The I.C. has been in a holding pattern for a while here as I've been busy with some editorial jobs and writing a new book about mountain biking (an in-depth how-to guide), which is coming along quite nicely. In the meantime, I've noticed that the I.C. BICYCLING RESEARCH PAGE is luring more and more vexed netizens who google up various bike-related questions and find themselves caught in our krzy web of links and downloadable articles from scholarly journals, government agencies and semi-pro axe-grinding hacks. Thanks to everyone who uses the page. Info is awesome. When you don't know anything, info can help ocver up that fact. It is better than a tweed sportjacket, but not as good as a white labcoat in that regard. Thought folks might want to check out some of the latest additions to the RESEARCH PAGE:
Building a new section of accident stats for "other road users" primarily for comparison's sake with the bike stuff, and to enable one-stop info shopping for those who need an especially thick info shield. Plus I just need somewhere to e-file this stuff. Some starters for that section:
U.S. TRANSPORTATION SECRETARY LAHOOD ANNOUNCES LOWEST TRAFFIC FATALITIES IN SIX DECADES NHTSA press release on 2009 FARS (Fatality Analysis Reporting System) data, which showed a roughly 10% decline in traffic fatalities over the previous year. Since total Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) supposedly was flat from 2008 (FHWA HISTORICAL MONTHLY VMT REPORT 1970 - 2009 People don't drive nearly as muc if they don't have job), various agencies have been given a chance to take credit. Press release contains link to FARS data.
Some older NHTSA publications about a few of my pet motorized issues:
YOUNG DRIVERS (15-20) INVOLVED IN FATAL CRASHES (pdf) NHTSA statistical summary, December 2004. Raise the driving age I say. But I know there is virtually no chance this will happen.
MOTORCYCLE RIDERS IN FATAL CRASHES (pdf) 2004 NHTSA brief analysis of moto fatalities. The fatality rate was rising even as the number of motorcyclists was skyrocketing, providing potent evidence against the popular "Safety in Numbers Theory," at least in my opinion. As I argue in The Cyclist's Manifesto, the fatality rate for motorcyclists and bicyclists is likely to rise and fall with the average age and experience of the riding population in question. The size of a given population of riders may have some effect on fatality/collision rates, but that effect will be minor in comparison. Motorcyclist fatalities went down quite a bit in 2009 along with all traffic fatalities, according to the new numbers. Another confounding factor for my theory is the fact that roughly half of motorcyclist fatalities result from single-vehicle crashes (while the vast majority of cyclist deaths involve a motor vehicle). To test this out one way or the other we would have to know, at least, the delta in the crashes involving motor vehicles.
I've been looking at a few things related to my forthcoming book The Truth About Dirt which will fit nicely in the PHYSIOLOGY section of the RESEARCH PAGE.
In case you needed an excuse to slow down on the trail:
EXTREME MOUNTAIN BIKE CHALLENGES MAY INDUCE SUB-CLINICAL MYOCARDIAL DAMAGE Abstract of 2006 article by Ortega, et al in The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness. Seemingly negative findings add to the growing pile of evidence showing really hard cycling can mess with your heart. But that's really hard cycling. And lots of it. Normal transportational cycling will not damage your heart. Quite the opposite.
THE PHYSIOLOGY OF MOUNTAIN BIKING Abstract of 2007 Sports Medicine article by Italian research team.
You may also be interested in this piece examining what happens to those dudes who try to ride those little ladder-like features on the North Shore, and fall off:
MOUNTAIN BIKING INJURIES REQUIRING TRAUMA CENTER ADMISSION: A 10-YEAR REGIONAL TRAUMA SYSTEM EXPERIENCE Abstract of study analyzing injuries presenting at Greater Vancouver area trauma centers -- North Shore -- from 1992-2002. Kim, et al, Trauma, 2006.
Some new road cycling stuff is crossing the presses. Not sure what to make of this one:
BICYCLE CRASH CASUALTIES IN A HIGHLY MOTORIZED CITY Abstract of 2010 article by Loo and Tsui, Accident Analysis and Prevention. What it's like to get run over in Hong Kong. Different than getting run over elsewhere?
The November 2010 issue of Accident Analysis and Prevention will be bicycle-themed, with several articles looking at cycling mishaps (mishaps being the subject of the journal) in various spots around the world. Here's another:
COMMUTING BY BIKE IN BELGIUM: THE COSTS OF MINOR ACCIDENTS Abstract, November 2010, Accident Analysis and Prevention.
And finally, it's good to keep sight of the big picture when looking at accident numbers. A new paper from overseas reconfirms what we already knew:
DO THE HEALTH BENEFITS OF CYCLING OUTWEIGH THE RISKS? Results from Holland, 2010, Environmental Health Perspectives. If you've been paying attention you know the answer is yes.
In sharp contrast, one could take on all the risk of cycling without the health benefit ...
ELECTRIC-BICYCLE-RELATED INJURY: A RISING TRAFFIC INJURY BURDEN IN CHINA Abstract, Injury Prevention, June 24 2010. The 1st Affiliated Hospital.
... but that would be silly.
Get a bike. Ride it hard, just not so hard that you give yourself myocardial damage.