I’m actually just responding to Ted’s post which was spot on as usual. Thanks for writing my blog for me, Ted.
LTR’s can once again ignore this as it’s more of a repeat if you didn’t guess from the title.
“While the overall traffic fatalities showed a nearly 2% decline, bicycle deaths shot up 8.7%, to 677 throughout the U.S.”
As an article that Ted linked to said, it’s actually impossible to determine whether this is a result of “safety in numbers” as we have no denominatory. Safety in numbers basically says that the number of cycling accidents remains relatively stable as the number of cyclists increase which is a statistical truth, but also a head scratcher.
We’d expect accidents to go up as cyclists to go up. In this case they did, but did accidents really rise with the increase in cycling? Since the deaths last year were between 600 and 700 for all of US, a 8.7% increase is really small because we are talking about less than 130 deaths spread out across 50 states. That’s like 2 more deaths per state. That doesn’t sound like a lot at all. I had written, previously about my bad apples theory to explain safety in numbers. Additionally, I had explained that small increases like the one above can be explained by things such as regression to the mean.
Overally, I see this “increase” as a statistical blip. I usually round to the nearest 100 in these cases which means that like last year, the number of deaths is still between 600 and 700 for the whole country.
I don’t know if cycling did increase nation wide or not. As the article that Ted linked to, nobody know. That’s because the comical NHTSA doesn’t care.
From the article:
“No statistics are presented on the fatality rate per bicycle mile traveled. Why? I believe that it is because NHTSA is too lazy or too disinterested to compile information on bicycle miles traveled. Though pedestrian miles traveled would be difficult to compile, at least a rate could be developed per pedestrian trip, which would be a more accurate measure of the rate of fatalities. Again, the NHTSA can’t be bothered. I am certainly not the first to point out that pedestrian and bicyclist fatality counts are a mis-measure of safety, yet the federal, state, and local governments continue to ignore the issue.”
I’d like to beat more on the “doesn’t care” dead horse a little bit later. I would like to say that besides telling you to “wear a helmet”, the NHTSA doesn’t really do ANYTHING to make the streets safer at all for cycling. Not a single thing. Thus, I don’t even think that they should weigh in on any aspect of safety seeing as their only data to back up their insulting safety advice is a study that’s been long, long discredited, and they are deaf and dumb to spending any money on cycling safety.
In fact, the main purpose of the NHTSA is to recommend better air bags which means that due to the notion of “safetey compensation” this will make the roads MORE deadly for cyclists because people tend to push the limits of safety. Thanks NHTSA.
Here’s some examples from wikipedia how utterly useless they are:
“NHTSA has issued few regulations in the past 25 years. Most of the reduction in vehicle fatality rates during the last third of the 20th century were gained from the initial NHTSA safety standards during 1968–1984 and subsequent voluntary changes in vehicle crashworthiness by vehicle manufacturers…
“…Despite the evolution of the North American auto market to include most of the world’s major automakers, and the ongoing proliferation of U.S. safety regulations, the previously-existing market oligopoly still exerts strong influence: American vehicle equipment and construction regulations are based almost entirely on Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) standards, which were written almost entirely by U.S. automakers.
“In a 2004 book by former General Motors safety researcher Leonard Evans, government data (FARS for the U.S.) showed other countries achieving safety performance improvements over time greater than those achieved by the United States.”
Seriously, should dismantle this organization which seems like it just increases the barrier to entry to foreign auto makers which keeps us stuck on the treadmill of depending on the auto industry to keep too many of our citizens busy doing work which ultimately increases heart disease, obesity, sudden death, and a silly, nonsensical sense of entitlement due to the irresponible and childish use of debt.
Thanks, NHTSA, a total joke organization.
Anyway, I knew that they sucked when I noticed that they had TSA in their name. :)