Whole Lotta Crashin’ Going On

LTRs can skip this one.

OK, here we go again.

One thing that keeps coming up over and over and over again is “taking the lane” or Savvy Cycling or whatever name they are calling it tis week is safer than cycling infrastructure.

We get lots and lots of studies and graphs and so on.

However, what we don’t get is a good study.

Here’s an example of how to conduct a good study:

http://www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/resource-library/test-learn-adapt-developing-public-policy-randomised-controlled-trials

Now this is a Five Minute Google BlogTM, not a well research one.

So we’ll just skim through this.

The way to tell if VC is safer than a bicycle lane is to get half the population WHO ALL READY WANTS TO RIDE VC to ride on the bike lane and the other half to ride VC. Then we need to get half the population who NEVER WANTS TO RIDE VC to actually ride VC and the other half to ride in their bike lane.

The lanes have to be on comparable streets.

Note that this experiment is impossible.

All the studies on bike safety are based upon incomplete data.

SOME WHO SAYS, I RIDE 100 MILES A DAY FOR THE PAST 300 YEARS WITH NARY A CLOSE CALL IS TOTALLY STATISTICALLY INSIGNIFICANT.

That’s right, we just don’t have a big enough N to say anything with such scanty data.

There are 196,165,666 motorists in the US (http://www.statemaster.com/graph/trn_lic_dri_tot_num-transportation-licensed-drivers-total-number)

If each person drove for 2 hours a day there would be about 400 million hours of exposure a day. Multiply this by 365 and you get a really huge number.

But there are about 5.5 million collisions in the US per year. Which makes the chance per motorist per year to be about 1/40.

That’s all collisions combined.

That’s pretty huge. Not too risky due to safer cars.

However, there are still half a million serious brain injuries a year in motoring. (http://www.cdc.gov/Features/dsTBI_BrainInjury/)

So motoring, while seen as safe, if pretty rough as a whole.

There are 2.5 rear endings a year in motoring. IMAGINE 2.5 MILLION PEOPLE GETTING REAR ENDED ON THEIR BICYCLES ARE THEY LESS OR MORE LIKELY TO BE SERIOUSLY HURT?

This is the crux of the debate.

We have no good data, but we have circumstantial evidence that getting hit by a car is likely to hurt or kill you.

There is ZERO EVIDENCE THAT SAYS VC IS SAFE, MOST PRO-VC EVIDENCE IS ACTUALLY ANTI-INFRASTRUCTURE CHERRY PICKING.

Again, we have no studies to prove things one way or another so I suggest that we forget real safety until we have more evidence to worry about it.

Riding on the road is obviously not safe, but we can’t perform a super duper rigorous study to prove it. There are a lot of things in life that are unsafe, and we can’t prove all of them, but we don’t do them anyway. How many double blind jumping off high buildings studies do we need to prove it’s not recommended?

The point is that there is zero evidence that prove that well designed, connected, tested, and coherent infrastructure poses a public safety risk and those who say this are lying through their teeth.

Let’s collect better data, but let’s not lie and say things that we can’t prove.

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