I *Would* Ride, Except It’s Too Dangerous!

Riding is safe

Riding a bicycle is one of the safest activities you can engage in.

This is the most common reason I hear from people who otherwise might take my advice, dust off their bikes, and go for a spin.

While it might seem dangerous — being on the road next to the 2,000-lb behemoths that can crush us like a bug on tile — in fact, the opposite is true. Cycling is *so* safe that the average cyclist actually lives several years longer than a non-cyclist.

Let me repeat that, with flair: Cycling is so safe that the average cyclist lives several years longer than a non-cyclist.

Sure, lots of cyclists (in this country, at least) wear those silly foam hats, and talk about all of their close calls with motorists, potholes and dogs, but these should be viewed for what they are — campfire goosebump stories. The fact that the cyclist in question is around to tell the story should give you a clue that perhaps, just perhaps, the danger value has been cranked up a notch or two.

So let’s look at some cold, hard (and rather pleasant) facts about cycling:

  • According to several studies, cyclists live longer than non-cyclists; in one study, the cycling lifespan advantage was almost 10 years.
  • Motorists are *far* more likely than cyclists to suffer from serious head injuries.
  • Cycling is safer than: Fishing, horseback riding, swimming, athletic training, football and tennis.
  • Cycling is safer than riding in an automobile.

Let’s compare lifetime risks. Your risk of dying from:

  • Heart disease              1 in 5
  • Automobile accident    1 in 84
  • Pedestrian accident     1 in 626
  • Bicycle accident           1 in 4,919

The simple fact is this: Cycling is a very safe activity. It is safer than every other form of transportation except flying, and orders of magnitude safer than riding in a car.

The problem with cycling safety is one of perception, not reality, so fear not, hop on your freedom machine and roll down the road.

Don’t forget to wave at the folks in the gas station. I always do.

Dr. Avery Jenkins is a chiropractic physician specializing in the treatment of people with chronic disorders. He can be reached at alj@docaltmed.com or by calling 860-567-5727.

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3 thoughts on “I *Would* Ride, Except It’s Too Dangerous!

  1. Thank you for writing this Dr. Avery. The last time I rode a bike was about eighteen years ago and I loved it even though it was a dangerous thing to do since I had to share the road with crazy automobile drivers. I would love to go back to riding but first, I would have to relearn to ride again since it’s been so long, and even after reading about the low risk of dying associated with bike riding, I am still terrified. I guess I would have to keep reading the statistics to myself a few more times to let it sink in.

  2. You’ve touched on a subject I’ve been very interested in for many years. I’ve spent much time reviewing published data, and gathered quite a lot of data confirming that cycling is quite safe, and that its benefits greatly outweigh its tiny risks.

    Feel free to contact me if you’d like more corroboration. And you may enjoy this article:

    I enjoy your blog!

  3. Is the reason the risk of death is so low for cycling because those statistics are from the entire population, including bicycle riders and non-bicycle riders, instead of just bicycle riders? I’m concerned those statistics are skewed.

    A metric I’m more inclined to trust would be risk per mile.

Comments are closed.