bike trip normally takes much longer.  "Per mile" compares apples and apples.

And I will keep advising people not to ride bicycles in the city among traffic, even in the bike lanes that run along side traffic.  If there are completely separated bike paths, using those is much safer.  Personally, I avoid all city riding and do my biking outside of the city in low traffic areas where there are no surprises.  I stay in very good health without the biking to work - there are plenty of ways to get exercise without subjecting yourself to an accident waiting to happen.

Regarding the person that said they were hit by a car while riding and that shit happens.  No, shit didn't just happen.  You were intentionally putting yourself at risk.  Over time, it's a pretty high possibility of happening if you continually open yourself up to that that level of risk.

runbikerun

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Re: Medium Article on The Hidden Cost of Cars
« Reply #95 on: May 19, 2018, 07:35:30 AM »


Consider the time per hour of exposure and it drops significantly.  Average driving speeds are probably 35-40 mph while average cycling speeds are probably 8-9 mph, so the risk per hour is really only 2-3x as bad as driving.  Is cycling dangerous?  Yep.  Can I mitigate the danger?  Yep.  Can I eliminate it?  Nope.  But it is still fun, and good for my health generally.  I have been hit by a car, and I still ride. S**t happens, go live your life.  Just my $.02

Well, most of this discussion is comparing a work commute via bicycling versus a car.  So for this purpose since the distance is equal, the per mile metric works well.

Exactly, "per mile" is the only metric that makes sense when talking about the work commute.   It's absurd to use "per hour" when the bike trip normally takes much longer.  "Per mile" compares apples and apples.

For the second time in three posts: per mile is a flawed comparator, and per hour is a less flawed one, because figures for accidents involving motor vehicles are skewed by motorway miles, which are perhaps five times less risky than intra-urban miles.

I assume, since we're talking about risk minimisation, that you never head off a motorway and onto smaller roads to avoid a toll? I mean, if you have a choice between three miles on the motorway, or four miles on small roads, then you're at almost seven times as much risk of injury for the length of that detour.

ender

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Re: Medium Article on The Hidden Cost of Cars
« Reply #96 on: May 19, 2018, 08:06:39 AM »
Makes me sad to see so many people who seem like they want to give biking a shot but are maybe a little intimidated by the traffic and the prospect of riding with cars.  I say be the change that you want to see in the world.  It's not going to become safer for cyclists to have more people riding in the parks, more people need to take to the streets on their bikes and advocate for bicycle infrastructure.  I also try to ride my mountain bike to the trailhead when time allows for the same reason.  Hence where I live, local governments have responded by putting in more bike lanes because they see the demand for it. 

Also, try exploring different alternative routes and maybe on a weekend when you aren't pressed for time.  My bike commute route cuts through neighborhoods so I stay off the main roads.  There's usually a safe route if you look around a bit.  Also, when you ride a lot, you start to get a feel for when drivers are distracted or don't see you, you become more observant.  I always try to make eye contact with drivers so I know they see me.  In my almost 20 years of bike commuting, I've had one or two close calls which I've anticipated and avoided.  Overall, most drivers I encounter are courteous to a fault though i.e. "you go, no you go".

I've biked far less than I've driven in my life and yet still had far more close calls with drivers while biking than I have driving.

It seems to be part of the pro-bike mantra to have a "my experience, roads/paths, and driver pool where I live obviously applies to everyone who ever might bike!" attitude which consistently ignores the reality that across particularly the USA, there are so many localized factors to whether biking is actually safe or not.\






Seadog

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Re: Medium Article on The Hidden Cost of Cars
« Reply #97 on: May 19, 2018, 09:51:18 AM »

Exactly, "per mile" is the only metric that makes sense when talking about the work commute.   It's absurd to use "per hour" when the bike trip normally takes much longer.  "Per mile" compares apples and apples.

And I will keep advising people not to ride bicycles in the city among traffic, even in the bike lanes that run along side traffic.  If there are completely separated bike paths, using those is much safer.  Personally, I avoid all city riding and do my biking outside of the city in low traffic areas where there are no surprises.  I stay in very good health without the biking to work - there are plenty of ways to get exercise without subjecting yourself to an accident waiting to happen.

Regarding the person that said they were hit by a car while riding and that shit happens.  No, shit didn't just happen.  You were intentionally putting yourself at risk.  Over time, it's a pretty high possibility of happening if you continually open yourself up to that that level of risk.

I agree per mile makes the most sense. But what exactly is the accident rate per mile driven in low speed, stop and go commuter traffic? in either cars or bikes for that matter?

As other's correctly pointed out, the car rate includes very low risk, very high distance intercity travel which will invariably skew the rate downwards, as others said by a factor of 5. Could be higher or lower, but definitely isn't the same quoted number for all car driving. It also includes obvious huge risk factors such as drunk driving, reckless behavior, stunting, and other stupid stunts which you can easily avoid.

Similarly with biking. The number is skewed because it likely includes very low risk, off road travel on designated paths.

The reason why hour to hour might be a decent comparison because the risk factor is being out there in traffic and not inherently related to distance. Two cyclists who travel the same distance, but one who goes at half the speed probably has close to twice the risk. Twice as many motorists will pass, twice as many distracted people on cell phones. Maybe a bit less than twice since you have the same number of higher risk encounters like intersections. Even as a pedestrian you have big risks which on a per mile basis, can even exceed those of cycling simply because you travel so much slower, yet time in the danger zone is higher.

This is why this whole argument is sort of stupid. As I posted above in 3 studies, there was a variance of 100 times in the concluded risk of biking compared to driving. Where else would shitty meaningless results like that be considered remotely acceptable?

That's why I think they best you can reasonably do is huge studies to identify the most general of trends such as the study runbikerun pointed out. If you're the kind of person who cycles a lot including to work, or everywhere else to the tune of 100 miles a week *except* to work because the only way is 50 miles on a 100 series highway then you can likely expect a positive effect on health.

However, if you group everyone who drives to work, my expectation is that 90%+ don't bike everywhere else.

koshtra

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Re: Medium Article on The Hidden Cost of Cars
« Reply #98 on: May 19, 2018, 10:11:24 AM »

Exactly, "per mile" is the only metric that makes sense when talking about the work commute.   It's absurd to use "per hour" when the bike trip normally takes much longer.  "Per mile" compares apples and apples.

And I will keep advising people not to ride bicycles in the city among traffic, even in the bike lanes that run along side traffic.  If there are completely separated bike paths, using those is much safer.  Personally, I avoid all city riding and do my biking outside of the city in low traffic areas where there are no surprises.  I stay in very good health without the biking to work - there are plenty of ways to get exercise without subjecting yourself to an accident waiting to happen.

Regarding the person that said they were hit by a car while riding and that shit happens.  No, shit didn't just happen.  You were intentionally putting yourself at risk.  Over time, it's a pretty high possibility of happening if you continually open yourself up to that that level of risk.

I agree per mile makes the most sense. But what exactly is the accident rate per mile driven in low speed, stop and go commuter traffic? in either cars or bikes for that matter?

As other's correctly pointed out, the car rate includes very low risk, very high distance intercity travel which will invariably skew the rate downwards, as others said by a factor of 5. Could be higher or lower, but definitely isn't the same quoted number for all car driving. It also includes obvious huge risk factors such as drunk driving, reckless behavior, stunting, and other stupid stunts which you can easily avoid.

Similarly with biking. The number is skewed because it likely includes very low risk, off road travel on designated paths.

The reason why hour to hour might be a decent comparison because the risk factor is being out there in traffic and not inherently related to distance. Two cyclists who travel the same distance, but one who goes at half the speed probably has close to twice the risk. Twice as many motorists will pass, twice as many distracted people on cell phones. Maybe a bit less than twice since you have the same number of higher risk encounters like intersections. Even as a pedestrian you have big risks which on a per mile basis, can even exceed those of cycling simply because you travel so much slower, yet time in the danger zone is higher.

This is why this whole argument is sort of stupid. As I posted above in 3 studies, there was a variance of 100 times in the concluded risk of biking compared to driving. Where else would shitty meaningless results like that be considered remotely acceptable?

That's why I think they best you can reasonably do is huge studies to identify the most general of trends such as the study runbikerun pointed out. If you're the kind of person who cycles a lot including to work, or everywhere else to the tune of 100 miles a week *except* to work because the only way is 50 miles on a 100 series highway then you can likely expect a positive effect on health.

However, if you group everyone who drives to work, my expectation is that 90%+ don't bike everywhere else.

Good heavens, you're not helpless in the face of contradictory studies. You can go read them and examine their methods and data and see who did a better job. You don't have to just give up.

I would like to just note the obvious, which is that pretty much all the people killed in either case are killed by cars. When you bike instead of driving, the chances that you'll kill somebody else drop drastically.

MrsWolfeRN

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Re: Medium Article on The Hidden Cost of Cars
« Reply #99 on: May 19, 2018, 12:02:50 PM »
Hey, guys, you're all missing the point. I think that the author was trying to say that living within biking distance of work, and not spread out in suburbs, will save both you and the government money whether you actually bike or not.