Are you safer as a driver or as a cyclist? In other words would you live longer as a cyclist or a motorist? You might be surprised to find out that cycling is safer than driving. Although many people think cycling is more dangerous than driving. Studies show that driver mortality and morbidity is higher than that for cyclists. Many studies have shown that cyclists live longer than non-cyclists – even when taking into consideration other relevant factors.
In Britain fatalities have been falling for all modes – walking, cycling and driving. In 2000, there were 30 fatalities per billion kilometres travelled for cyclists, compared to 48 for pedestrians and 3 for cars.
However, because people drive so many more miles than they cycle, the risk per exposure hour is much higher for motorists. Per hour traveling, driving is twice a dangerous as cycling. Driving presents almost twice the risk of cycling at 0.47 fatalities per exposure hour against 0.26 fatalities per exposure hour for cycling. Here’s a table showing risks for a variety of activities:
See that cycling is more dangerous than airline flying but safer than being in a car.
But the real advantage of cycling is that cyclists are healthier than non-cyclists. Even after adjustment for other risk factors, including leisure time physical activity, those who do not cycle to work experience a 39% higher mortality rate than those who do.
While the fear of being hit by a car is a really great reason for cyclists to be absolutely defensive “drivers,” it is in fact counterproductive in terms of prolonging your life if you allow it to prevent you from choosing to cycle.
As you can see below cyclists have a greater life expectancy than non-cyclists.
Further research has shown that school children who cycle to school are more attentive and fair better than those who do not – this also takes into account other factors, for example, the propensity for the parents of cycling children to be better educated than those who are not.
That is why I think that it is vital that we consider, as when and where we can, facilities for what many people believe is the best form of transport yet invented by humankind.