BBC article on cycling accidents

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  • It seems to me, from a purely statistical standpoint, that there haven't been enough (recorded) fatalities / accidents to infer any reasonable degree of significance.

    Quite. Poisson distribution...

  • From experience, I'd say skip lorry firms insist on evidence of sociopathy from their drivers.

    Especially Ideal Scaffolding of Woolwich, who chuck fags and gum at cyclists (me) on Hackney Road.

  • Spindrift - not to take away from your comments, but why do you suggest that these HGVs are (apparently) hitting more women than men?

    That was the point of the BBC article.

  • I think the sample is too small to derive any worthwhile conclusions.

    I also think talk about "blind spots" is a distraction. Why are HGVs being driven through a medieval street layout with huge areas the driver can't see around the vehicle?

    Mirrors cost about £40. That's the blind spot eliminated. But then if you admit filling in your paperwork whilst cornering in a lorry and fail to notice a cyclist you kill, you only get a £400 fine and keep your licence:

    http://www.movingtargetzine.com/article/­more-on-emma-foa

  • basically the article is saying the "ickle wickle girlies" should HTFU like the "big macho boys".

    seriously. this is 2009. terrible botch-job of what could have been a decent article about road safety and awareness.

  • Actually, I thought it was quite good. I did only scan read it, but was impressed with the fact that the writer let female cycle campaginers speak for themselves about what they think the problem is, and it's about god gamned time that we started taking a real look as to why all these women are dying. It makes me so angrey I could cry.

  • "In 2007, an internal report for Transport for London concluded women
    cyclists are far more likely to be killed by lorries because, unlike
    men, they tend to obey red lights and wait at junctions in the
    driver's blind spot."

    This is not true, it's a misreporting. Hypothesis printed as fact.
    It's bollocks, the report did not say that at all.

    The bit about women being reluctant to use ASLs because they feel
    exposed to public gaze sounds like a load of made-up twaddle as well.

  • 0ne man, seven women.

    Do I have to spell out to you why I might be jumping to conclusions?

  • One of the deaths was a hit-and-run incident involving an experienced, safe cyclist.

  • "They are simply trying to find a theory to explain an observed pattern."

    Their theory doesn't fit with what we know about HGVs involved in fatal RTAs with cyclists. Plus, there's the danger that a lorry driver is sometimes the only living witness. "The cyclist undertook" is offered as an excuse. Case closed. There was a roadside check of lorries in London fairly recently. Every single one of the lorries stopped were on the roads illegally, or were illegally faulty, the tacho was fiddled or the driver was uninsured or on a mobile.

    i think you are absolutely right to post this and it is relevant to the debate.

    i think a lot of vehicles on the road are illegal. many people that drive cannot afford to. but they still do so because driving is the default mode of transport in the uk for example. and i think in this way the oil industry and motor industry are criminalising the less well off. and further that because the government are not doing much about this they are acquiescing in this awful state of affairs.

    i think the government need to redesign our built environment so that people can travel for free (walking and cycling) safely. rather than at the moment many feel intimidated when they walk or cycle.

    and the government needs to reduce the number of illegal vehicles on the road.

    and then hopefully the public realm would be very different (better, quieter and safer for everybody).

    have a lovely weekend everybody.

  • Intrestingly enough, I logged on here to go for a paragraph by paragraph refute of what others were saying about the article, as it seems like I got a different message entirely. Then I saw what tiswas wrote, and I got angry. Ok, so 8 people is a small sample group, but surely there must be some kind of conclusion that can be drawn, or some added protection just in case, or...something. Enough people have died, and the fact that nearly all of them are female seems like it should mean something.
    But I guess this is the problem. There isn't enough data (quite often because the only living witness to what happened is the driver) or enough statistics to make the law makers happy. So I thought I would do some googling, and so far nothing to support any theories about women, but I did find this:

    More than 52,000 bicyclists have been killed in bicycle traffic accidents in the U.S. over the 80 years the federal government has been keeping records. When it comes to sharing the road with cars, many people seem to assume that such accidents are usually the cyclist’s fault — a result of reckless or aggressive riding. But an analysis of police reports on 2,752 bike-car accidents in Toronto found that clumsy or inattentive driving by motorists was the cause of 90 percent of these crashes. Among the leading causes: running a stop sign or traffic light, turning into a cyclist’s path, or opening a door on a biker. This shouldn’t come as too big a surprise: motorists cause roughly 75 percent of motorcycle crashes too.

    The NY times, August 29, 2009

  • To reduced the hazard, all they have to do is just removed this part to stop encouraging cyclists to undertake regardless of what vehicles in front of them;

  • No.

    The fact that it is one man and seven woman does not mean that there is any statistical significance. The sample size is too small to draw any meaningful conclusion.

    Rubbish. 7/8 may too small a sample to establish with 'certainty' that women are more at risk, but it is plenty of evidence to conclude that acting on the assumption that they are would be sensible.

    (Statistical certainty is a completely arbitrary and often irrelevant concept. What matters is: does the probability of the hypothesis justify acting on it?)

    Also, there is more data: previous year's statistics provide similar grim evidence. And if women in London do cycle fewer miles than men, that exposure ratio should be combined with the fatality ratio, giving a relative personal risk even worse than 7 to 1

  • To be honest i hope that the sample size stays at 8.

    Ok it's a small sample size, but working in a bike shop, i find that the women that i serve mention the fact that they are scared of the traffic, more than the men. whether or not this is just men being macho, i don't know, but i thought it has been known for a while that in general women, are more timid, therefore will not pull out in front of traffic, whereas men are more 'aggressive' so will jump lights, ride in the primary position.

    i find generally riding around that men are more aggressive riders than women.

  • If my maths is any good that makes female cyclists almost 30 times more at risk that males.......

    What sums did you do? If I just divide the fatality rates (7 and 1) by the proportions of female and male cyclists quoted in the article (.28 and .72) I get a ratio of about 18:1. A very long way away from 1:1.

  • aggressive and stupid is just as dangerous as naive and stupid.

    Most people don't observe the traffic around them and make their judgements on it, they blindly, selfishly and carelessly carry on their way as they see fit without looking or allowing for hazards.

    That's cyclists, drivers, and pedestrians of both genders.

    HTFU? yeah, HTFU and start taking dangerous drivers off the road first

  • hey nhatt,

    i would not worry about what that tiswas says. i think it is a big enough sample to get a picture of what is happening. and yes anecdotal or otherwise i think it is something to do with women cyclists being more cautious about rlj's etc / possibly less assertive in the traffic.

    well done moth. i agree with you.

    and i have also to agree with oliver and lcc and all that lot. if one is returning to cycling get some cycle training. i understand from oliver that it is good value. they only charge a small admin fee.

  • I suggested in a past post that prevention (stopping deaths) was better than cure (reacting to deaths) for the people who are being killed- women.

    This was considered to be sexist.

  • I'm 100% with spindrift.

    Sure, like RPM said, there are individuals using all modes of transport (including feet), who seem willfully unaware (is that a paradox?) of all the other travellers around them.

    But, more than anything else, the focus has to shift to i) the sheer volume of HGVs on urban thoroughfares, and ii) the lawless and reckless manner in which they're operated by drivers and their companies.

    These endless variants of the same article - what are the cyclists doing wrong? - only serve to reinforce the way (enforcement of) the law views operating motor vehicles as an inherently blameless activity.

    And my feelings on the matter aren't purely from a cycling perspective either. As an inhabitant of London, I'm appalled by the environmental havoc wreaked by large numbers of HGVs, and quite frightened, frankly, by the spectacle of them charging around the place without a care in the world.

  • I love the way people keep going on about the 'small sample size' like they know anything about statistics or probablility. The samples in this case are male and female cyclists in London in a year, the deaths are observations from those samples. I can't be arsed to do the maths but getting seven deaths from the female cyclist population and one from the larger male population is going to be pretty far from the null hypothesis (ie chance).

  • I'm 100% with spindrift.

    Sure, like RPM said, there are individuals using all modes of transport (including feet), who seem willfully unaware (is that a paradox?) of all the other travellers around them.

    But, more than anything else, the focus has to shift to i) the sheer volume of HGVs on urban thoroughfares, and ii) the lawless and reckless manner in which they're operated by drivers and their companies.

    These endless variants of the same article - what are the cyclists doing wrong? - only serve to reinforce the way (enforcement of) the law views operating motor vehicles as an inherently blameless activity.

    And my feelings on the matter aren't purely from a cycling perspective either. As an inhabitant of London, I'm appalled by the environmental havoc wreaked by large numbers of HGVs, and quite frightened, frankly, by the spectacle of them charging around the place without a care in the world.

    I work in Old Street - I can see where you are coming from here ... ^

  • I love the way people keep going on about the 'small sample size' like they know anything about statistics or probablility. The samples in this case are male and female cyclists in London in a year, the deaths are observations from those samples. I can't be arsed to do the maths but getting seven deaths from the female cyclist population and one from the larger male population is going to be pretty far from the null hypothesis (ie chance).

    The Poisson distribution is about this exactly. In small samples, random distribution doesn't look random. It clusters. For example, in an infinite coin-tossing episode, there will be clusters of heads. If you look at the distribution of results close-up, you cannot tell that the chance of getting heads is actually 50-50. I don't know if I'm explaining this very well. I'm exceedingly drunk.

  • The Poisson distribution is about this exactly. In small samples, random distribution doesn't look random. It clusters. For example, in an infinite coin-tossing episode, there will be clusters of heads. If you look at the distribution of results close-up, you cannot tell that the chance of getting heads is actually 50-50. I don't know if I'm explaining this very well. I'm exceedingly drunk.

    This is what is wrong with the government's units campaign. They failed to see that drinks tend to cluster around Friday and Saturday night. Hence people posting about statistical distributions when drunk.

    I'm not sure that HGV-cyclist death patterns are best explained by the Poisson distribution, though. What are the clusters you are proposing?

  • This is what is wrong with the government's units campaign. They failed to see that drinks tend to cluster around Friday and Saturday night. Hence people posting about statistical distributions when drunk.

    I'm not sure that HGV-cyclist death patterns are best explained by the Poisson distribution, though. What are the clusters you are proposing?

    Well, the general idea is that patterns can only be observed in large samples. If we're talking about 8 fatalities and 7 of those are women, or are wearing blue shoes, or are called Sheila, then the PD says that that can't be extrapolated out to a larger sample, and therefore be the basis of any probabilistic claims, because randomness clusters. It's what it does. So you say that it can't be down to chance: well, it could be.

  • aggressive and stupid is just as dangerous as naive and stupid.

    Most people don't observe the traffic around them and make their judgements on it, they blindly, selfishly and carelessly carry on their way as they see fit without looking or allowing for hazards.

    That's cyclists, drivers, and pedestrians of both genders.

    HTFU? yeah, HTFU and start taking dangerous drivers off the road first

    +1

    yes every dangerous and illegal truck should be taken off london's streets but equally any article such as this, which is honestly gonna be read by far more people than this forum, is good. It spreads the message about how to make cycling safer
    i'm sure there's gotta be some number about how if everyone took a second longer to think or took 1% less how exponentially better off we'd all be as road users

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BBC article on cycling accidents

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