The UK Telegraph has put together an article that’s sure to become a Freakonomics case study stating that the 2005 London Tube Bombings have shown that commuting by bicycle is more dangerous than the terrorist act that spurred more people to get on bikes.
On the surface, a casual reader would think “Hmmm…makes sense.”
Fortunately, today’s media allows for comments on virtually every news article everywhere, and learned readers quickly dismantled every single point in Kate Devlin’s article. Ã‚Â She’s probably crying right now.
ERRONEOUS ASSUMPTION #1: More people commuting has led to more cycling deaths than the total of people killed in the bombing.
REALITY: According to one commenter, Devlin’s facts are wrong and the bomb victims outnumber cyclist casualties since the bombing. Ã‚Â Regardless, the increase in cycling compared to the ratio of deaths has not increased, actually it decreased, showing that the increase in cycling has actually led to fewer deaths per cyclist since the bombing.
ERRONEOUS ASSUMPTION #2: The cyclists are being killed by bicycles.
REALITY: Actually, the vast majority of the cyclist deaths are caused by motor vehicles. Ã‚Â The bikes themselves aren’t really killing anyone…yet. 2012’s coming though, just you wait and see.
There are plenty of other errors in the story, which are systematically ripped apart…check out the article, then read the comments. Ã‚Â Highly entertaining, and a good example of the dangers of making loose associations without really examining the underlying causes and statistics.