Dangers of (Not) Cycling

People are often good at determining lesser dangers, but they are not always experts at the larger dangers.

One example is cycling. People are pretty astute to realize that getting hit by a car is dangerous.

However, do they realize that not cycling, itself has dangers?

Aside for the real, but rare and silly dangers of getting hit by a car while sitting in one’s house, there are other dangers of not cycling. The main one is heart disease and diabetes which are some of the biggest killers in the US.

Just sitting around, letting yourself atrophy, you are running a greater risk to your life than any out of control Hummer.

This is why I feel that it’s not accurate to compare bicycle collision rates with automobile rates. The risk of sedentary diseases also need to be considered.

Yes, you can drive to the gym, but is that “efficient” and “time effective” which are two things that the auto lifestyles was supposed to bring it. Or is it more efficient to excercise and get places?

Finally, if you look at the statistics, riding a bicycle is not far more dangerous than driving an automobile anyway. In many cases, a bicycle is safer.

Here are your ways of getting hurt on a bicycle:

1. Getting hit by a car (often fatal).

2. Falling off/collision (often just painful enough to teach you not to do that again).

Ways of getting hurt by a car:

1. Getting hit by a car (often fatal). Contrary to popular belief, getting hit by a car while in a car can be just as dangerous. Why? When you aren’t in a car, you don’t have the risk of getting crushed inside the car. If you don’t think this is common, why do you think that they invented the “Jaws of Life”?

2. Hitting something (often fatal).

3. Rolling (often fatal).

If you still haven’t grasped things, look at it this way. Bicycling, in and of itself, is a pretty harmless activity. “Bikes are harmless.”

If there were no cars or bicycles on the road, many people would still manage to kill themselves (see #2 and #3) above.

How many people died by getting hit by a bicycle. Yet how much outrage there is when a measly 4% of the population take to the pedals. At worst, bicycles should have 4% of the negativity and angers. Or less. They seldom kill people.

Finally, it should be noted that bike salmon and other crazy cyclists actually make the road safer for motorists by waking them up. That is when they are not getting stuck on the truck’s grills. 🙂


One Response to “Dangers of (Not) Cycling”

  1. Njord Noatun Says:

    Great post!

    Research has shown that the health benefits of riding a bicycle outweigh the risks by 20:1. With those kinds of odds, I am happy to take a calculated risk and go riding!

    Getting more people onto their bikes is productive, focusing on the risks is not. In fact, bike risk discussions are more likely to scare people off their bikes and into their “oh so safe” cars, if anything: Note how car commercials and ads never mentions the “risks” of driving a car – yet, many bicyclists seem obsessed with it.

    For the wider implications of the term “bike safety”, there is a great pro and con analysis on Wikipedia under the “Bicycle Helmet” entry (notably points 2 and 3).


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