Bicycle is vastly, hugely, mindbogglingly safe…

Qualcomm Parking Lot and Trolley Line

Space is huge when there's no game...

 

“Space is big. Really big. You just won’t believe how vastly, hugely, mindbogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it’s a long way down the road to the chemist’s, but that’s just peanuts to space…” –Douglas Adams

http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/The_Hitchhiker%27s_Guide_to_the_Galaxy

This quote if an inspiration on my feeling for Bicycle safety:

“Bicycling is safe. Really safe. You just won’t believe how vastly, hugely, mindbogglingly safe it is. I mean, you may think a short walk down the road is safe, but that’s just peanuts to bicycling…”

Thus, I don’t feel that cycling safety is the problem, but rather amnesia is. How are these disparate topics related? See if you can see if you can recall this strange juxtaposition.*

The fact that cycling is so absurdly safe should be obvious and banal, but the thing that makes it a topic of interest is the level of hysteria people have around my routine commute. My princess has it even worse–not the commute, but the people who’s words have zero relationship to our experience and the danger we are in.

In the past, I have felt gagged on this issue because many of my best friends are motorists, and I didn’t want them to think that I think that I am superior to them in any way.

I mean, I _am_ superior to most people, but cycling alone isn’t what makes me superior. I despise the amount of smugness associated with bicycling especially the vile political aspect of it such as the obnoxious signs like, “20 Iraqi lives and 2 American soldiers saved by me riding this bicycle.”

No offense to the rest of the world, but when I’m cycling, I’m mostly either meditating or focusing on mind reading the motorists around me so I don’t have a lot of thoughts for anything else. But I do know that if someone comes off that smug about cycling, I don’t want to have a beer with them.

Anyway, back to the safety of cycling. Why do people think it’s so dangerous?

I think that it’s like Philip Dick said, we are all in differing pockets of reality:

“Maybe each human being lives in a unique world, a private world different from those inhabited and experienced by all other humans. . . .” –Philip Dick

Here’s an article on this point of view:

http://steelweaver.tumblr.com/post/8175553314/reality-as-failed-state-tl-dr-version-i-like-doing

“I believe part of the meta-problem is this: people no longer inhabit a single reality.”–steelweaver

Thus, for many people, getting on a bicycle is totally insane. In fact, it’s surprising that any bicycle commuter survives.

This is totally false according to any objective measurement of safety:

http://www.ite.org/crashes/categories.htm

As of this date, the number of cyclists who died was 450 and the number who died as Occupants of motor vehicles is 15,583.

Now, I have nothing against driving in a car, but we need to be consistant in our views.

If it is totally insane, and possibly immoral to our loved ones to risk oneself on a bicycle, if it turns out that cycling is safe and motoring is dangerous should we not cross apply all this hysteria to motoring?

The funny thing is that I have never seen this done.

Whenever I get harassed about how dangerous cycling is, and I snap and prove to the bully that actually their preferred mode is super-risky and mine is super-safe in comparison, the person walks away.

I believe that these people are like robots and that there is a little mechanism in their minds that resets. Everything that I have told them gets erased, and next time you hear the same nonsense from them about bicycle safety.

Thus, as you recall, the real answer to this whole conversation is amnesia.

* For those not in the know, the term _juxtaposition_ refers to the notion of taking two things that are UNRELATED and putting them next to one another. So please no comments which say, “Bicycling and amnesia aren’t related! This post is so stupid and a total waste of time!” 🙂

Waste Water Robot on Bike Path

Speaking of Adams, here's a robot thingie on bicycle path...

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