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Cycling More Dangerous Than Terrorism? Doubtful.

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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.  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.  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.  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.  Highly entertaining, and a good example of the dangers of making loose associations without really examining the underlying causes and statistics.

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Bryan Willman
Bryan Willman
14 years ago

And the ENTIRE argument is silly because LOTS OF THINGS including walking up and down stairs and traveling to work via any means are more dangerous than terrorism, at least outside of an actual war zone, and certainly in post IRA UK. Switching away from the tube due to fears of terrorism isn’t a high return move, but switching to bicycles probably is just because of the improved exercise.

In short, even if cycling IS more dangerous than terrorists (in fact, let’s agree that it IS) that’s irrelevent, because so is almost everything else.

Whether you should cycle or take the tube or drive on your commute is rather more complicated, but hazard level relative to terrorists isn’t a relevent part of the question.

Bike Cycling Reviews
14 years ago

I wonder why cycling is said to be dangerous than terrorism. Both are two different aspects which should not be related to each other.

Tough cycling proves safer that a bike, so there’s no question of deaths arising due to it.

Bike Cycling
14 years ago

There is a lot of difference between Cycling and Terrorism and both cannot be the same.

Cycling keeps a man fit and healthier so there are no death signs of arising due to Cycling.

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