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 email@example.com or by calling 860-567-5727.