[*BCM*] grim scenes saturday... any news?

Greg Howard greg.howard at gmail.com
Mon Aug 3 09:05:06 EDT 2009

hmmm... I haven't had a chance to look at the article Hiroyuki sent
yet, but on counting bicycle deaths: per million people is probably
not the right denominator, since so few Americans bike and so many
Dutch do.  Pucher and Dijkstra (Am J Public Health, 2003) give death
rates as 7.2/3.2/2.0 per million km traveled in
US/Germany/Netherlands, and injury rates as 25/1.6/0.4.  Both
countries are dramatically safer than the US (and helmet use is about
0.5% in the NL).  Better design and education help a lot, but there is
also very good evidence that the number of bicyclists on the road
leads to dramatically safer conditions, presumably just due to


On Sun, Aug 2, 2009 at 10:33 PM, Hiroyuki Yamada<hyamada at mit.edu> wrote:
> Sorry to get to the party late, but I just wanted to drop in my $0.02 --
> all this talk of Amsterdam and Boston's cycling culture, I thought it
> necessary to bring this up. An interesting article in Transportation
> Quarterly from 1998, about bicycle use and safety in Paris, Boston, and
> Amsterdam. Not my favorite scholarly piece, and it doesn't really come
> to any particularly striking conclusions, but it does present some
> interesting data -- including the fact that there are almost 3 times as
> many bicycle deaths / million people in Amsterdam as in Boston and
> almost six times as many as in Paris (page 18).
> Anyway, take a look. If anything, it'll give you all some more accurate
> ammunition the next time the internet explodes and you feel like arguing
> again.
> www.aaafoundation.org/pdf/bikeuse_PBA.pdf
> 75KB pdf
> --Yuki
> ps - For the record, I agree with both sides; personally, I wear my
> helmet religiously, but I also agree that it's not the only ticket -- if
> even a ticket at all -- to avoiding injury, and as such maybe shouldn't
> be focused on to the degree it usually is.  Better off to do your best
> to ride safely, responsibly, intelligently, and more importantly VERY
> aware of how vulnerable you can be and are, faced with -- as you've all
> mentioned -- completely random chance, drunk drivers, Boston's
> spectacular roads, et cetera. And, it *IS* everyone's choice whether to
> wear or not to wear, but it's not particularly anyone's choice whether
> or not Boston is friendly to cyclists (which it's not, really), so best
> to make what we all can of it, and do our best to stay whole.
> On 08/02/2009 03:36 PM, Anne Wolfe wrote:
>> In the Netherlands, there are set bike lanes, many of those bike lanes
>> are off road, even in major cities like Amsterdam, lights are
>> mandatory (and generated automatically through a little spin wheel
>> against the front tyre, so not the battery issues), and it is flatter
>> than a flat pancake, giving great visibility.  That's a big reason why
>> the Dutch don't wear helmets - collisions between cars and bikes are
>> far rarer than in the US and particularly in Boston as they're not
>> sharing the road in the same way.  But when there are the collisions,
>> the Dutch without helmets die at the same rate as those without
>> helmets anywhere else.
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