Risk assymmetry

Discussion in 'UK and Europe' started by Tony Raven, Jul 23, 2005.

  1. Tony Raven

    Tony Raven Guest

    With all these bombings and checkings in I was just musing at our own
    risk assymmetry. We take offence at cycling being seen and portrayed as
    a uniquely dangerous activity and yet we are all worrying about the much
    lower risk of getting caught in a terrorist bombing. It was John Adams
    who pointed out that all the Londoners abandoning the Tube and buses in
    favour of cycling were putting themselves at much greater risk, albeit
    still a minutely tiny one. Yet many people, including some here I
    suspect, are genuinely scared and nervous of travelling on the Tube at
    the moment. Its a funny thing risk perception but perhaps as a result
    we should be more understanding of those that perceive cycling as dangerous.

    OK, OK, I'll shut up now ;-)

    --
    Tony

    "I did make a mistake once - I thought I'd made a mistake but I hadn't"
    Anon
     
    Tags:


  2. barry

    barry Guest

    Tony Raven wrote:
    > With all these bombings and checkings in I was just musing at our own
    > risk assymmetry. We take offence at cycling being seen and portrayed as
    > a uniquely dangerous activity and yet we are all worrying about the much
    > lower risk of getting caught in a terrorist bombing. It was John Adams
    > who pointed out that all the Londoners abandoning the Tube and buses in
    > favour of cycling were putting themselves at much greater risk, albeit
    > still a minutely tiny one. Yet many people, including some here I
    > suspect, are genuinely scared and nervous of travelling on the Tube at
    > the moment. Its a funny thing risk perception but perhaps as a result
    > we should be more understanding of those that perceive cycling as
    > dangerous.
    >
    > OK, OK, I'll shut up now ;-)
    >



    I think there's the issue that people like to be in control. You can't
    really control a bomb on a tube, but you can control how you cycle and
    how dangerous or safe it is.
     
  3. Mark McNeill

    Mark McNeill Guest

    Response to Tony Raven:
    > It was John Adams
    > who pointed out that all the Londoners abandoning the Tube and buses in
    > favour of cycling were putting themselves at much greater risk, albeit
    > still a minutely tiny one. Yet many people, including some here I
    > suspect, are genuinely scared and nervous of travelling on the Tube at
    > the moment.


    A couple of days after the first round of bombings I was at a barbecue
    with my GF's family: her father was going down to London for the day, and
    was told In No Uncertain Terms by his wife and daughters that he was not
    to travel by tube, or by bus: he had to take taxis everywhere. I found
    myself wondering [privately ;-)] what the relative risks per mile were;
    but held my peace.

    You've probably already seen John Adams' piece quoted at
    http://www.velorution.biz/?p=943

    , the full article appearing at

    http://the-commons.blogspot.com/


    --
    Mark, UK

    "The Internet was a better place when you had to TRY to get on it."
     
  4. Peter B

    Peter B Guest

    "barry" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]
    > Tony Raven wrote:
    > > With all these bombings and checkings in I was just musing at our own
    > > risk assymmetry. We take offence at cycling being seen and portrayed as
    > > a uniquely dangerous activity and yet we are all worrying about the much
    > > lower risk of getting caught in a terrorist bombing. It was John Adams
    > > who pointed out that all the Londoners abandoning the Tube and buses in
    > > favour of cycling were putting themselves at much greater risk, albeit
    > > still a minutely tiny one. Yet many people, including some here I
    > > suspect, are genuinely scared and nervous of travelling on the Tube at
    > > the moment. Its a funny thing risk perception but perhaps as a result
    > > we should be more understanding of those that perceive cycling as
    > > dangerous.
    > >
    > > OK, OK, I'll shut up now ;-)
    > >

    >
    >
    > I think there's the issue that people like to be in control. You can't
    > really control a bomb on a tube, but you can control how you cycle and
    > how dangerous or safe it is.


    If only that were so.
    I've been driving and cycling for many years and with the best will in the
    world and using defensive methods and finally using skilled avoidance
    procedures I still got struck by a motor vehicle in an otherwise benign
    setting. Short of not cycling at all I doubt I could have exercised more
    control.
    I'm not put off by the experience nor nervous from it but am more wary.

    OTOH when cycling off-road I can & do take risks that are my decision and
    have been hurt plenty of times, sometimes the thought of what could happen
    if I loose it is worrying but it's still my decision how close to that edge
    I ride.
    On public roads there is plenty going on that is out of my control.

    I do accept that until you've had an incident you may feel as if you have
    control. The same can be said for driving, you can regularly drive at high
    speed "in control" with minimum seperation but one day some twunt who loses
    control can re-arrange your perception of "being in control".


    --
    Pete
    http://uk.geocities.com/[email protected]/P
     
  5. Tony Raven

    Tony Raven Guest

    barry wrote:
    >
    >
    > I think there's the issue that people like to be in control. You can't
    > really control a bomb on a tube, but you can control how you cycle and
    > how dangerous or safe it is.


    You cannot control the actions of other road users as has been shown
    here many times. Australian Womens Cycling team is the most recent
    example. By cycling correctly you can reduce the risk but the
    remaining risk is totally in the control of other people.


    --
    Tony

    "I did make a mistake once - I thought I'd made a mistake but I hadn't"
    Anon
     
  6. Peter B

    Peter B Guest

    "Tony Raven" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]
    >It was John Adams
    > who pointed out that all the Londoners abandoning the Tube and buses in
    > favour of cycling were putting themselves at much greater risk, albeit
    > still a minutely tiny one.


    Are some cycling, though, to remain independent of PT that goes into
    disarray when there is an incident as much as perceived risk avoidance?
    --
    Pete
    http://uk.geocities.com/[email protected]/P
     
  7. On Sat, 23 Jul 2005 09:54:42 +0100, barry
    <[email protected]> wrote:


    > I think there's the issue that people like to be in control. You can't
    > really control a bomb on a tube, but you can control how you cycle and
    > how dangerous or safe it is.


    I think you've hit the nail on the head there.

    Striking a civilian target to cause fear and confusion is pretty much
    the defintion of terrorism[1], and regaining control is a natural response.


    [1] Think Hiroshima & Nagasaki, for example.

    --
    jc
     
  8. Tony Raven

    Tony Raven Guest

    Jeremy Collins wrote:
    > On Sat, 23 Jul 2005 09:54:42 +0100, barry
    > <[email protected]> wrote:
    >
    >
    >> I think there's the issue that people like to be in control. You
    >> can't really control a bomb on a tube, but you can control how you
    >> cycle and how dangerous or safe it is.

    >
    >
    > I think you've hit the nail on the head there.
    >
    > Striking a civilian target to cause fear and confusion is pretty much
    > the defintion of terrorism[1], and regaining control is a natural response.
    >


    Except you are not regaining control, just maybe a false perception of
    control. But in either case we come back to neither is uniquely dangerous.

    >
    > [1] Think Hiroshima & Nagasaki, for example.
    >


    If you knew your history you would know that those were chosen because
    of their military, not civilian, value.

    Truman wrote in his diary "This weapon is to be used against Japan
    between now and August 10th. I have told the Sec. of War, Mr. Stimson,
    to use it so that military objectives and soldiers and sailors are the
    target and not women and children. Even if the Japs are savages,
    ruthless, merciless and fanatic, we as the leader of the world for the
    common welfare cannot drop that terrible bomb on the old capital or the
    new."

    The targets were the shipyards in Nagasaki and Army in Hiroshima. The
    fact that the military targets were intertwined with civilians made
    civilians unavoidable but they were not the target.

    I have spent many sad hours on a number of occassions in the A-bomb
    museums of both cities and specifically took my children there last year
    to see and learn. These days they are just a 5 minute footnote in the
    history lessons and we are forgetting the awful power of such weapons
    which worries me.

    --
    Tony

    "I did make a mistake once - I thought I'd made a mistake but I hadn't"
    Anon
     
  9. > With all these bombings and checkings in I was just musing at our own
    > risk assymmetry. We take offence at cycling being seen and portrayed
    > as a uniquely dangerous activity and yet we are all worrying about the
    > much lower risk of getting caught in a terrorist bombing.


    I knowingly take a higher risk cycling everywhere rather than, say, taking
    the bus because:
    a) The risks of either are so small as to be irrelevent to me.
    b) Any risk in cycling is offset by it being fun. I'm more likely to
    indulge in 'risky' behaviour if it's fun, and less likely to tolerate an
    increase in risk if the activity is boring.

    I am slightly offended by the "we are all worrying about ... getting caught
    in a terrorist bombing." I'm not fussed in the slightest, and only brought
    the original threat up in case people got caught in PT foul ups. Heh,
    worrying how I was more concerned about delays to peoples' journeys rather
    than the end of peoples' lives. Does this mean I've a good appreciation of
    relative risk, or am I just a heartless bastard? :)
     
  10. Tony Raven

    Tony Raven Guest

    Mark Thompson wrote:

    >
    > Does this mean I've a good appreciation of
    > relative risk, or am I just a heartless bastard? :)
    >


    Hearless bastard definitely ;-)

    --
    Tony

    "I did make a mistake once - I thought I'd made a mistake but I hadn't"
    Anon
     
  11. elyob

    elyob Guest

    Tony Raven wrote:

    > With all these bombings and checkings in I was just musing at our own
    > risk assymmetry. We take offence at cycling being seen and portrayed as
    > a uniquely dangerous activity and yet we are all worrying about the much
    > lower risk of getting caught in a terrorist bombing. It was John Adams
    > who pointed out that all the Londoners abandoning the Tube and buses in
    > favour of cycling were putting themselves at much greater risk, albeit
    > still a minutely tiny one. Yet many people, including some here I
    > suspect, are genuinely scared and nervous of travelling on the Tube at
    > the moment. Its a funny thing risk perception but perhaps as a result
    > we should be more understanding of those that perceive cycling as
    > dangerous.
    >
    > OK, OK, I'll shut up now ;-)
    >


    My thread yesterday was tongue in cheek, or taking the p**s. My response the
    day before was more honest. I really don't feel that the odds of me getting
    caught up in it are that high. Otherwise I'm off out to buy a lottery
    ticket.
     
  12. PeteC

    PeteC Guest

    Mark McNeill wrote:
    > A couple of days after the first round of bombings I was at a barbecue
    > with my GF's family: her father was going down to London for the day,
    > and was told In No Uncertain Terms by his wife and daughters that he
    > was not to travel by tube, or by bus: he had to take taxis
    > everywhere. I found myself wondering [privately ;-)] what the
    > relative risks per mile were; but held my peace.


    On the (thankfully rare) occasions I have to go to London, I always take
    Taxis everywhere (or walk). If you can get the driver to shut up about
    politics, the weather, who he's had in the back etc, it's the only way to
    make the trip relatively tolerable.

    Pete.
     
  13. I submit that on or about Sat, 23 Jul 2005 09:45:42 +0100, the person
    known to the court as Tony Raven <[email protected]> made a
    statement (<[email protected]> in Your Honour's bundle) to
    the following effect:

    >With all these bombings and checkings in I was just musing at our own
    >risk assymmetry. We take offence at cycling being seen and portrayed as
    >a uniquely dangerous activity and yet we are all worrying about the much
    >lower risk of getting caught in a terrorist bombing.


    For some values of all. My (occasional) travel in London has not
    changed at all: I still take the Brompton Express from Paddingtown to
    St Mary Axe.


    Guy
    --
    http://www.chapmancentral.co.uk

    "To every complex problem there is a solution which is
    simple, neat and wrong" - HL Mencken
     
  14. Pete Biggs

    Pete Biggs Guest

    Tony Raven wrote:
    > With all these bombings and checkings in I was just musing at our own
    > risk assymmetry. We take offence at cycling being seen and portrayed
    > as
    > a uniquely dangerous activity and yet we are all worrying about the
    > much lower risk of getting caught in a terrorist bombing.


    We don't know what the risk is because these particular attackers and
    suicide bombing is something new for London. We don't know how much it
    will escalate and what else they might resort to.

    ~PB
     
  15. Tony Raven

    Tony Raven Guest

    Pete Biggs wrote:
    >
    > We don't know what the risk is because these particular attackers and
    > suicide bombing is something new for London. We don't know how much it
    > will escalate and what else they might resort to.
    >


    Well, if it gets as bad as Israel the risk will be about 20% of that of
    being killed in a road accident. You would need six 7/7's a year in
    London to match the risk of being killed on the roads in London. So it
    will have to escalate a long long way to get as bad as other everyday
    risks of living in London. YMMV

    --
    Tony

    "I did make a mistake once - I thought I'd made a mistake but I hadn't"
    Anon
     
  16. Peter B

    Peter B Guest

    "Tony Raven" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]
    > Pete Biggs wrote:
    > >
    > > We don't know what the risk is because these particular attackers and
    > > suicide bombing is something new for London. We don't know how much it
    > > will escalate and what else they might resort to.
    > >

    >
    > Well, if it gets as bad as Israel the risk will be about 20% of that of
    > being killed in a road accident. You would need six 7/7's a year in
    > London to match the risk of being killed on the roads in London. So it
    > will have to escalate a long long way to get as bad as other everyday
    > risks of living in London. YMMV


    Which would still leave it a darn sight safer than driving in Portugal,
    amongst other places, yet it doesn't seem to overconcern British tourists
    whom I expect consider it a very safe destination.
    --
    Pete
    http://uk.geocities.com/[email protected]/P
     
  17. "Peter B" <[email protected]> writes:

    > Are some cycling, though, to remain independent of PT that goes into
    > disarray when there is an incident as much as perceived risk avoidance?


    I'm commuting on skates to remain independent of PT that goes into
    disarray. The other day, feeling lazy, I decided to take the bus
    instead: it took five minutes to cover three hundred yards, after
    which time I got off and skated the rest of the way, reaching the
    office before it was even /timetabled/ to arrive.

    I doubt there are enough inline skaters on the roads for any
    meaningful statistics on its safety to be available, but I imagine it
    involves roughly similar risks to cycling. It may be more dangerous
    outside London where nobody else is doing it and so road users are
    completely not expecting it.


    -dan
     
  18. On 2005-07-23 11:16 +0000, Tony Raven wrote:
    > Jeremy Collins wrote:
    >>
    >> Striking a civilian target to cause fear and confusion is pretty much
    >> the defintion of terrorism[1], and regaining control is a natural response.

    >
    > Except you are not regaining control, just maybe a false perception of
    > control. But in either case we come back to neither is uniquely dangerous.


    I don't think that the perception of control is false. On a bike you can
    quite easily set your own position along the curve of perceived risk to
    perceived payoff through, well, your own actions. On a tube train or a
    bus, you can't do that at all, and any extra perceived loss of safety is
    going to be uncomfortable without that extra degree of freedom.

    Whether any the increased sense of safety is justifiable though is
    another matter.

    BTW: at this point I realise I'm probably using the wrong terms left
    right and centre, and that I need to read that John Adams book. Anyone's
    local library have a copy so that I can arrange an ILL?

    --
    Andrew Chadwick
     
  19. Pete Biggs

    Pete Biggs Guest

    Tony Raven wrote:
    > Pete Biggs wrote:
    >>
    >> We don't know what the risk is because these particular attackers and
    >> suicide bombing is something new for London. We don't know how much
    >> it will escalate and what else they might resort to.
    >>

    >
    > Well, if it gets as bad as Israel the risk will be about 20% of that
    > of being killed in a road accident. You would need six 7/7's a year
    > in London to match the risk of being killed on the roads in London.
    > So it will have to escalate a long long way to get as bad as other
    > everyday risks of living in London. YMMV


    A handful of cyclists die on London's roads. Chemical weapons could kill
    thousands. I have a feeling it won't come to that but who knows? No one
    does. I think the public's fear can be excused at least until the
    situation settles down and we have a better idea of what is going on.

    ~PB
     
  20. Andrew Chadwick wrote:
    > On 2005-07-23 11:16 +0000, Tony Raven wrote:
    > > Jeremy Collins wrote:
    > >>
    > >> Striking a civilian target to cause fear and confusion is pretty much
    > >> the defintion of terrorism[1], and regaining control is a natural response.

    > >
    > > Except you are not regaining control, just maybe a false perception of
    > > control. But in either case we come back to neither is uniquely dangerous.

    >


    > BTW: at this point I realise I'm probably using the wrong terms left
    > right and centre, and that I need to read that John Adams book. Anyone's
    > local library have a copy so that I can arrange an ILL?
    >


    Try UK Public Libraries on the Web:-
    http://dspace.dial.pipex.com/town/square/ac940/weblibs.html

    Try COPAC for academic libraries stock. They lend to public libraries,
    often (more fool they):-
    http://copac.ac.uk/wzgw?f=f&form=A/T&id=3082153
     
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