THE NUMBERS GUY OCTOBER 1, 2011
A Different Spin on the Dangers of Urban Cycling
Two recent studies appear to expose cyclists as a potent urban menace.
Bicycle riders pose a danger to themselves and to pedestrians, according to the studies. Bicycle commuters have 2.3 times the black carbon, or soot, in their lungs as do noncyclists, according to a U.K. study whose results were applied to cities world-wide. And each year in New York state alone cyclists cause about 1,000 injuries to pedestrians that require a hospital visit, 55% of those in New York City.
These widely reported numbers look very different when put in context. The carbon figure was based on only a handful of cyclists in London. And the injury figure appears less troubling when cast alongside trends in New York City cycling: The number of cyclists has nearly doubled since 2007, even as pedestrian injuries have fallen slightly.
Neither study has been published in a peer-reviewed journal and each was preliminary. Yet each one was cited in media coverage that depicted the results in ways the authors didn’t intend.
Read the full story here: The Wall Street Journal
- Contextualizing Cycling Stats (blogs.wsj.com)
- City Room: A Noncollegial Debate About Bicycles (cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com)
- ‘The plague of the pavement’ (jimsbikeblog.wordpress.com)
- Study: 1,000 Peds Injured Annually By Cyclists Statewide; Number Is Dropping (streetsblog.org)
- Local Data Confirm: NYC Bike-on-Ped Injuries Declined as Cycling Rates Rose (streetsblog.org)
- Cyclists at fault in about 66% of collisions – Your reaction? (waterloobikes.ca)
- City cyclists are at increased risk from lung injury from inhaled soot (eurekalert.org)
- Britain in a spin at two-wheel industry worth £3bn a year (independent.co.uk)
- What’s Causing the Drop in Bike-on-Ped Injuries? (streetsblog.org)