Cycling promoter Dave Schlabowske analyzed statistics from the National Safety Council and other sources to debunk the myth that taking the roads on a bike is an inherently life-threatening exercise.
Compared to driving a car, swimming or taking that trek to the basement, cycling results in far fewer deaths, Schlabowske writes in this blog post for the Bicycle Federation of Wisconsin.
"To think of this in another way, let’s look at cycling from a pure risk assessment perspective rather than comparing it to driving a car. Most everything we do has some risk associated with it, from taking a shower to riding a bicycle. In 2009, 630 bicyclists died on US roads (718 in 2008, 1,003 in 1975, see the trend?) while the National Safety Council reports that on average, 12,000 people die walking down stairs every year, with half of those fatal accidents occurring in the home."
Schlabowske chastises the press and the readers who comment on reports of cycling fatalities while touting two-wheeled exercise as an answer to a greater danger: obesity.
"Yup, all we need to do to save $3 trillion dollars is for Americans to ride their bikes and eat healthier. We don’t need any expensive Harvard Medical School studies, and we don’t need any expensive government healthcare programs. All we need to do is get up off the couch, out of our cars, away from the buffet table and ride a bicycle. And no matter what the headlines and the trolls underneath tell you, remember that riding a bicycle is healthy, safer and fun."