How safe is biking with all that traffic?



LaTomate

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May 26, 2007
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It is important to note, as well, that statistics for the UK do not apply to Montreal.

Additionally, it is possible that more of those car deaths were experienced on highways/carriageways whereas there were more bike deaths on main arterial but non-highway roads.

Lastly, statistics can not really be extrapolated on an individual basis.



I don't think it's easy to say whether it's safer to drive or to walk or to cycle, and I happen to think it's kind of useless attempting it because if you're not informing yourself on how to make yourself safe whilst doing any of them, you will be unsafe no matter what the overall statistics say.

Wear bright clothing, lights at night and at dusk, if your gut tells you that the drivers are being too agressive get off your bike and walk it on the sidewalk for a few blocks before you start riding again. Don't be a pushover (literally) and stay a safe distance from the parked cars which requires taking to (at least the rightmost part of) the lane. You will be fine, as long as you respect the fact that the machines around you are deadly if not handled in the right way. Just think of this time as the horror story part of shop class: the time when the teacher gets you sufficiently scared of the band-saw so that you don't try anything stupid.
 

Don Shipp

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May 20, 2005
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It is not possible to do a direct comparison for many reasons, but these figures do indicate that cycling just isn't as dangerous as is commonly thought, at least in Britain, and I'd imagine that Canada would be similar.

If you obey the law, ride carefully and apply common sense you'll have fewer accidents than someone who doesn't. Knowing how to behave on the road when driving also helps here.
And don't attempt to pass lorries (trucks) when they're turning.
 

Raleighroader

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May 25, 2007
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I don't know if the proper measurement is fatalities per mile or fatalities per hour of exposure. This is a common debate when comparing auto fatalities to airline fatalities to cycling fatalities. Per-hour favors cyclists more than per-mile does.

Even if it is measured per mile, when I read about killed cyclists in my area, at least two-thirds of the time the cyclist was doing something that I wouldn't do, such as riding at night without lights, riding on a very busy street, etc.

Many cyclists who have 50,000 miles under their belts, and are still alive to tell about it.

Personally, I think cycling is more dangerous than driving because of your lack of protection as a rider. However, getting fat and out of shape is also dangerous.
 

mikesbytes

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Apr 12, 2006
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In New South Wales (NSW), Australia, for every 3 people killed in cars, there is an additional pedrestrian killed.
 

thepeddler

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Apr 22, 2007
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Interesting, as I was driving to work this morning I noticed a couple of guys on bike. They had nice road bikes. They where wearing all the nice expensive clothing and they looked like seasoned riders.

The only problem was that all the colours, bikes and outfits, where dark and blended into the road. The light at that time of the morning wasn't that great and combined with the dull colours made them difficult to see. Also they had no lights of any kind to make them stand out.

I don't no if it is considered "uncool" by some people to have bright colours or flashing lights on bikes but to me it makes sense to protect your ass (literally).
 

Don Shipp

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May 20, 2005
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Yellow stands out best in most light conditions. Yellow is not uncool, it's the colour of winning!
 

eagles724

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Sep 13, 2006
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I think the key thing is to make yourself be seen while on the road. Bright colors, riding in a visible and consistant manner, wearing reflectors, using light generating devices (I even have a LED that is for daylight and night time riding). I once saw a startling stat about how being "unseen by a motorist" is by far the #1 cause of a collision.

I commute in the Philadelphia suburbs at 6am on the way in. I notice the same people passing me at certain points so my hope is that they expect to see me as well. Overall, the drivers are pretty respectful..(knock on wood).
 

Don Shipp

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May 20, 2005
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I can't think why children wouldn't be included.
They are, of course, figures for Britain but I would think that generally speaking they'd be comparable to any civilized country.
 

pistole

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May 11, 2007
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- have notice a few things.

- if you normally use a car as your main means of transport , and then transition onto a bicycle , you tend to be a safer rider as you can appreciate the way a car-driver sees things.

- you really really need to be very alert when you're on a bike. Not seeing a pothole or a well placed rock or a reflector , can send you onto the road and that can really kill you in traffic.

- bright clothing helps. Blinkers in poor light helps even more.

- fatique on a bike can be dangerous as (1) you lose your alertness and (2) you don't have the power to get out of certain situations.

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