How dangerous is cycling?

One of the biggest barriers to cycling is the perception that it’s dangerous. But is it dangerous? Public perception of risk is often quite different to real risk but it’s also difficult to change. I’m speaking from personal experience here too: I know that flying is one of the safest modes of transport but knowing this doesn’t make me any less terrified of it.

According to the CTC (The National Cycling Charity), the “risk of injury from cycling in Great Britain is just 0.048 injuries per 1,000 hours of cycling”. You’re actually more likely to be injured in your backyard than out cycling. But perhaps more importantly, the benefits of cycling far outweigh the risks and life-years gained through physical activity account for more than those lost through injuries.

To put things further into perspective, the biggest risk to health today is actually physical inactivity. That’s right, sitting in front of a computer screen is far more likely to kill you than a bicycle ride is. In fact, a sedentary lifestyle now accounts for more deaths than does smoking. It’s actually better to be fat and fit than thin and unfit. Physical inactivity is a risk factor in cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, anxiety and depression, and certain cancers. So perhaps rather than worrying about a minuscule risk of injury when cycling, we should think about the real risk of our sedentary lifestyle and get out on our bikes more often.

I took this photo of some poppies in someone’s front yard today. Aren’t they gorgeous.
IMG_1648

12 Comments

  1. Great photo, Rachel. Some interesting stats there. Amazing that a person in the UK is more likely to be injured in his/her back yard than through cycling. I wonder what the stats are in Denmark where they cater so well for cyclists.

    I watch DVDs while peddling on my stationary bike. A broken arm several years ago has made me a bit wary of moving bikes. No matter. At least I’m doing some exercise albeit not as gruelling as peddling children up hill and down dale. Your legs must have really serious muscles. πŸ™‚

    1. Did you have an accident on your bike and break your arm? A stationary bike is good exercise too and I think the risk of injury must be almost non-existent.

  2. Well, I did managed to shred my knee quite comprehensively recently whilst cycling.

    Trying to turn a sharp corner with the brakes on at speed and on gravel does not work out well. I do this so you don’t have to..

      1. Yes, but I’m meant to be a mature,responsible adult with 2 kids and a mortgage now…

  3. I too am not convinced that cycling is safe in my city.

    Thanks for showing me real poppy. I only sighted paper ones they sport around ANZAC day.

    1. Yes, I feel safe on my bike too. The only time I get a bit nervous is when I’m on the road and passing parked cars. I’m afraid of people opening their car doors because I’ve seen so many people do it without checking for cyclists.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s