walking more dangerous than cycling?

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walking more dangerous than cycling?

Postby FarOeuf » Sun Apr 06, 2014 12:50 pm

The Observer article

he makes a good point about the characterisation of 'the motorist' as both demon and victim being somewhat 'not the point'.

a quote from the article:

"In 1947, JS Dean, then president of the Pedestrians' Association, produced a robust polemic...[snipped] When else in history has humanity lived with the "foul, strange and unnatural" belief that it should be "common custom to kill and maim people because they get in your way"?"
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Re: walking more dangerous than cycling?

Postby axel_knutt » Sun Apr 06, 2014 1:13 pm

"In aviation and every other perilous occupation, regulators take human error for granted. On the roads as in the air or in nuclear power stations, you cannot just blame people for making mistakes, but should design accidents out of the system"

I've been wondering how much longer we're going to keep blaming accidents on careless road users before someone asks whether the expectation we're placing on them is realistic. The SMIDSY label just presumes that someone isn't paying attention, with no thought to the possibility that their attention may already have been attracted by another hazard.
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Re: walking more dangerous than cycling?

Postby Cunobelin » Sun Apr 06, 2014 3:16 pm

According to most of the literature cycling and walking come up at about the same risk, or with cycling being slightly less dangerous.
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Re: walking more dangerous than cycling?

Postby Bicycler » Sun Apr 06, 2014 3:27 pm

axel_knutt wrote:I've been wondering how much longer we're going to keep blaming accidents on careless road users before someone asks whether the expectation we're placing on them is realistic. The SMIDSY label just presumes that someone isn't paying attention, with no thought to the possibility that their attention may already have been attracted by another hazard.


Fundamental rule: If they can't take in all the necessary information as they are travelling along they are either travelling too fast for the conditions or they are incapable of operating their machines to an acceptable standard. Accordingly they need to either slow down or stop driving dangerous machinery.

There are some bizarre underlying ideas of god given rights to drive and proceed at a given speed which need to be challenged. Improving road design is fair enough but all roads cannot be improved and situations would arise even on the straightest, widest, most well graded roads which required use of judgement and skill, to slow and to stop where necessary. We cannot blame the roads for the inadequacies of drivers.
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Re: walking more dangerous than cycling?

Postby Cunobelin » Sun Apr 06, 2014 3:32 pm

FarOeuf wrote:The Observer article

he makes a good point about the characterisation of 'the motorist' as both demon and victim being somewhat 'not the point'.

a quote from the article:

"In 1947, JS Dean, then president of the Pedestrians' Association, produced a robust polemic...[snipped] When else in history has humanity lived with the "foul, strange and unnatural" belief that it should be "common custom to kill and maim people because they get in your way"?"


"Murder most foul" can be read in it's entirety here

.. and it a real indictment as to how little change there has been
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Re: walking more dangerous than cycling?

Postby FarOeuf » Sun Apr 06, 2014 4:03 pm

Bicycler wrote:Improving road design is fair enough but all roads cannot be improved and situations would arise even on the straightest, widest, most well graded roads which required use of judgement and skill, to slow and to stop where necessary. We cannot blame the roads for the inadequacies of drivers.


one of the problems with improving road design (as we do it), is that it nearly always leads to widenening the radius of bends, straightening out of roads with kinks or upgrading to dual carraige ways. the result of these things is simply to increase the speed of the traffic, to maintain the perceived level of risk (ie, I drive up to 'just before' the point I feel at risk). so you now have the inadequate drivers driving to the same perceived risk. but 20 mph faster (for example). and then the authorities try and artificially reduce traffic speed with cameras or speed limit signs, which many people ignore because the road itself has had the 'danger' designed out of it.

I think a situation which is an even bigger reflection of our collective failure when it comes to prioritisation of motoring is when you see people (particularly the old or the young) stuck in the middle of the road as cars drive by in both directions. sure, the pedestrian possibly shouldn't be jay-walking, but really..it's ok to maroon a genuinely vulnerable person inside a 2 metre gap between bi-directional 30mph traffic?
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Re: walking more dangerous than cycling?

Postby Bicycler » Sun Apr 06, 2014 4:35 pm

I agree about the dubiousness of many improvements. The risk compensation you note just shows how ridiculous the assertion is that the existing roads are "dangerous". The danger is posed by the driver of the vehicle, not by the people he aims to avoid hitting. "Jaywalking" is a particularly vile phrase that has no place on this side of the Atlantic.
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Re: walking more dangerous than cycling?

Postby jezer » Sun Apr 06, 2014 5:00 pm

Bicycler wrote:I agree about the dubiousness of many improvements. The risk compensation you note just shows how ridiculous the assertion is that the existing roads are "dangerous". The danger is posed by the driver of the vehicle, not by the people he aims to avoid hitting. "Jaywalking" is a particularly vile phrase that has no place on this side of the Atlantic.

Having spent a week in New York recently I can confirm the phrase is totally correct here in the UK. We must learn from the Netherlands, not the US, the latter being the past as far as transport is concerned. NY could wreck the planet all on its one by the way they use motor vehicles :shock:
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Re: walking more dangerous than cycling?

Postby mrjemm » Sun Apr 06, 2014 5:18 pm

I've only skimmed the article, but it's an interesting topic.

The references to 'jay-walking' above bring to mind being in the US, and how it seems 'jay-walking' as I understand is not nation-wide, but essentially necessary if one is to get anywhere in many places I've been to; but... is perhaps low priority safety-wise, as car use is so endemic- watching someone getting in a pick-up to go over a deserted narrow lane in a rural community (admittedly including driving down a drive of about 10m and the rain having just passed, so perhaps a risk of recurrence) being an extreme case, but more often is the case of getting from a motel to the pharmacy/store over the road means negotiating at least 6 lanes with no pedestrian crossing, no sidewalk to wait on or aim for and central reservation/island.

I don't think we're anywhere near that bad, though I have a nagging niggle in my mind telling me that somewhere I've seen a sign on a motorway warning of pedestrians crossing, and indeed there being a point where they could get onto the carriageway to 'walk' (!) across. Perhaps it was in a nightmare though...

I do think Mr BSNYC makes a more entertaining read on this matter-

http://bikesnobnyc.blogspot.co.uk/2014/ ... riday.html

Just now reading a quite entertaining book "Anarchy Archives" by Charles Stross, part of the Laundry Series, and in it, the main character struggled to cross a road a few pages back... in Amsterdam, having nearly been knocked off by a cyclist with no lights at dusk. Made me smile to myself, but I suspect Mr Stross is either taking the pee, or a bit differently minded to some of us...
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Re: walking more dangerous than cycling?

Postby FarOeuf » Sun Apr 06, 2014 5:22 pm

I didn't mean jaywalking in the US sense, not being from there :) I meant it in the sense of crossing anywhere in a sort of flimsy manner (is that the Scottish definition maybe..?). We've always called that jaywalking, and it's nothing to do with any notion of law.
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Re: walking more dangerous than cycling?

Postby TonyR » Sun Apr 06, 2014 5:28 pm

Cunobelin wrote:According to most of the literature cycling and walking come up at about the same risk, or with cycling being slightly less dangerous.


You need to be wary of those figures. The official statistics in the UK are limited to accidents involving a vehicle. So a cyclist or pedestrian hit by a car would both be included but a cyclist falling off their bike would while a pedestrian tripping over would not. If you look at what data there is on ksi from pedestrian trips and falls on the highway its about six times the ksi from being hit by a motor vehicle. So overall that makes cycling a lot safer per km than walking by about a factor six.
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Re: walking more dangerous than cycling?

Postby Bicycler » Sun Apr 06, 2014 5:57 pm

Well it's an American term (and not a particularly old one). Obviously they have laws on the subject which we don't. It's not a phrase I like to hear, firstly because people then get the impression that we do have such a law restricting where people may cross roads but mainly because I think it encourages a dismissive/hostile attitude to the most vulnerable on our roads.

mrjemm wrote:I don't think we're anywhere near that bad, though I have a nagging niggle in my mind telling me that somewhere I've seen a sign on a motorway warning of pedestrians crossing, and indeed there being a point where they could get onto the carriageway to 'walk' (!) across. Perhaps it was in a nightmare though...

It was probably one of those motorway-in-all-but-name A-roads. The big benefit of proper motorways is the obligation to provide proper facilities such as overbridges or underpasses. It is not permitted to have a path crossing them like many dual carriageway A-roads have (http://goo.gl/maps/sLBAJ). The closest you get is where motorway conditions end early and part of a slip-road or motorway link road is technically an all purpose road egs. http://goo.gl/maps/ziLy4 and http://goo.gl/maps/zbMog
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Re: walking more dangerous than cycling?

Postby mrjemm » Sun Apr 06, 2014 6:21 pm

You're quite probably right, Bicycler. I started to wonder that. I must say, your 2nd link there shows an area that is crazy for motorways and probably terrible access for pedestrians, or cyclists.
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Re: walking more dangerous than cycling?

Postby Cunobelin » Sun Apr 06, 2014 6:46 pm

TonyR wrote:
Cunobelin wrote:According to most of the literature cycling and walking come up at about the same risk, or with cycling being slightly less dangerous.


You need to be wary of those figures. The official statistics in the UK are limited to accidents involving a vehicle. So a cyclist or pedestrian hit by a car would both be included but a cyclist falling off their bike would while a pedestrian tripping over would not. If you look at what data there is on ksi from pedestrian trips and falls on the highway its about six times the ksi from being hit by a motor vehicle. So overall that makes cycling a lot safer per km than walking by about a factor six.


That is why I used the word "most". If you measure by distance or by time then the figures can change dramatically by changing the parameter.
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Re: walking more dangerous than cycling?

Postby Bicycler » Sun Apr 06, 2014 6:55 pm

mrjemm wrote:You're quite probably right, Bicycler. I started to wonder that. I must say, your 2nd link there shows an area that is crazy for motorways and probably terrible access for pedestrians, or cyclists.

Oh the big roundabout? Yeah as you can imagine that path is not likely to get much use. If the link road had been a motorway, it might have had a bridge or subway and could then have been a useful way onto the nearby retail area but hey it would have cost money. As the path there is just a footpath there's no real reason for cyclists to be up there but we have been considered. Should any cyclist or horse rider find himself on that road, he need only turn right cross two lanes of near-motorway speed traffic and go round that horrific roundabout http://goo.gl/maps/OHEeq. Thankfully there's no danger of those lycra louts pavement cycling either ;)
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