Stat of the day! Study finds cycling safer than life itself…

… but not as safe as hunting, sleeping or travelling on the school bus

by Tony Farrelly   November 13, 2008 jersey as modelled by Tony

A US study that looked at fatalities per million hours of exposure to different activities concluded that cycling (0.27) was almost twice as safe as motoring (0.47), and five and a half times safer than living (1.53)*. Cycling was also a whopping 32 times safer than riding a motorbike.

The study is actually 10 years old and was carried out by Exponent (then called the Failure Associates Inc… wonder why they wanted to change that name?) a major US Scientific and Engineering Consultancy whose business is risk analysis. Sadly their methodology is secret, so we don't know how they came up with the figures, and they were looking at cycling in the United States. 

On the other hand, since that study there has been a big resurgence in the numbers of cyclists on both sides of the Atlantic and studies into that phenomenon conclude that more cyclists equals safer cycling. So riding your bike for a million hours has probably got even safer! If you really put your mind to it (8 hours a day, 7 days a week) it should only take you 342 years.

* "Living" covered all causes of death. Here is the full list. As someone who's just had to fit smoke alarms in every room it's a little galling to note that your chances of dying in a house fire (in the United States in 1998) were an infinitesimally small 0.03 - you're more likely to be killed by exposure to cosmic radiation on a flight. I feel a rant coming on!