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An interesting study from a couple of years ago found that drivers pass closer to males than to females (actually the same person in a wig for the study).


Wonder how it would be per mile instead of per trip. [Some DOTs use vehicle miles traveled (VMT) for certain analyses; FARS has info on deaths per VMT for automobiles.] I realize it's almost impossible to measure for cyclists, just thinking that it's possible that the numbers might come out differently.

Which means that much of the difference betweeing motoring and cycling fatality rates is being driven by male cyclist behavior.

I think some of that behavioral difference can be explained by differences in the percentage of bike commuters by gender. At least during that time period.

All in all what makes biking or walking dangerous? Exposure to cars!

Surveys show 60% support for more bike lanes among US citizens. Surveys also show that, while 70% of of US citizens would like to ride bicycles, only 15% do so regularly. This demonstrates an overwhelming unmet demand for safe bicycling facilities.

A result of this overwhelming unmet demand is that, while the only people willing to ride are those willing to take risks, that's still a lot of people.

If we ever get to the point where we are satisfying even 1/2 of the demand for safe facilities, then the cycling population will no longer be dominated by risk-takers and other pioneers. At that point, I think the entire paradigm will change, beginning with the idea that cycling is an unusually dangerous thing to do.

Roo_Beav, as I recall, the difference in passing distance was measured in 2 or 3 centimeters. What I don't know of is a study showing that men are more likely to be run down from behind.

JeffB, I think they accounted for the difference in bike commuters by gender, but DE's point that doing it by trip may be deceptive has some merit to it. If men are biking 20 miles per trip and women are biking 10, then I'd expect a higher rate for men than women. The answer to that can likely be found in Census data.

Coincidentally I was just reading this old blog post, which compares cycling to driving fatality rates based on time of travel. It conclude the rates to be about equal, but that cycling's health and cost benefits make it a far favorable and beneficial mode.


WC, there's a graph in the link I provided that showed the difference was about 5 inches, which was found to be statistically significant for his study.

That's why I don't agree with a conclusion that the fatality rate gender differences are due to male cyclist behavior. CDC's numbers only show correlation.

My gut says male cyclist behavior likely contributes to a higher rate. However, there's evidence suggesting that male cyclists experience worse driver behavior, which could contribute a higher fatality rate.

Keep in mind that this data is about 14 years old, and the motor-vehicle speeds that individual bicyclists are exposed to is one of the largest factors in bicycling fatality rates. Also, intoxicated bicycling and bicycling without lights after dark are significant causes of bicycling deaths. The behavior of individual bicyclists has a profound influence on their safety.

"15-24 year olds have the highest injury rates for all modes."

This isn't the least bit surprising given the risk and reward center of the brain doesn't finish it's development until early-to-mid 20s.

It would be interesting to see the breakdown by type and time of riding. For example, my observation is that men are more likely to be exercising in the evening than women, probably because women have a (legit) fear of assault. Thus, men are more likely to riding at night, and more exposed to drunk drivers.

So, I'm safer if I bike like a girl?

@Crickey, yes. Men take more risks, as a group. That's one reason they pay more for auto insurance. Like Allen said, " The behavior of individual bicyclists has a profound influence on their safety."

Cycling statistics need to account for the rise in bikeshare systems too. Capital Bikeshare bikes are different from other types of bikes (road, hybrid, mountain). They are heavier, slower and more stable. Injury rates have been lower than among cyclists on other bikes and there hasn't been a single bikeshare fatality among more than 10 million trips nationwide.

That's more than enough data to show that bikeshare cycling is different. It's safer. Considering that there hasn't been a single death, it's safer than every other form of transportation, because no other popular form of transportation has a zero death record over millions of trips.

The normal rate of bike fatalities is about 1 for every 4.7 million trips. But we've had 23 million bike share trips in the US as of April 2014 and zero fatalities. I can't say if that sample size is large enough to be statistically significant or not; but other variables of note are that children aren't allowed to ride bikeshare in most places and bikeshare is mostly in urban areas. So we'd need to compare it to other urban, adult cycling.

Meh,I don't care what the survey says. In the real world,cyclists have a far lower fatality rate in DC than either drivers or peds. In fact,a couple years ago,we went a whole year without a fatality. So I'll just keep on riding.

There's also another side to "mostly because of men."

It comes from Charles Komanoff's seminal analysis of pedestrians and cyclists killed by drivers, "Killed by Automobile, (http://www.rightofway.org/research/kba_text.pdf). In cases where a cyclist is killed by a collision with an automobile, and where the identity of the driver is determined, about 90% of the drivers are men.

Since this is far greater than the representation of men in the driving population, and greater than the share of vehicle miles traveled driven by men, the conclusion is that men drivers are far more likely to be involved in collisions with pedestrians and cyclists than women. The inference is that there is something different in the behavior of men, and logical suspects are aggression and risk-taking.

Note also the key words "where the identity of the driver is determined." Komanoff reports that roughly a third of fatal collisions are hit-and-runs where the driver is never identified.

Careful with that zero stat on bikeshare, Citizen. It wouldn't take much to blow it out of the water and skew it the other way. I'm hoping it holds though, of course.

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