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Severe injuries : roadbike vs mtb

I've dropped my longtime mtb buddies since they all evolved into hardcore enduro/DH from a much more safe and healthier xc/trail when we all started few years ago. They are all into their early to mid 40ies and they keep competing in serious enduro stuff. Going back home with a broken wrist or ribs seems like normal and acceptable for them. I'm 100% road biking now and I always come home safe and skinnier,although in my region the once/twice a year road cyclist that gets hit and hurt( or killed...) by a car is the rule.
To make a story short : out of curiosity is there any statistics about road vs mtb accidents ?
 

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Adorable Furry Hombre
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Funny, there are threads on MTBR about roadie cycling being more dangerous. It is all about how you look at it. There aren't very many studies on the topic....but this one is good based on data from Alberta Canada: Severe street and mountain bicycling injuries in adults: a comparison of the incidence, risk factors and injury patterns over 14 years

In their trauma center, they saw significantly more "street" injuries than MTB injuries...however the majority of on-road injuries were due to car accidents.
 

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Interesting. If you accept that the plural of anecdote is data then I believe road cycling is more dangerous. Was going to say that I personally don't know any cyclists hit by cars but this just happened to a Strava acquaintance. He's doing OK, albeit off the bike for a while.

https://www.strava.com/activities/513733666
 

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Much of the risk depends on how you ride. If you ride within your abilities and pay attention to your surroundings you're much less likely to get injured. That's true for road, mtb, motorcycling, skateboarding, etc.

I think that the chance of injury may be higher off road (again, very much depending on how you ride) while on road the injuries are less frequent but more serious due to higher speeds. But of the group I regularly ride with, all masters with 20-40 years of riding at a high level and lots of miles, no one's been hit by a car. I've heard of people locally who have been hit but we have many hundreds of serious riders here.

Even if you are careful you are more likely to get injured cycling than if you stay home on the couch. That's not really living though.
 

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I've dropped my longtime mtb buddies since they all evolved into hardcore enduro/DH from a much more safe and healthier xc/trail when we all started few years ago. They are all into their early to mid 40ies and they keep competing in serious enduro stuff. Going back home with a broken wrist or ribs seems like normal and acceptable for them. I'm 100% road biking now and I always come home safe and skinnier,although in my region the once/twice a year road cyclist that gets hit and hurt( or killed...) by a car is the rule.
To make a story short : out of curiosity is there any statistics about road vs mtb accidents ?
I think on MTB it has more to do with the risks you CHOOSE to take and how often you step outside of your skillset. With road, dumb luck (getting hit by a car) can take you out.

My experience shows that it's easier to get a little hurt (bumps, bruises, small cuts) and you'll probably get hurt more often on MTB, but if you get hurt on road, it'll probably be worse (road rash, death). Crashing at 40mph on pavement or getting hit by a car is going to mess you up way worse than crashing at 10mph into dirt.

Riding mountain there are more hazards--rocks, slippery terrain, jumps, wild animals, poison oak, etc, but on road you are moving faster and the threats (cars) are bigger.
 

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Much of the risk depends on how you ride. If you ride within your abilities and pay attention to your surroundings you're much less likely to get injured. That's true for road, mtb, motorcycling, skateboarding, etc.

I think that the chance of injury may be higher off road (again, very much depending on how you ride) while on road the injuries are less frequent but more serious due to higher speeds. But of the group I regularly ride with, all masters with 20-40 years of riding at a high level and lots of miles, no one's been hit by a car. I've heard of people locally who have been hit but we have many hundreds of serious riders here.

Even if you are careful you are more likely to get injured cycling than if you stay home on the couch. That's not really living though.
That isn't what the few stats available say.

Of serious injuries requiring medical care, the leading cause (30%) of road injuries was being hit by a car....which is mostly independent of ability or paying attention to surroundings, you can be doing everything completely correct and get t-boned by a careless driver. I had that happen to me, fortunately the driver was going slow enough that body and bike didn't get hurt.
 

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being hit by a car....which is mostly independent of ability or paying attention to surroundings, you can be doing everything completely correct and get t-boned by a careless driver. .
Paying attention includes paying attention to traffic. You have some agency. It's not completely random. Yes you can be doing everything right and still get hit, but a rider who does not pay attention to their surroundings is more likely to get hit than one who is aware.

This is one of the many problems with applying statistics to something like cycling injuries. So much depends on how aware the rider is, and that's difficult to measure.
 

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While road cycling injuries may be more severe due to the presence of cars, it seems that MTB injuries would take longer to be addressed. It's harder to get help when you're alone on a trail in the middle of nowhere.
 

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Paying attention includes paying attention to traffic. You have some agency. It's not completely random. Yes you can be doing everything right and still get hit, but a rider who does not pay attention to their surroundings is more likely to get hit than one who is aware.

This is one of the many problems with applying statistics to something like cycling injuries. So much depends on how aware the rider is, and that's difficult to measure.
True, OTOH if you're riding in traffic you'd better be riding defensively or your life expectancy is going to be incredibly short. Meanwhile our friends the rolling-couch operators are getting more careless by the year.

Myself I got t-boned like I said. I was witness to another guy riding the MUT/sidewalk that followed a 4-lane arterial with a deserted mini-mall parking lot on the other side. Well a hotshot kid decide he'd show his girlfriend and gunned it around the parking lot squealing his tires and raced into the driveway without stopping or looking or slowing....guy on the bike was t-boned and thrown 20 feet into the arterial.

It is illegal here to text or talk on the phone and drive...but every damned car driver has a phone in their hand if you look. No one ever gets stopped for it.
 

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I've done both, started out doing mtb and enduro (before the term "enduro" was invented). IMO, mtb is MUCH safer.

Now, if you're talking about the crazy "free riders" doing ridiculous stunts or Red Bull stuff, then yeah you'll bound to get broken bones at some point. But this is something you choose to do. You have control in the level of risks you're willing to take.

Rarely do I hear of anyone getting killed in mtb though. Can't recall the last time I even heard it. On the road, I see quite a number of ghost bikes, a chilling reminder of the risks and vulnerability of road cyclists. Bottom line, road cycling is more a dangerous activity IMO

On the road, especially at high speed, you're much less in control. You have cars to deal with. You have other riders to deal with. You have dirt/grease on the road to deal with. A lot of these are something you have no control over. And this makes it much more dangerous. A typical fall at 20-25 mph on the road will do much more damage to your face and body and equipment than a botched 3' drop on the mtb trail.
 

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While road cycling injuries may be more severe due to the presence of cars, it seems that MTB injuries would take longer to be addressed. It's harder to get help when you're alone on a trail in the middle of nowhere.
Good point. In the end you can get injured or worst killed by doing both so just pick the one you prefer or do both if you like. What I am trying to say is that there is a risk involved in any activity, just take the necessary precautions and you should be fine.
 

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Mountain bikes are MUCH safer. The cars are one thing but also even when racing and you take cars out of the picture the mountain bike puts you in control. In criterium or road racing some dork can take down a lot of the field by picking a bad line or overheating in a corner. Stupid stuff causes riders (even pros) to cross wheels and hit the deck at 30+ MPH.

On the MTB the only person you really need to worry about is yourself.
 

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I just try and ride smart, pay attention to my surroundings, watch, listen and not think about injury. Stuff happens, but dwelling on the "what ifs" can just cause fear and hesitation, and that isn't conductive to enjoyable cycling.
 

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I have only ridden road bikes. In my opinion every time I make it home I am grateful. Do not take it for granted nothing can happen. Always say goodbye to your family etch when you leave as silly as that my sound. Freaky things happen and when its your time the big one could happen. Just think about what happen to the Giant Pro Cycling team almost all killed because car drive right into them, when its time its time no amount of precaution can eliminate every incident that can happen. Where I drive roads are very tight with cars within elbow distance because people just will not respect cyclists. Here I drive defensively by taking a lane in road if I feel there is to much traffic and cars are not respecting my distance but this causes issues because you hold traffic up and road rage comes a factor. To litigate this I try to ride as early as possible less traffic. So, car vs bike bike vs dirt ground you decide what your odds are. Some people ride their whole life and never hit the deck wish I was that person. Safe riding!
 

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I've done both, started out doing mtb and enduro (before the term "enduro" was invented). IMO, mtb is MUCH safer.

Now, if you're talking about the crazy "free riders" doing ridiculous stunts or Red Bull stuff, then yeah you'll bound to get broken bones at some point. But this is something you choose to do. You have control in the level of risks you're willing to take.

Rarely do I hear of anyone getting killed in mtb though. Can't recall the last time I even heard it. On the road, I see quite a number of ghost bikes, a chilling reminder of the risks and vulnerability of road cyclists. Bottom line, road cycling is more a dangerous activity IMO

On the road, especially at high speed, you're much less in control. You have cars to deal with. You have other riders to deal with. You have dirt/grease on the road to deal with. A lot of these are something you have no control over. And this makes it much more dangerous. A typical fall at 20-25 mph on the road will do much more damage to your face and body and equipment than a botched 3' drop on the mtb trail.
I agree with this. I've had many crashes on mountain bikes with several ruptured camelback bladders (like landing on a waterbed). Only one or two emergency room crashes with my riding partners and none with me.

Road riding I've had three helmet breaking/crushing crashes-- one tube explosion in a hairpin, one rolled tubular in a hairpin, and a freak crash that I had no idea what had happened until I came to and the woman standing over me explained what she thought had happened (just finished a two day stay at the hospital as they try to figure out why my respiratory system is still effed up four weeks later).

Dirt and brush are softer than pavement and guardrails and speeds are typically slower with MTB. Also, the perceived danger is disproportionately higher on narrow MTB descents and that tends to cause a bit more caution.
 

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mtb is safer. cars are big, heavy, fast metal monsters. you have to essentially look at what a rider is going to crash on. you can still break your neck and die doing either, but if i am going to go down, i'd rather take my chances with rocks and dirt. having said this, i ride almost all road because i was crashing too much on my mtb and it takes its toll at my age (49). it wasn't a matter of staying within my skill set. the whole point for me was to push the envelope and my skills. i didn't go down all that much, but it happened. if i do ride mtb these days, i no longer push things, but even so, it's easy losing your wheel or just going down unless the trail is pure groomed vanilla.
 

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mtb is safer. cars are big, heavy, fast metal monsters. you have to essentially look at what a rider is going to crash on. you can still break your neck and die doing either, but if i am going to go down, i'd rather take my chances with rocks and dirt. having said this, i ride almost all road because i was crashing too much on my mtb and it takes its toll at my age (49). it wasn't a matter of staying within my skill set. the whole point for me was to push the envelope and my skills. i didn't go down all that much, but it happened. if i do ride mtb these days, i no longer push things, but even so, it's easy losing your wheel or just going down unless the trail is pure groomed vanilla.
This^^^^
You are in control in mtb. Road......you have to hope that car's driver sees you and acts accordingly.

Your challenge in mtb is going faster both up and down.

I race enduro and I don't consider coming home with a broken wrist acceptable. Even if you won, you are still going to be dusted by a 25 yr old pro. (like I was). So, coming home with a good race you had fun in is a win. Coming home busted up and not riding for 6 weeks is loss IMHO
 

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I should create a calendar reminder to dredge this thread in ten years when self-driving cars are more common. I'm interested to know if they will reverse the consensus of this discussion.
 

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I should create a calendar reminder to dredge this thread in ten years when self-driving cars are more common. I'm interested to know if they will reverse the consensus of this discussion.
Not much will change in 10 years, probably.

The Toyota Prius has been around for nearly 20 years (went on sale in 1997). It has a market penetration of <2% of consumer vehicles on the road. AFAIK, ALL hybrid and plug-in LEVs combined barely break 2% of cars on road in the USA. Why? Because for most people it isn't economical, it takes 1-2 decades of high gas prices for the sticker cost of a Prius to amortize depending on miles driven and gas cost. The Volt famously didn't sell well for one simple reason-price. Volt was too damned expensive.

When self-driving vehicles are allowed to be legal they are more-than-likely going to be priced in the Volt-Tesla range more likely than not. Which means consumers, who are the primary offenders of distracted driving, can't or won't be able to afford them. However there's a MASSIVE market of people who will pay ANY price for self-driving vehicles.....FedEx, UPS, Pizza-Hut, Domino's...ANYone who employs delivery drivers will happily fire those humans and replace them with a machine. That is 3,000,000 humans made unemployable easily-with the money saved by corporate funneled offshore.


In 10 years distracted driving will be worse than it is now...because self-driving cars won't be affordable to the masses.
 

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Not much will change in 10 years, probably.

The Toyota Prius has been around for nearly 20 years (went on sale in 1997). It has a market penetration of <2% of consumer vehicles on the road. AFAIK, ALL hybrid and plug-in LEVs combined barely break 2% of cars on road in the USA. Why? Because for most people it isn't economical, it takes 1-2 decades of high gas prices for the sticker cost of a Prius to amortize depending on miles driven and gas cost. The Volt famously didn't sell well for one simple reason-price. Volt was too damned expensive.

When self-driving vehicles are allowed to be legal they are more-than-likely going to be priced in the Volt-Tesla range more likely than not. Which means consumers, who are the primary offenders of distracted driving, can't or won't be able to afford them. However there's a MASSIVE market of people who will pay ANY price for self-driving vehicles.....FedEx, UPS, Pizza-Hut, Domino's...ANYone who employs delivery drivers will happily fire those humans and replace them with a machine. That is 3,000,000 humans made unemployable easily-with the money saved by corporate funneled offshore.


In 10 years distracted driving will be worse than it is now...because self-driving cars won't be affordable to the masses.
I think you're comparing apples to oranges by referencing hybrids and EVs. Both of these have become more affordable over time as the production increases. Now you can get a Prius for barely more than a traditional gas sedan. While the entry barrier to self-driving cars is currently expensive, it's going to get more affordable in the next decade.

I think the masses will be eventually goaded towards adopting self-driving cars even if they are still more expensive than what we have now (when adjusted for inflation). When families go car shopping they often value two things: space and safety. Self-driving cars will be a huge selling point in the safety department, particularly for families with small children. Also, insurance premiums will be a concern. Since insurance carriers exist to make a profit, I predict they will start raising premiums on normal cars to motivate people to buy self-driven ones, because from a risk standpoint normal cars are a huge financial liability.

Regarding your comment about lost jobs, is this a big surprise? Automation has obsoleted humans for decades and will continue to do so. The fact we recognize this ten years in advance means none of us have an excuse when the day of reckoning arrives and we're out of a job.

As a final note, we're seeing road cycling on the rise, and we are slowly seeing legislation catch up to it. In another ten years it's certainly plausible there will be legislation surrounding self-driving cars versus normal ones and the criminal penalties associated with injuring bicyclists by either.
 
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