I couldn't agree more Rob, I too, have often thought about giving the whole cycling thing away, but as you say, there are plenty of other ways that you can meet your demise. The benefits I have gained from taking up cycling far outweigh the reasons not too.
All we can do is enjoy life, cherish those we love, and enjoy our hobbies (ie cycling). For the latter it is having that self awareness whilst out riding and riding within our own capabilities.
Rob, I also think it could have been someone I know or 'know' via AC posts.
I also felt awful about the international cyclist who was completing his ride around Australia, when he was killed nearing Adelaide by a heavy truck. My guess was that the truck did not leave enough room when overtaking. The cyclist may have been hit by the rear trailer, or sucked in by air turbulence. The driver was not charged. Some 'idiot' commented that the cyclist was not wearing a helmet. Would be good if a helmet gave a cyclist immunity from road trauma, but we know it does not.
Yeah, my wife was expressing concern to me the other day and as much as I shrugged it off I could not help but appreciate her position. However, I am not one for so called "hand-wringing" the "what ifs" - I'm careful but only made out of flesh, bone and bits. FFS, people get taken out in unexpected random events not so uncommonly and whilst cycling does put one more firmly in the cross hairs the health benefits to my longevity I think are worth it.
You see, cycling to me is my commonly done commute, I still drive but very often cycle. Work, the shops, into town whatever and that alone sees me doing upwards of 100km/week. I have integrated cycling as a means to my life style and not as "I'm going exercising now". Bit of personal philosophy there I guess.
Anyway, just today (whilst in the car) had an approaching car heading towards me across the centre line, lots of space so no great fear. The vehicle suddenly corrected - another mobile phone driver I thought.
I can't be perfectly aware of what's around me and it only takes one off task (driving) driver to make my family cry - or me with a not dead but shattered body :-(
So, no way I'm giving up cycling and as much as the "roadie" is slick sweet and fast the MtBike is chunky and 4WD - gutter, kerb, traffic island, bad surface, etc - no probs - the MtBike is a sturdy steed. A very nice & safe commute especially when exit centre stage left is life preserving.
BTW - got doored the other day grroaaan..
+ 1 on that buddy,
i have already used three of my nine lives and they werent due to cycling!!
One could stop cycling for safety reasons and still die early, perhaps even due to road trauma. There are fatalities from car-car collisions.
Robert, from your earlier posts on AC, I think you need the social aspects of cycling, as well as the physical. Cycling can make one feel happy by the release of feel-good chemicals.
I think tragedies like we have had this week have made a lot of us ask if the question whether riding a bike is worth the risk. Unfortunately there may be some who answer this yes, and I know people who have given up cycling because they think it too dangerous. Incidents like this along with my own near misses do make me think about the impact a serious accident could have on my family. While I think the benefits still out way the risk, I do avoid cycling in the wet as I have found this to be a significant risk factor, with most of times I have come off being in the wet. I also look closely to try and determine how these tragic accidents happened to see if there is any other action I as a cyclist could take to mitigate the risk of of it happening to me.
A 2005 for BISA, I looked at the risks of cycling, compared to risks in other areas of life.Some numbers.. the numbers are based on 1999, based on a truly enormous survey State Govt did on peoples travel habits, and havent repeated since. So they give the picture for 10 years ago. They're the best guide I can give for 2011, and I think might still be useful, to help think about this.
1. Cyclists killed on Adelaide roads annually - around 3-4 on average, though can vary from 1 some years to maybe 6 or . Compare that to the number of cyclists you see around you every day ... risk is actually pretty small.
2. We all need exercise, everyday life no longer provides enough to stay healthy. Compare cycling to other sports - all sports have risk of injury. For football, basketball, soccer, the risks of injury per hour, are 6-19 times those of cycling
3. Compare cycling to riding a motor bike - cycling is around same risk per km, of injury or crashing - about half the risk of death.
4. Some time ago Prof Harry Owen at Flinders Uni, who works as a medical specialist during the day - did a risk-benefit analysis, of health benefits of cycling versus risks. Cycling did have risks (crashes); but the health benefits vastly outweighed those. As usual, this is cause our environment creates a lot of health problems due to lack of exercise.
5. Trying to make sense of that, into what one cyclist might experience. How scary the road feels, may not be a good guide, to how dangerous the road actually is. Back of the envelope: a cyclist doing 6 hours a week might experiece - 2-3 near misses a week. That varies a lot from person to person, for some it was 0-1 and others, 20-30. What one person counts as a near miss, another might hardly even notice. Those incidents are frightening, sure. But that high rate of near misses, doesnt translate into a high rate of injury - e.g just because a car nearly missed you this week, doesn't mean it will injure you next week or the week after. My active cyclist might have not 1-2 injuries per week or month, but 1-3 incidents per 10 years,. Most of those incidents would be the type of thing, that required maybe a visit to the doctor, some first aid, maybe a visit to A&E , and would be painful - but that is all, and one would expect to recover and be back on the bike. They're unlikely to e.g need a fortnight in hospital, then months of rehab. (those are rarer still). In a lifetime of active cycling - my "active cyclist" is far more likely to die of other things, than of being knocked off his/her bike.
So for those wondering whether to give up the bike - up to you, but whatever you do instead, has its own risks. If you spend the same time walking to places - your risk of a car hitting you is lower, but the risk of being killed by a car, is about the same. If you give up the bike for footy, tennis, or sport - you can get injured, specially us middle age blokes. if you give it all up, lock the doors and stay home - you get health problems from lack of exercise.
I hope those numbers put some perspective on the risk. In talking about risk, numbers are needed, as plain English words aren't adequate. We have "could", "might", "probably will" - are often used, but not actually much use. "You could win $10 million tonight in Cross Lotto" . So when we have "could", used to mean "almost certainly will not, not this week or next week or ever" - you can perhaps see how difficult, it is to talk about risk accurately, in words not numbers. ... I suspect "you could die cycling" has about the same meaning.
I'm hoping to update the data maybe 2013 - depends whether Dept of Transport run another big travel survey - which they do only every 10-15 years.