What the ‘Experts’ Say

I try to keep tabs with what goes on in the world, and more specifically, what bike commuters are doing around the world. There are days when I get really depressed – such as when a U.S. Congressman claims the bike as a “19th century solution to a 21st century problem…”- a story I am sure most of you have heard by now. But there are also lots of good news stories to be shared from legit, valuable sources.

Yesterday, the Freakonomics blog (a worthy read) posted a piece called “Will Bicycling to Work Get You Killed?” which acknowledges the growing popularity of bike commuting, and my favorite part, states “…the risks associated with cycling decrease dramatically when more cyclists are on the road, and especially when those cyclists obey traffic laws.” A message I feel is very important.

The crux of the piece on Freakonomics: based on a legit research project, per kilometer, cyclists are 12x more likely to be involved in a fatal accident than automobile drivers. BUT, pedestrians are 23x more likely to be involved in a fatal accident than automobile drivers. So the next time someone asks why you bike to work, you can say, “it’s much safer than walking.” There are other numbers that point to the benefits of cycling – but at this point I know I am preaching to the choir.

Another recent post on Grist.org, used the same study and drew many of the same conclusions:

  • biking is safer than it used to be
  • biking is safer than you might think
  • biking’s health benefits massively outweigh it’s risks
  • biking is not as safe as it should be
  • making biking safer is a chance for healthy, lasting prosperity.

So hopefully these good stories – complete with statistics – will aid you in feeling more at ease in the saddle. Stats don’t mean a thing when you personally experience unsafe riding conditions – so be safe, be alert, but more importantly, be proud and be happy that you get to ride your bike to work!