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imbasilical moreon
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have often wondered about the frequency of car / bike accidents in places where cycling is commonplace and part of the "normal" driving experience....

My hunch is that the proportional numbers are lower than here in USA....Prolly the same with "road rage" at cyclists too?

Maybe Philipesec and Rogger can others can comment?

b0nk
 

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I Type, Therefore I Am
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Didn't Lance Armstrong get hit one year while riding in France? I am pretty sure Jan Ulrich was hit once too, unless I am confusing the time when he hit a line of parked bikes while he was driving a car.
 

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Clyde-o-Matic
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Proportional to what? I don't have facts but I'm guess the car-bicycle accidents in Europe are a lower percentage per bicyclist or miles biked. My experience in nothern Europe is that many of the roads have bike paths completely separate of from the cars and at intersections or roads where cars/bikes share the road, the drivers are much more aware and considerate of bikes. I don't think I ever had a close call or buzz by in 2400 kilometers of riding. I probably get buzzed once a week here in U.S. I don't think it is population density or road design as much as a general attitude that bikes are just part of the normal traffic in Europe.
 

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In Germany, 475 cyclist were killed and 73,162 were injured in 2004. About 80 million people live in Germany.

Road rage happens, but rarely results in fatalities or injuries. One of the most dangerous places for bicycle riders in Germany is where a dedicated bike path crosses a busy intersection. You have to remember that the vast majority of German cyclists are shoppers, commuters and kids going to or coming from school. No helmets, sketchy bike handling skills, disdain of traffic lights, and so on.
 

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Resident Dutchbag
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In Holland were practically everyone owns a bike and there are indeed more bicycles than people, there's a huge bike infrastructure with separate bikelanes, biketunnels and bike traffic lights ect etc. Bikes are so common here that motorists are used to them popping up suddenly out of the dark without having any lights on. Road rage is rare. What you have to bear in mind as a fast cyclist is that most other people misjudge your speed as the average cyclist's speed is somewhat less than 10 MPH. Last year some 800 people died in traffic on a population of just over 16 million making the Netherlands one of the safest countries in Europe with only Malta having a better record. It sounds like paradise but the flipside is that tha bikepaths are clogged with überslow elderly couples on matching bikes with the deaf old geezer not hearing your bell or looking over his shoulder swerving to the left. Highly annoying, but mostly harmless.
 

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RoadBikeReview's Member
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It sounds like paradise but the flipside is that tha bikepaths are clogged with überslow elderly couples on matching bikes with the deaf old geezer not hearing your bell or looking over his shoulder swerving to the left. Highly annoying, but mostly harmless.
My biggest pet peeve is exactly that... "On your left" means DON'T swerve left... I figure if someone says it, it means bike in a striaght line and look straight ahead. no point in looking back...
-estone2
 

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I live in Norway- in Gunn Rita-Dahle territory rather than Tor Hushold land... and the roads have no shoulders (pretty much anywhere in the country). I recently relocated from the US, so I have a good idea what the alternate reality is like. The entire country has less inhabitants than the state I moved from- and isn't much larger than the metro region I came from. That means much less traffic.

There are too many separate paths. You can literally travel from kommune to kommune by bike paths. I would prefer that the roads were wider. Some of the mountain roads have barely one lane.

My intro to living here was that a friend's father was killed in a bike accident (with a car) a few weeks after we relocated. He was almost 80- so it does happen- but we figure it was an age-related "judgment" problem.

I have never seen so many bike commuters as I have here. Also, my first road race here went right through two major cities in the region. It isn't like in the US where they are held out in the sticks. I believe that speaks volumes about how much more cycling-tolerant the public is.

Finally, driving is treated like a skill here. It is very expensive and complicated to get a license. People generally treat driving as a privilege. Drunk driving is almost non-existent. There is a tiny fraction of SUVs here. It is very complicated to obtain commercial drivers licenses. The pace of life is slower here. People are more accustomed to sharing their space and resources with others. The differences are very cultural. Life in America seems cheap and crude by comparison.

Northern europe has a ridiculous high percentage of helmet useage. Bike commuters tend to wear real biking gear (vs. Germany or the Netherlands). This is in large part due to the climate-- but I rarely see commuters in Paris or Amsterdam wear helmets (or bike clothing).

I have had one bad experience with a motorist since I moved here November 1. In the US, I had at least one bad experience per week.

bonkmiester said:
I have often wondered about the frequency of car / bike accidents in places where cycling is commonplace and part of the "normal" driving experience....

My hunch is that the proportional numbers are lower than here in USA....Prolly the same with "road rage" at cyclists too?

Maybe Philipesec and Rogger can others can comment?

b0nk
 

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Basis is key

The big problem is getting a comparable basis. The USA has about 600 deaths per year with around 300 million population. A country like the Netherlands has 1/20th the population but a MUCH higher percentage of cyclists, and a much greater number of miles ridden in a year. Without the miles ridden factored in, you can't really compare.
 

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imbasilical moreon
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Kerry Irons said:
The big problem is getting a comparable basis. The USA has about 600 deaths per year with around 300 million population. A country like the Netherlands has 1/20th the population but a MUCH higher percentage of cyclists, and a much greater number of miles ridden in a year. Without the miles ridden factored in, you can't really compare.
factor it anyway you like,,,,,,,,,,

miles cycles vs miles driven
per capita
rural vs urban
commuter vs sport
 

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2 vivid memories..

first...Amsterdam
as was noted, bikes rule!
being a pedestrian is dangerous
crossing any street ..one quickly gets adjusted to looking in all directions before stepping out
..hear the bike bell?? freeze

2nd...Italy (Northern)
One sunday, driving quietly along a winding and fairly hilly road, between villages...->
Wow...looking at about 200 racers coming straight at us. No warning, no nothing.
Again those bikes ruled!!
m
 

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gastarbeiter
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Kerry Irons said:
The big problem is getting a comparable basis. The USA has about 600 deaths per year with around 300 million population. A country like the Netherlands has 1/20th the population but a MUCH higher percentage of cyclists, and a much greater number of miles ridden in a year. Without the miles ridden factored in, you can't really compare.
Agree with what your saying, and feel compelled to add that the OPs original question was way too general. How can you compare the US to Europe, which has 25 countries in the EU alone, not to mention the other European, non EU countries. It's all too vague.
 

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Resident Dutchbag
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Kerry Irons said:
The big problem is getting a comparable basis. The USA has about 600 deaths per year with around 300 million population. A country like the Netherlands has 1/20th the population but a MUCH higher percentage of cyclists, and a much greater number of miles ridden in a year. Without the miles ridden factored in, you can't really compare.
Oh, I forgot to say that the 800 figure is the total of fatalities, so that's motorists, cyclists, pedestrians etc.
 

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imbasilical moreon
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
so make it "un-vague" .... as a European, please put it into some kind of perspective for me .... any way you see fit is fine with me .... just trying to get some perspective on this, not going to debate or challenge.. tkx
b0nk
 

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Travels by Map
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filtersweep said:
Northern europe has a ridiculous high percentage of helmet useage. Bike commuters tend to wear real biking gear (vs. Germany or the Netherlands). This is in large part due to the climate-- but I rarely see commuters in Paris or Amsterdam wear helmets (or bike clothing).
So a fur coat isn't real biking gear? :p (A photo my mom took while in Denmark recently).
 

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Soul Mining
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My experience relates to the UK (Birmingham to be specific). I am not aware of there being more accidents, but I wasn't in a city where there were a lot of cyclists commuting and such. I believe in London quite a few cyclists get hit by cars -- there was a recent article in The Independent that talked about this -- but whether or not the figures are more per capita than North America is unknown to me.

Here is the link to the article: http://news.independent.co.uk/uk/transport/article656400.ece

Quick quotes:

"In London, trips by bike have increased by 50 per cent in five years to 450,000 per day."

"Last year, there were 328 cyclists killed or seriously injured on the capital's roads and more than 20,000 cyclists are injured every year in accidents across the country."


In my experience British roads usually have no shoulder, a higher speed limit than you would see in Canada/USA and a narrower footprint. The traffic moves a lot faster than you would expect and often passes closer than seems appropriate. Yet in spite of this I don't recall having any run-ins with British drivers during my time living in Birmingham.
 

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nate said:
So a fur coat isn't real biking gear? :p (A photo my mom took while in Denmark recently).

Denmark is as flat as the Netherlands... and probably has almost as many bike commuters- esp. on city bikes. There is nothing flat about Norway. You might see city bikes in Oslo- downtown- but they generally don't give enough gearing options, and many people ride with studded tires in the winter.
 

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The situation in the UK is quite different on the continent e.g. France, Belgium, Holland etc. In the UK, we have generally narrower roads with higher traffic densities and you do get the occassional run-in with motorists, mainly due to their inattention / ineptitude, in comparison to the deliberate 'buzzing' you get from trucks etc in parts of the US. In Europe, their is a far greater tolerance to cyclists and drivers are generally more considerate and give you room, even giving way on occassion - particularly on mountain roads where they accept that a descending bike is faster and will often pull over to let you through. Exceptions are Spain, where many have a complete disregard for their own and anyone else and have an unusually high death rates, but that said, I'd probably still rather cycle there than in many parts of the States, where there is complete intolerance.
 
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