Keep your head up. It’s okay.

Ouch.

Lloyd Alter, a Toronto contributor to Treehugger, had an interesting piece on the most likely way a cyclist will get killed (while on a bicycle).  The report is actually taken from a study done at Fort Collins, Colorado.  While we often worry about getting the door prize, apparently we’re most likely to be killed by “drivers just not looking where they are going and ploughing into the rear of cyclists.”

The downside of these studies is that they make cycling seem more dangerous than it is.  Ride carefully, be respectful, and always assume you are surrounded by unwitting assassins.  We’ll all be okay.

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2 Responses to “Keep your head up. It’s okay.”


  1. 1 Gary 11/11/2009 at 7:50 pm

    This article and illustration discuss two different situations. The article mentions getting rear ended (plowed into). The illustration shows a right hook. These situations were discussed in the LAB Safe Cycling 101 course that I took. The illustration is correct, the highest incidence of accidents is from the ‘right hook’. Being plowed into from the rear when a turn isn’t involved accounts for a fairly low (but unfortunate) 7%.
    We can help alleviate the ‘right hook’ and most other accidents by taking the lane to make ourselves more visible and preventing drivers from assuming they can pass and then turn in front of us safely.

  2. 2 youaretheengine 11/11/2009 at 10:24 pm

    Hey Gary,

    You’re right that the image doesn’t reflect a “hit from behind” scenario. Not sure why I picked that one. Did you click the Treehugger link? It’s a good analysis. The findings of that particular study (Fort Collins) suggests that while being hit from behind is less common, it is the most fatal (likely because of the higher speeds involved).

    I was surprised that getting broadsided is more likely than catching a right hook.

    I suppose the answer is exactly what you’ve suggested: stay visible, ride defensively but assertively, and hope everyone is paying attention.


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