When I leave on my bike commute, I often hear “Be safe!” I assume they mean good luck and don’t get killed, and not “don’t ride like an a$$hole.” They assume cycling is more dangerous than driving or walking.
Is there data to prove this?
It’s hard to get. The Department of Transportation reports annual estimates of motor vehicle miles traveled but does not report annual estimates for nonmotorized travel.
|Fatality rate per
100 million person-trips
|Passenger vehicle occupants:||9.2|
The data shows that you’re twice as likely to die biking as you are driving. I think that is far less of a difference than most people would expect.
Taking the bus is 20 times safer than driving. I guess that would entitle me to say “Be safe” to drivers as I’m heading to the bus on a day that I don’t commute by bike.
As for the other kind of cyclists, motorcyclists, they may deserve the “be safe” goodbye.
Of course this data is only for fatalities and not for crashes. I assume that data is even harder to track. I think anyone would be guessing as to how the crash data would correlate.
- How safe is bike commuting? Perhaps less than you think. by Sadie Dingfelder in the Washington Post
- Motor Vehicle Crash Injury Rates by Mode of Travel, United States: Using Exposure-Based Methods to Quantify Differences (Am. J. Epidemiol. (2007) 166 (2): 212-218. doi: 10.1093/aje/kwm064; First published online: April 21, 2007), by Laurie F. Beck, Ann M. Dellinger, and Mary E. O’Neil