Are You An Order Of Magnitude More Likely To Be Killed Riding A Bicycle Than Driving A Car?
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Earlier by James Fulford: Bicycles And Crime In The Cities

But what about bicycles? They are much advocated by The Establishment, so it would seem incumbent upon The Establishment to publicize data about the relative risk, but that seems a lower priority relative to bicycles advantages in fighting climate change (and obesity).

A report from the National Transportation Safety Board suggests bicycles are about an order of magnitude more dangerous than cars per mile, about 40% as dangerous as motorcycles, which sounds about right. It’s easier to get yourself killed on a motorcycle because it’s hard work to go really fast on a bicycle. On the other hand, you’re about equally vulnerable to getting killed by a car when on a motorcycle or a bicycle.

If we revamped our entire infrastructure to be bicycle friendly at a cost of trillions, we could, perhaps, get down to Northwestern European standards, where bicycles are only a few times deadlier than cars. But still, look at Belgium, Austria, France and UK. They are half as deadly to cyclists as the US. And Italy is even worse than we are.

The problem with cycling is that you are at the mercy of drivers, and drivers have gotten much worse since 2019, and even worse than that since 2010 during the Great Recession, when people couldn’t afford to drive much:

But now car owners are driving like maniacs, so I wouldn’t want to share a surface street with them. Cyclist deaths apparently were up to 932 in 2020 from 857 in 2018, but who knows if this is an apples to apples comparison?

Dedicated bike paths are superb, but they are hard to retrofit. For example, in the San Fernando Valley two decades ago, a disused railroad line was up for conversion to another use. It was hoped that it was wide enough to be both a busline and a bikelane, but it wound up only having enough room for buses. It’s hard to argue with the ultimate choice of buses over bikes.

It would be absolutely terrific if there were room left over in the Valley to install a bike path with a dedicated right-of-way, but there isn’t. The best they’ve come up with is installing bike paths along the (slightly smelly) Los Angeles River. But they can't afford to dig tunnels under major cross-streets, so every 0.4 miles or so, you have to come up and get yourself across Laurel Canyon Blvd. or Van Nuys Blvd. or whatever.

There are a lot of wonderful things about cycling, but it’s basically 1970s-level safety in a world with 2020s-level demands. But for various reasons it’s in fashion with the normally safety-crazed elite, so the dangers get glossed over.

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