Are the safety stats misleading ?

Discussion in 'Advocacy and Cycling Safety' started by kingrollo, 29 Dec 2017.

  1. kingrollo

    kingrollo Über Member

    So what do we know:-

    • In the uk about 100-120 cyclists per year are killed on uk roads
    • There is a formula that calculates 1 cycling death per 2 million miles travelled (I think)

    Then there is the alarming figure of serious injuries while cycling - this is currently an upward trend about about 3,000 per year, which puts us pretty close to motorcyclists (But then again a broken leg etc is counted as a serious injury.)

    Living in the West Midlands there have been at least 3 deaths in 6 months - 2 of which are routes I regularly ride - and wouldn't strike me a dangerous roads.

    I think it was Chris Boardman who said recently, that whilst the stats are very much in the cyclists favour (perhaps with exception of serious injuries) - However he also said 'it doesn't feel that safe' .

    I sometimes wonder if stats understates the risks of regular cycling ? - Thoughts ..

    (Slow work day !!!)
  2. vickster

    vickster Legendary Member

    You might find this interesting
    Fenrider, PMarkey, srw and 2 others like this.
  3. Tailendman

    Tailendman Regular

    Milton Keynes
    Just been looking at the data from Travel in London report 9, and the trend is much improved. Whilst cycling has increased 60% since 2005, the rate of fatalities has decreased by 46%. So at least it is getting safer. Not sure of the reasons why. Super highways? slower traffic or softer car front ends?
  4. OP

    kingrollo Über Member

    Looking the comments from the article raises an interesting point. The skill of paramedics ,A&E staff, surgeons etc is improving all the time - so the chances of surviving an incident increase. The hidden stat may be that the chances of having an accident in the first place are actually increasing.
  5. BoldonLad

    BoldonLad Über Member

    South Tyneside
    And, what may have been a fatality, becomes, a serious injury
  6. Reiver

    Reiver Legendary Member

    yes I think the stats are greatly misleading, I'm sure the gov want us all to think cycling is super safe, they need people to cycle for a whole host of good reasons including health and enviroment - so the very last thing they want people to know is it is very dangerous or they would need to spend serious money and start enforcing road laws which would upset too many people.

    I did I little survey a while ago,
    and yes I accept it could have been worded better and maybe those injured were more likely to respond, but then again those injured who just simple give up cycling probably give up on CC and never seen the question to answer,

    31% of us had received some sort of injury in the last 12 months.
    cycling on our roads is a very dangerous thing to do.
  7. srw

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

    It's not. And the evidence is there to prove it.

    TinyMyNewt, Slick and mjr like this.
  8. mjr

    mjr Comfy armchair to one person & a plank to the next

    The stats aren't misleading but you should always take care that they're measuring what you think they're measuring. Often, politicians set a target and things get optimised for reducing that measure instead of what may have been desired... for example, one route to zero cycling casualties is to ban cycling everywhere, but only one political party has put more cycling bans in their manifesto recently, because doing so obviously would add massive costs to the NHS.
  9. OP

    kingrollo Über Member

    Sorry do you mean its not hidden ? - or chances of having an accident are not increasing ?
  10. srw

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

    The chances of having an accident are not increasing.

    Road safety now is better than it has been since the invention if the bicycle.
    bozmandb9 likes this.
  11. OP

    kingrollo Über Member

    But the figure for serious injuries is higher than its even been
  12. byegad

    byegad Guru

    NE England
    I trained as a Mathematician and did a module on Statistics. The first thing I learnt was that by careful choice of criteria you can make stat's prove almost anything. Adding a couple of corrections can help prove a spurious case too!

    I'm particularly sceptical about cycling stat's for two reasons.

    1. Many children fall of bikes and hurt themselves while doing things most adults don't attempt. So the figures tend to get skewed unless this is factored out!

    2. Some years ago while rummaging in the shed for some gear I managed to pull one pedal off a hook and was promptly smacked in the forehead ny the other one, which was attached to the first by some string. Within seconds I had blood in both eyes and could see nothing. At A&E they cleaned me up and superglued the relatively minor cut on my forehead. Then the fun started.
    How did you injure yourself? Hit my head with a pedal.
    Were you wearing a helmet? In the shed? you're joking, anyway the cut is well below where my helmet comes to.
    So it was a cycling accident then? At which point I got shirty and ended up demanding why they were wanting to record this as a cycling accident? If I'd hit my head with an aeroplane propellor would be a case for the Air Accident Investigation team, etc. etc.
    The A&E sister was called who informed me, no matter what I said, it would go down as a cycling accident.

    So I'd really want to see their criteria, calculations and raw data before I got upset by any Statistics on road accident. A quick example. If I trip in the street and bang my head on a nearby parked car is it a vehicle collision????
    jarlrmai, classic33, Cycleops and 8 others like this.
  13. Slick

    Slick Veteran

    Damn lies and statistics can be moulded to suit anyone's agenda. We all have our own personal view of risk and how we deal with it, and that's probably about right. My level of risk with my type of riding in my environment is highly unlikely to match perfectly with anyone else's. I do get a bit dismayed when guys at work seem to assume that if I continue to cycle at certain times in certain places it's only a matter of time before I'm involved in an incident, like it's inevitable. Other side of the coin is on one stretch whereby I can feel my level of concern growing as cars seem to get faster and closer. I take what I believe to be sensible precautions although that's probably a whole other thread for some, and take the stats with a pinch if salt.
  14. Will Spin

    Will Spin Senior Member

    One thing to bear in mind is that whatever risk is apparent through the interpretation of statistics, part of that risk is in fact controllable. What I mean is that the behaviour of individual cyclists can increase or decrease their chances of having an accident.
  15. srw

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

    And increased numbers of riders.
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