Tuesday, August 08, 2006

A dangerous occupation?

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau, has released a report into cyclist deaths from 1991 to 2005. 665 cyclists died during that period. Statistics sometimes seem to have a way of helping people amplify their own prejudices, and no doubt this set will be discussed at length among the cycling community online. These facts stood out for me:
  • Cyclist deaths are well down, which is good news. "In the 1990s, the number of cyclist deaths ranged from 40 to 80 per year. In the 2000s so far (2000 to 2005), the range has been from 26 to 46 per year". It's a statistic that reflects the general decline in the road toll.
  • One third of those killed were not wearing helmets. Most of those killed while not wearing helmets were under 18.
  • In over 60 per cent of crashes, the cyclist was deemed to be ‘responsible’ for the
    action that precipitated the fatal crash. This mainly consisted of failing to observe road rules by swerving in front of cars or cruising through intersections. Again, this seemed to kill a lot of young people.
Cyclists complain a lot about the actions of some motorists, often with good reason, but we also need to accept responsibility for our own safety. Wear a helmet, have good lights at night and obey the road rules, and you're stacking the deck in your favour. And you're also setting a good example for those who haven't yet learned that the roads can be a dangerous place.

3,636km so far this year.

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