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Published on December 21st, 2012 | by Cynthia Shahan


Cycling Proves To Be Safer For Young Adults Than Driving

December 21st, 2012 by  

Some thorough studies done recently dispel the myth of there being more danger on bikes in comparison to cars — at least for young males in the UK, Netherlands, etc.

Thank you to our English friends and researchers who studied the stats and found that young male bikers in the UK, 17-20, are safer on their bikes than in cars. These young cyclists are reportedly safer than young male drivers who face 5 times greater risk per hour of transport than cyclists their age.

Young LA Biker

The researchers looked at hospital admissions and deaths in England between 2007 and 2009 for pedestrians, cyclists, and drivers. These were studied by age group and sex. The research is published in the journal PLOS ONE. On average, studying other age groups, men aged 21–49 and women of all ages were more equivalent. There were similar numbers whether one was driving, walking, or biking. However, for young males, the strong difference was very real — bikes are apparently safer.

The Many Measures of Public Health

Bike Lover @ gostenhof

Dr. Jennifer Mindell (UCL Epidemiology & Public Health) continues to point out, “Perceived road danger is a strong disincentive to cycling and many potential cyclists do not ride on the road due to safety concerns. But research regarding the safety of cycling tends to be distorted by a number of errors which are found repeatedly in published papers and policy documents, with many substantially overstating cycling injuries and under-reporting pedestrian injuries.” Those most at risk when travelling were men aged between 17 and 20 for driving, males aged over 70 for cycling, and females aged over 70 for walking. In general, fatality rates were substantially higher among males than females.

Of course, there are other measures of public health and safety, as well, such as harm from air pollution (largely caused by automobiles).

Good Sense, Conscientious Choices in Day to Day Life

The environmental concerns that we all have are critically perceived by the youth. The young care deeply about their day-to-day choices in a way that we baby boomers did grapple with so acutely at the same ages. This legacy of depletion in resources and diversity, toxicity in water–food systems, and the sheer blind outcomes of the industrial material age is theirs. They care to address these issues in way of life, business, and any way possible — they know their choices will make the difference in restoration of balance.

Bike Light Giveaway Fall 2010

This mindfulness is a vital challenge that they are meeting well in smaller and larger measures. Biking and bike paths, along with community solar power and community gardening are some of the small/large ways they are creating change and meeting the challenge.

It is nice to know these choices can be as safe as conventional options, sometimes safer, and that we continue to make them safer. What they and we must do will influence what is left for their children. The young are rising to the challenge with pragmatic action to offset the short-sighted ideals that left out concerns for future generations. It is nice to know that on their bikes, certainly in the UK and other European countries, the young are also safer biking – not simply conscientious.

Find Health and Well-Being Cycling 

Joyful Biker

Mindell continues to point out: “An individual who cycles one hour a day for 40 years would cover about 180,000 km, whilst accumulating only a one in 150 chance of fatal injury. This is lower than for pedestrians who face a higher fatality rate per kilometer traveled,” she added. “The health benefits of cycling are much greater than the fatality risk.” Active travel — defined as walking or cycling — is estimated to save £17 billion in healthcare costs alone, according to a recent Lancet paper.

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About the Author

Cynthia Shahan started writing by doing research as a social cultural and sometimes medical anthropology thinker. She studied and practiced both Waldorf education, and Montessori education. Eventually becoming an organic farmer, licensed AP, and mother of four unconditionally loving spirits, teachers, and environmentally conscious beings born with spiritual insights and ethics beyond this world. (She was able to advance more in this way led by her children.)

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