Accident rates in London for Boris Bikes

Discussion in 'General Cycling Discussions' started by MattL, 26 Jul 2012.

  1. Does anyone know roughly the accident rates for Boris Bikes? (versus owned bikes would be interesting.)
     
  2. Red Light

    Red Light Guest

    Must be getting on for 15 million journeys on Boris Bikes so far with no fatalities and no serious injuries. In comparison from general and London cycling statistics you would be getting on for your first fatality and around 10-20 serious injuries for that number of journeys. HTH.
     
  3. Boris Bajic

    Boris Bajic Guest

    Summer 1988 I collided with a Sierra estate driven by a Fire Safety Officer on High Holborn. Liability was 50/50. Lovelt chap, gave me a lift to where I was heading.

    Summer 1990. Taxi did an illegal U-Turn at a light on Oxford Street. Got 6 points, but I had to re-build my own bike.

    Apart from that, just the usual scrapes and scuffs. Those were the only two requiring medical attention and involving major repairs.

    Thank you for showing so much concern for my wellbeing. :smile:

    PS. All my Boris Bikes are also owned bikes.
     
  4. Ian Cooper

    Ian Cooper Expat Yorkshireman

    Let's not forget that, because of the incentives for shorter journeys, the average Boris Bike journey is going to be significantly shorter than the average non-Boris-Bike bike journey. A better gauge for comparing injury and death rates would be to compare miles travelled.

    I would be very surprised, given that the average Boris Bike user is probably a lot less comfortable on a bike than the average bicycle owner, if the figures for 'injury per mile' or 'death per mile' turn out to be smaller for Boris Bike users. Most likely, the injury and death rate will end up being significantly higher for users of the scheme. I'm sure the folks behind the scheme are aware of this potential problem. They certainly have an incentive to broadcast the figures based on 'per journey' rather than 'per mile'. If they are forced to give out 'per mile' data, they may hope that the 'safety in numbers' effect offsets what is likely to be a higher injury/death rate. I doubt it will, but who knows.

    Another factor that may play a role in reducing injuries and deaths for Boris Bike users is speed. People who are unused to cycling tend to ride slower than cyclists, which tends to make them safer, especially at intersections.
     
    Hawk likes this.
  5. srw

    srw It's a bit more complicated than that...

    Whatever metric you use - injuries per million km or per million trips or per million pedal revolutions - bugger-all is still bugger-all.

    Why get so obsessed with the exact number? No-one's been seriously injured. Millions of trips are used on the things, by commuters, shoppers and tourists. That's an unequivocal good news story.
     
  6. Ian Cooper

    Ian Cooper Expat Yorkshireman

    The problem is, as soon as the first person dies on a Boris Bike, the media are going to be all over it like flies on faeces and people are going to get scared of using the bikes. And if the Boris Bikes folks aren't prepared, it's going to be a problem for cyclists everywhere, because we're likely to be hit with the old 'Cycling is dangerous' nonsense again.

    Metrics do matter in such a situation. Forewarned is forearmed, and if we just go blithely along, thinking that Boris Bikes are going to be safer than cycling in general, we are setting ourselves up for a shock when it turns out they aren't.

    A good comparison for the Boris Bikes folks to make, in the eventuality of a person dying on a Boris Bike, would be cyclist deaths per miles travelled by Boris Bike vs car occupant deaths per miles travelled by car in the same area. In London, I suspect that figure will be higher for car (as it usually is in urban settings). THAT will quickly sort out the 'bikes are dangerous' crowd, because everyone assumes cars are safer (God only knows why, given the casualty rate).

    An even better metric would be deaths/injuries per time spent per transportation type - that would be an even more realistic gauge of the relative safety of cycling.
     
  7. Red Light

    Red Light Guest

    If you look at the stats on average Boris Bike journey distance and average cycle journey distance there is not actually a lot of difference especially compared with the 0 v 10-20 serious injury ratio. And the folks behind the scheme are generally keeping quiet about the stats even though they are good - mainly I think because they have realised, just like the airline industry, that talking about your safety record is not a good marketing idea.

    These schemes, and not just Boris Bikes, do have very good accident stats so its unlikely that its a transient anomaly that will revert to a higher injury rate as you suggest and much more an intrinsic attribute of those types of bikes/riders. Link
     
  8. Red Light

    Red Light Guest

    I don't think TfL are unprepared. They have already seen off a couple of news stories. One was about serious head injuries to two Boris Bike riders in the early days. Turned out that the cyclists had had precautionary brain scans (presumably because like the vast majority of Boris Bike riders they weren't wearing helmets) but the media forgot to say that the scans turned up nothing and there were no head injuries. The second was seeing off the "shouldn't be allowed to ride without a helmet" panic. I think Boris will handle it fine when the first one eventually happens - that is if he's still mayor by then.
     
  9. Ian Cooper

    Ian Cooper Expat Yorkshireman

    The Streetsblog link you share tells of 'per trip' statistics. From the link:

    “...In 2009, the most recent year for which data is available, Vélib’ riders were responsible for one-third of all bike trips in Paris but were involved in only one-fourth of all traffic crashes involving a bicycle."

    "no people were seriously injured or killed on the first 4.5 million trips on Boris Bikes, while about 12 people are injured for every 4.5 million trips on personal bikes."

    As I explained, used in this way, these figures are grossly misleading. Again, let's not forget that, because of the incentives for shorter journeys, the average Paris Velib, London Boris Bike, or Washington DC CaBi journey is going to be significantly shorter than the average non-bikeshare journey. Per trip stats are fine for propaganda purposes, but not much use for serious study or discussion. I'm fine with the Mayor of Paris or the folks behind Boris Bikes using such sophistry to get credulous bikeshare communities to breathe collective sighs of relief, but when folks start telling me they're meaningful, to be frank, it kinda insults my intelligence.

    Streetsblog is a well known outlet for bike facility propaganda. I take everything they say with a pinch of salt because I don't need to be lied to to be more comfortable on a bike. I'm a big boy now and I can handle the truth.
     
  10. srw

    srw It's a bit more complicated than that...

    There is nothing to study seriously. Bugger-all injuries and bugger-all damage (you've got the stats) is bugger-all percent of whatever metric you happen to pick on. The whole thread is about propaganda - and User and me (who actually live over here) are better placed than someone on the other side of the Atlantic to judge what use (none, actually) the press will make of any serious incident.
     
    Boris Bajic likes this.
  11. Red Light

    Red Light Guest

    The figures for Boris Bikes are not misleading despite your a) conviction they were misleading and b) not actually knowing whether they were misleading or not because you didn't know the trip/mileage conversion factor for Boris Bikes and cycles in general.

    Neither do you know the figures for Paris and you are jumping to the same conclusions you wrongly did for London. I don't know the Paris conversion rates but if they are anything like London then your claim of them being grossly misleading would be....errr....grossly misleading.

    But I get the feeling you've become infused with the Leftpondian wish to view cycling as a death wish and bugger the facts.
     
  12. benb

    benb Evidence based cyclist

    Location:
    Epsom
    I think that's better.
     
  13. Ian Cooper

    Ian Cooper Expat Yorkshireman

    Again, as I explained, used in this way, the figures are indeed grossly misleading. And I know they are misleading because they are 'per trip'. Because of the incentives for shorter journeys, the average Paris Velib, London Boris Bike, or Washington DC CaBi journey is going to be significantly shorter than the average non-bikeshare journey. Per trip stats are fine for propaganda purposes, but not much use for serious study or discussion. I'm fine with the Mayor of Paris or the folks behind Boris Bikes using such sophistry to get credulous bikeshare communities to breathe collective sighs of relief, but, again, when folks start telling me they're meaningful, it insults my intelligence. I am not a child who can be told that the tooth fairy exists. She does not. Per trip statistics comparing bikeshare with personal bike commuter casualty rates are similarly fictitious, because they compare apples to oranges. Unlike bikeshare folks, people who commute on their own bikes are not incentivized to keep their trips short. They're just not.

    And simply saying that the per trip figures aren't misleading doesn't make your assertion any more believable. I've explained my argument. Given the fact that you're engaging purely in contradiction, I suspect you can't do the same for your side of it.

    I do have a strange wish not to be lied to. Whether that's 'leftpondian' or not, I'm not sure. I suspect it's an attribute I picked up when I lived in Yorkshire.

    Also, I don't know why we have to bring childish nationalism and xenophobia into it. More evidence that you would rather build straw men and engage in ad hominem attacks than actually engage in reasoned debate. Are you interested in discussing facts, or do you just want to call me a 'Yank'? Either way works for me, but I will find the argument easier to win if you just keep calling me names.

    Anyway, I'm not the one arguing that cycling is dangerous. You are! You claim that cycling is more dangerous than bikeshare. I'm arguing that it is not. A person who uses a bikeshare bike is not really a 'cyclist'. He or she is usually a motorist who happens to be on something that looks like a bike. Personally, I wouldn't be caught dead on one, because I am actually a cyclist. Let's face it: a bikeshare bike is barely a bicycle. They look more like motorless mopeds, and they weigh about the same as I'd imagine a moped would weigh without its motor.

    Actually, it was better beforehand. Unless you want to show that cycling is more dangerous than driving. The longer the distance, the safer motoring gets and the more dangerous cycling appears in comparison - because unlike cyclists, motorists can use freeways that tend to skew the figures because they remove the possibility of intersection conflicts.
     
  14. benb

    benb Evidence based cyclist

    Location:
    Epsom
    If you want to know whether it's safer to drive or cycle for a given trip, then KSI per distance is the metric to use.
     
  15. Ian Cooper

    Ian Cooper Expat Yorkshireman

    If anyone here can explain how per trip figures are comparable between bikeshare and owned commuter biking, taking into account the bikeshare incentives for short trips, I'd like to hear your explanation.
     
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