What’s more risky for accidents… walking, biking, or driving?

Yet another post for health and creativity. This came up while talking at my book and animation cave today:

Road accidents kill a LOT of people. Driving is dangerous. Flying is comparatively very safe. I don’t think people often think about the safety of just walking some place, but it matters… imagine being hit by a car while walking, and you don’t have any airbags. If you drive, you don’t have to worry about falling down an open manhole or stepping in poo.

Is it more or less safe to bike? I don’t know how risky biking can be, but I love it! I thought comparing risks was something I should really know, so I had to look it up…

The short answer is “nobody knows”. It’s too complicated. It varies by travel distance, location, skill/experience, time of day… it especially varies by the person. Would people do the same trips if they switch means to do it? Would that create more, or less incentive for risk? How many miles will you go for “a trip”? Comparing by mile traveled would probably be the best, though.

Less than 1000 bikers are killed in the USA every year… that’s not a lot. The great majority are guys, average age is 41 (which has risen a lot in the past few decades- surely significant, but beyond me to explain.) In traffic, bikers are 2% of accident fatalities, but 1% of trips. So biking probably is somewhat more dangerous than driving, but not nearly as dangerous as riding a motorcycle. And you get all the other positive health benefits that extend your life, while driving detracts somewhat. So personally, I’ll take the balance of more good with a little more risk, and keep enjoying it.

My usual Wednesday night bike ride group is doing some extreme athletics here:

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