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UCL Cycling Safety Bollocks

Cycling safer than driving for young people

Researchers from UCL have found that cycling is safer than driving for young males, with 17 to 20 year old drivers facing almost five times greater risk per hour than cyclists of the same age.

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.

Using National Travel Survey data in England for the same time period, the team converted the distance travelled by each age-group, sex and mode of transport into time spent travelling using mean trip speeds.

“What we found is that risks were similar for men aged between 21 and 49 for all three modes of transport and for female pedestrians and drivers aged 21 and 69 years,” said lead author Dr Jennifer Mindell (UCL Epidemiology & Public Health). “However, we found that for young male cyclists between 17 and 20 years of age, cycling was markedly safer than travelling by car.

Did you spot the bollocks?

The risk is "per hour" travelling, not per mile. I don't know about you but I tend to travel to get somewhere not to spend time doing it..

But at least they published it in an open-access peer reviewed journal, which invites comments!


From Numberwatch a few years back , The Risks of Travel

On the other had, unless you are driving for longer distance or a lot, I'd have to be convinced that most young men spend 5x as much time getting places on bicycles as they do in cars - all other things being equal.

I mean it's not usually 50mph per hour x 1 hour, vs. 10mph for 5 hours; it's average speed over ground + all the incidental time things, like if you are in a car you often have to park further away than the bicyclist, etc... And in local driving you often spend a lot of time in a car going a lot slower than you think. Yeah the car might still be faster most of the time, but not 5x.

It might be interesting to compare average trip times.

I might be wrong. What do I know.

The "weakness" they mention is why the whole study is flawed:-

"It is important to recognise that additional bias occurs from not distinguishing between motorway and local driving, with the latter an order of magnitude more dangerous than the former [32]. Casualty rates should ideally compare either driving and cycling on general-purpose roads only, or should compare all driving with, for example, travelling by bicycle for short- and train for long-distance journeys. "

You simply can't go comparing statistics of deaths for drivers and cyclists because they occur in different places. Almost no drivers die on town roads, they die on country roads.

Safer? Look at the bag of chips the kid is eating, he'll be lucky to make it home with all the fat and salt he's consuming.

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