An interesting read re: safety of cycling in US v. Europe
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  1. #1
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    An interesting read re: safety of cycling in US v. Europe

    which was timely for me, since I burned two more of my nine lives on my way to work today.

    http://policy.rutgers.edu/papers/10.pdf

    Choose life!
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  2. #2

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    awesome report and yet another reason i wished that i lived in europe! i very much appreciate the freedoms we enjoy in the us, but think that i really belong somewhere else...

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    The sad thing is that my first and only road accident after 10+ years of riding happened when I was on vacation in Oslo Norway...

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    saftey myths...

    sad to say that yet again i have to battle these sorts of myths...cycling here is no safer than america. i have been run off the road, almost hit at intersections, etc while riding as much if not more than back when i lived in the us. the worst part is that speed limits are inherently much higher and when you are riding rural roads it can be quite dangerous. city drivers are city drivers no matter where you live. i ride daily commuting to and from work 10 miles one way, i ride bike paths, roads, city streets, and a dirt trail all on the way. you have just the same problems with traffic here as you do anywhere. just remember that there are more people that the us in an area about as big as the southeast...so it is difficult when comparing statistics for say germany to the us, germany is as big as oregon. if 80 million people lived in oregon then more people would walk. traffic here is full of the same types of short trips, one person one car drivers that permeates the us...all this in cars that are much more environmentally unfriendly. the reason i cannot buy a euro-spec car and bring back to the us is becuase of emissions are not as well regulated here.
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    Quote Originally Posted by bradnicholson
    sad to say that yet again i have to battle these sorts of myths...cycling here is no safer than america. i have been run off the road, almost hit at intersections, etc while riding as much if not more than back when i lived in the us. the worst part is that speed limits are inherently much higher and when you are riding rural roads it can be quite dangerous. city drivers are city drivers no matter where you live. i ride daily commuting to and from work 10 miles one way, i ride bike paths, roads, city streets, and a dirt trail all on the way. you have just the same problems with traffic here as you do anywhere. just remember that there are more people that the us in an area about as big as the southeast...so it is difficult when comparing statistics for say germany to the us, germany is as big as oregon. if 80 million people lived in oregon then more people would walk. traffic here is full of the same types of short trips, one person one car drivers that permeates the us...all this in cars that are much more environmentally unfriendly. the reason i cannot buy a euro-spec car and bring back to the us is becuase of emissions are not as well regulated here.
    What are BLONDE {european color} females (drivers) like, in Europe? Here,in southern california they're the worst. My theory in being that they're in such high demand by the guys. So th females are gonna take advantage of the guys in letting them/guilt --- get away. The're very much in real life, like they're shown/acting on those tv shows. REALLY.

  6. #6
    lyleseven
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    My experience in both Europe and USA...

    is that if there is traffic it is dangerous anywhere, but at least the Eurpean drivers have ridden bikes in their youth and tend to share the road more....I love cycling in Europe but it is usually on back roads.

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    Huh? In Norway, for example, I think the highest speed limit was 90kph last year- and I think they may have raised to 100 a few places- this is slower than in the US.

    Also, much of europe treats driving as a skill- drunk driving in very rare- people know how to handle a roundabout and crosswalk- and people don't spend half their lives in cars, so they tend to be more patient.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by carfib
    What are BLONDE {european color} females (drivers) like, in Europe? Here,in southern california they're the worst. My theory in being that they're in such high demand by the guys. So th females are gonna take advantage of the guys in letting them/guilt --- get away. The're very much in real life, like they're shown/acting on those tv shows. REALLY.
    It's obvious you are struggling with night school. Maybe you should turn off the TV.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bryan
    It's obvious you are struggling with night school. Maybe you should turn off the TV.
    Well Brian ---- live (or move) here in soCal for a period of some time. And then you'll find out that I'm correct, in what I said. It's NOT night school They're the most expensive onces of all of the girls ---- day and night. Single and married. Just like soCal = the most expensive place ot be around/live in.

  10. #10
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    When I moved to Sweden, I noticed away a huge difference in how cyclists are treated compared to Canada. Just the level of urban planning to incorporate cyclists into the infrastructure is incredible to me. Specially designed bicycle paths lead to every part of our city indicating that city planners considered cyclists while they were planning not after; bicycle underpasses are constructed to avoid meeting traffic; roundabouts are a way to not only improve vehicular flow, but safety because the risk of drivers running red lights are greatly reduced.
    As for filtersweep's post about drunk driving, drivers can loose their licence if caught above a certain percentage, and designated drivers are the norm here, not the exception.
    Another thing that the govt is fighting with is whether to lower taxes on alcohol, which is cheaper in our neighbouring countries of Finland, Denmark, and Germany. Higher taxes does mean lower consumption of Swedish alcohol, but it has been shown that people go abroad to purchase alcohol to bring back to Sweden.
    Cheers, Wayne
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    I couldn't open the link, but from the replies I'll guess it said something along the lines of it being safer to cycle in Europe. As other people have posted, you can get dangerous drivers anywhere. One huge advantage of the USA to Europe is the population density can be so much lower in places, it can be relatively safer to ride in the States even given the driving standards.

    Having said all that, I'd still prefer cycling in most parts of Europe. They do drive faster usually, but they seem to have better awareness of the road (big generalization here). Driving in Europe seems to be more of a privilege than a god given right -and I also think it's more likely someone in Europe has experienced cycling so they are more sympathetic. But you get crazy/inattentive/negligent/vindictive drivers everywhere

    Quote Originally Posted by mdehner
    which was timely for me, since I burned two more of my nine lives on my way to work today.

    http://policy.rutgers.edu/papers/10.pdf

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  12. #12
    al0
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    Germany

    I live (and cycle) in Germany for almost 5 years - drivers almost always are willing to share the road and to treate cyclist not as unnecessary nuisance but as "full member" of traffic (if not privelged one.

    I shall admit .that htere are "bewitched" places in which drivers behaves recklessly. One such place I have on my everyday commute from work where. There is a point where have to make left turn on a cross without traffic light. In any other place (including several other turns on the same route) if I signal left turn drivers slow down and patiently wait while I change lines - in this place they accelerate instead! I can not find any explanation.

    But generally drivers are very polite here.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bryan
    It's obvious you are struggling with night school. Maybe you should turn off the TV.
    Once, for a change, tv is showing the truth: ever notice on those shows how the blonde female is ALWAYS the "least intelligent" one? (and on some shows, the dumb one) But that's only a coincidence. 'Cause blonde females brings in advertsing/money. 'Cause there's such a high demand for them; looks sacrificed for intelligence.
    Last edited by carbfib; 07-19-2005 at 05:29 AM.

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by al0
    I live (and cycle) in Germany for almost 5 years - drivers almost always are willing to share the road and to treate cyclist not as unnecessary nuisance but as "full member" of traffic (if not privelged one.

    I shall admit .that htere are "bewitched" places in which drivers behaves recklessly. One such place I have on my everyday commute from work where. There is a point where have to make left turn on a cross without traffic light. In any other place (including several other turns on the same route) if I signal left turn drivers slow down and patiently wait while I change lines - in this place they accelerate instead! I can not find any explanation.

    But generally drivers are very polite here.
    I'm of the European background: They are of a smaller body size. I drove a moped here in soCalifornia in the mid-'70s. Before the first local cops even knew about them. What I'm getting at = the "Americans" are of the "BIGGER", more superior size. In which they (driving their motor vehicles) must be superior to the bicyclist. Or else they feel to be the "loser." It's like them feeling in pleading guilty, for something that they don't owe. >>>>>But keep this theory in mind. (from one who does NOT drive a motor vehicle): most bicyclists here in the U.S., are nothing but "off-duty car-drivers" --- in MY quote<<<<

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    Dammit - where are all the mandatory pedestrian helmet laws?! Based on those statistics there is a far more pressing need for that than helmets for bicycles and motorcycles, or seatbelt laws for cars. The "more laws make you safer" crowd is missing a golden opportunity allowing this unpublicized pedestrian holocaust to continue.

  16. #16
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    Pwi???

    Quote Originally Posted by carbfib
    I'm of the European background: They are of a smaller body size. I drove a moped here in soCalifornia in the mid-'70s. Before the first local cops even knew about them. What I'm getting at = the "Americans" are of the "BIGGER", more superior size. In which they (driving their motor vehicles) must be superior to the bicyclist. Or else they feel to be the "loser." It's like them feeling in pleading guilty, for something that they don't owe. >>>>>But keep this theory in mind. (from one who does NOT drive a motor vehicle): most bicyclists here in the U.S., are nothing but "off-duty car-drivers" --- in MY quote<<<<
    Posting while intoxicated again???
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    Was in Amsterdam a few years ago.

    Had a great time biking. The place is as flat as a cornbelt state. Amsterdam was a city full of beaters but considering the bike theft issues there I would ride a beater too. My bike was either up in my hotel room or being ridden. Locking up a nice roadbike there was asking for trouble... That was the only issue.

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    Interesting but incomplete

    Having lived and worked in Europe for 6 years, I concur with the findings as they relate to comparing the Netherlands and Germany to the US. However, I am curious as to what the study would have shown had France, Spain and Italy been included.

    Driver education/awareness and enforcement are not the greatest in some of these countries although within many of the cities, there are still a decent percentage of the population who ride bicycles for transportation.
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  19. #19

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    I grew up in the UK and lived there until moving to Vegas 3 years ago. While in the UK, my bike was my main form of transportation because owning a car was prohibitively expensive, and mostly unneccessary since I could get almost everywhere I needed to by bike and public transport. Of course there were some problems with traffic, but in all my years of cycling I never got hit.

    The biggest difference I've noticed is the speed of the traffic. In the UK the roads are too crowded for traffic to flow very fast despite what the speed limit may be. There are also lots of 'quiet' routes in British cities so that you don't have to take a main road if you're not comfortable with it. The speed limits in British cities are generally between 30-40mph for built-up areas. Here in Vegas most of the roads are 'main' roads. The speed limits are generally either 35 or 45mph, but the roads are very wide and less crowded, leading to motorists speeding most of the time... there are no natural obstructions such as parked cars or narrow streets so the traffic flows much faster.

    Driver education is definitely a factor too... when I took my driving test in the UK it was after a pretty intensive course of lessons by a professional driving instructor, and both the written and practical tests were fairly stringent. When I took my test in Nevada the exam was 15 minutes long and I passed even though I tried to do a parallel park on the wrong side of the road (yeah, I know ). The fact that it is the norm to be taught by a parent/sibling/friend in the US rather than an instructor means that the quality of learning is much lower, leading to a lower standard of driving (not that Brits drive wonderfully either, but the education is there even if the wisdom to practise what they have been taught is not).

    It's not only driver education that is lacking in the US, but cyclist education. When I see the average kid or commuter on their bike going to school or to the store, they're either riding on the sidewalk or on the wrong side of the road, and almost certainly without a helmet or lights if it's dark. A comprehensive training programme in schools about road safety would no doubt help this situation... I still remember taking my Cycling Proficiency course on my BMX at the tender age of 9.

    Another thing that the article doesn't point out is the intimidation factor of the traffic. I find traffic in Vegas much more intimidating than I did in the UK because the average size of each vehicle is larger. While it is of course just as possible to get injured in an accident with a VW Golf as it it with an Escalade, the perception of danger is much greater with larger vehicles. Because of the size of the roads and the limited space available in Europe, most people drive smaller vehicles than they do here in the US. As a cyclist, you can see over the top of most small cars, where you don't have a chance with most SUVs or trucks.

    Overall, I felt much safer riding on a 3-lane road in Cardiff, UK than I ever have on a 3-lane road in Las Vegas. That perception of danger has to come from somewhere, and for me I think it is mainly the speed and size of traffic, though it may vary for others.

    - Jen.

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    ???

    Quote Originally Posted by carfib
    Well Brian ---- live (or move) here in soCal for a period of some time. And then you'll find out that I'm correct, in what I said. It's NOT night school They're the most expensive onces of all of the girls ---- day and night. Single and married. Just like soCal = the most expensive place ot be around/live in.
    ??? "They're the most expensive onces of all the girls...the most expensive place ot be around/live in." What does this mean???
    "I used to think she was quite intelligent, in my stupidity"
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  21. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by carbfib
    I'm of the European background: They are of a smaller body size. I drove a moped here in soCalifornia in the mid-'70s. Before the first local cops even knew about them. What I'm getting at = the "Americans" are of the "BIGGER", more superior size. In which they (driving their motor vehicles) must be superior to the bicyclist. Or else they feel to be the "loser." It's like them feeling in pleading guilty, for something that they don't owe. >>>>>But keep this theory in mind. (from one who does NOT drive a motor vehicle): most bicyclists here in the U.S., are nothing but "off-duty car-drivers" --- in MY quote<<<<
    I like cheese on my cheeseburgers.
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  22. #22
    Soul Mining
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    This clearly does not apply to the UK, or at least not where I'm living in the UK -- Birmingham. Europe proper is definitely a different case altogether, as cycling is very big there. I noticed this when I visited France and I felt instantly at home. The UK is different. Cycling is a minority interest at best. I've never had so many people yell things at me during a ride.

    The drivers here like to drive fast and pass with little room on narrow roads while oncoming traffic is approaching. It doesn't seem to matter if the corners are blind, they'll still pass! Then another car will do the same, dive back into my lane as they dodge an approaching car, then jam on the brakes to avoid hitting the car in front, thus cutting me off severely. This sort of behaviour is widespread and very different from what I knew at home in Canada.

    My experience in Canada, at least in Victoria, is that bicyclists are generally quite safe in traffic and accommodated by both drivers and road infrastructure quite well. There are bicycle lanes, wide roads with good shoulders and slower speed limits. The difference between Canada and the UK for cycling was immediately noticeable and I would not hesitate in saying that riding in western Canada is better than the UK as far as traffic and road conditions go.

    As for Europe, well I can definitely vouch for the fact that France is stellar and that the rest of Europe, according to things other people have said, is excellent.

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