Thursday, June 14, 2012

Is Cycling on Roads Safe? I Say No!

I've noticed a dramatic increase in bicycling participation in recent years. I pass by a lot of cyclists now on the highway and it seems to be leading to more accidents.
I'm sorry, but I've seen too many car drivers who are impaitent, in too much of a hurry, or distracted from cell phone usage. They are a serious danger to cyclists and particiants in the sport had better realize the great risks here.
I now four men in their mid to late 50s who have gotten very serious into bicycle racing the past 5 years or so. I know another two men who are in their 30s and also into cycling seriously. Of those six, four of them have suffered serious accidents while riding bicycles.. One fell and broke his collar bone in Salt Lake City. The other, near Dallas, Texas, was out for more than a year after an accident with a car.
The third, a former colleague of mine was killed in a cycling accident back east and a former boss was in a cycling accident with a car a few years ago. The fourth was seriously injured and hospitalized for weeks.
So, my scorecard says 4 of the 6 people I know who are serious cyclists have been in serious accidents.
That's more than 66 percent!
Cycling is better on the joints than running, but you have to cycle about 3 times longer than running to get the same fitness benefit. That translates to a lot of miles on the highway, where cars rule.
I think cyclists would be wise to carefully choose their routes, with wide and less traveled roads. Riding before daylight or after dark is simply reckless.
That thin margin between a bicyle and passing car is not much of a safety zone.
Me, I'll stick with running and walking, where I can stay off the road more and FACE oncoming traffic.
I will ONLY bike primarily on dedicated, non-motorized vehicle trails and paths.
And, a next-door-neighbor of mine was killed 6 or so years ago on a motorcyle, and so they too have incredible risk factors.
Nothing is truly safe these days, but cycling is worse than most activities.
UDPATE: In the LoToJa bicycle race from Logan, Utah to Jackson Hole, Wyoming, the weekend after Labor Day, one cyclist in the race was killed when he swerved to miss a pothole and went off a bridge and into the Snake River. Two other cyclists were also seriously  injured in unrelated crashes to the first fatal accident.
What? That's one death and two serious accidents in one single bicycle race? Yes, that's right and I rest my case about cycling being so dangerous these days, perhaps one of the most dangerous of sports around in 2012.
I see far too many cyclers who do NOT obey stop signs, traffic signals and the like. They think they are exempt.

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