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Risk and cycling - Cyclelicious

Risk and cycling

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Sunday, November 26, 2006
By Yokota Fritz

Cyclelicious exists to promote cycling as a safe activity and means of transportation. Other cycling bloggers, such as Cycle Dog, Cycling Dude and Velorution, also work actively to remind cyclists that what we do is not dangerous.

The conventional wisdom many bicycle advocacy websites tell us that bicycling is a dangerous activity, while the truth is that the risk of serious injury or death while cycling is somewhere between driving and walking.

This TIME cover story on perceived versus real risk discusses our reaction to real and perceived dangers, and the strange, unreasonable reactions we often have to small risks.

Please don't misundertand me: there are certainly risks in cycling and any other activity, and there are choices we make while cycling to increase or decrease the risk of a collision. Some of the choices might be reasonable because they provide great benefit at little cost; some choices are less reasonable; and then there's the huge middle ground of trade-offs and compromises. It's this big middle ground that experience and effective cycling education help tremendously to provide the tools cyclists need to make the best decisions.


Tags: risk, danger

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I've pointed out before that most people can't be bothered by statistics that are contrary to their closely-held belief that riding a bicycle in traffic is extremely dangerous. But when a supposed bicycling advocacy group touts the 'extreme danger' that cyclists face on the road, I get genuinely angry. They hype the danger in order to get some facility built. Isn't it time we demanded accountability from our government and those groups who claim to represent us? Businesses do cost/benefit analysis. We should demand no less of our state, local, and federal governments as well as LAB, Bikes Belong, Thunderhead Alliance, and the local advocacy groups and clubs.
I find it interesting that in that whole, lengthy, TIME article there was only one sentence that came close to the true cause of "Why We Worry About The Things We Shouldn't..." They wrote "They're much more likely to come to us in the form of rumors or news broadcasts..."

That was the only mention of the media that I saw in the article; and yet isn't it the media who have convinced us that we're doomed due to:
Acid Rain
Killer Bees
Shark Attacks
Mad Cow Disease
Bird Flu
etc. ?

The list goes on and on.

The media is always going to cover the sensational because they want people's attention. How many stories or articles about bike commuting start with "Hundreds of thousands of bike commuters made it to their destination without incident today" ? So, Time, in my mind the answer to the question about why we worry about this stuff is pretty simple: You.
Yep. Santa's also giving the cause EVERYTHING he's got. Ya CAN'T possibly lose when Santa rolls.

Especially, when blasting NORTH bound Memorial Drive, with a stiff south wind, AND playing the guitar, while blowing through the greens, with all manner of heavy metal, whizzing by, inches away!

Cue up Top Gun soundtrack!

Santa is also stalking the so-called BikerFox. He's actually BikerChicken. Standard-issue VC WEENIE.

Cue up MI3 soundtrack, people!
Of course, EVERYBODY is getting U-tubed! MI3 at 15fps.
Warren, the news media plays an important role in maintaining our republic as the Fourth Estate, but you're absolutely right that media plays a big part is shaping our perception of the world. When unexpected violence strikes Smalltown, that news is flashed instantly across the nation and world because of its sensationalist value, not because the news is actually valuable for shaping policy.
Actually, cycling is VERY dangerous. But, then again, so is eating FISH, getting up in the morning, and brushing teeth.

As for the so-called bike advocacy groups calling for facilities, I say we just let them rant. In practice, getting bike facilities built is like banning cars off the roadway for dedicated bike access. Except in isolated cases where the perps have REAL political pull, it AIN'T gonna happen.

Warren, suppose you quit reading TIME? I've switched off MSM, unless I need to veg out, sit on the THRONE, or line the bird cage.

The risks are, of course, manageable, unless, of course, you have the ever-so-present, AND intrepid, Tulsa Police Santa Task Force on your case.

Santa was tear-assin' all over Tulsa Metro on Friday, International Buy Nothing Day. We probably counted something like 7 cruisers on the case, trying to lay sumthin' on the Fat Man. Man, dispatch switchboard musta been lit up like X-Mas lights.

EVERYBODY, motorists, dispatch, radio DJ's, cops, got a quickie VC seminar that day. Never underestimate of the power of one man, one bike, and a whole lotta hot TAMALES!
"facilities"... hmmm, dangerous word!

"We provide facilities for cyclists" translated from Dublin civil-servant language actually means something like:

"We paid a corrupt bureaucrat to rubber stamp a bad design from an incompetent engineer, and then hired some over-priced contractors from our friends construction company to paint some lines along the pavement, up and down kerbs, past busy bus shelters, and across busy junctions. Then we fine cyclists who don't use these facilities".

If you want details you can see my rants here:


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