Monday, January 22, 2007

Forecasting Fatalities

C.I.C.L.E. just posted this article from the NY Times discussing a program Carnegie Mellon University recently completed for AAA/s Foundation for Traffic Safety. After reading the article I decided to go and check out the program since it is posted online for public use. I wanted to compare the risk of fatalities for male and female bicyclists between the ages 21 and 24 (my catagory) but there was apparently no data available for the women in this age group. So I changed it to all ages and ran my search.
Looking at was was defined as the South Atlantic region including basically from Florida up to Maryland I found not suprisingly that males are more likely to be killed then females. The results that I got said that about 10 men are killed per 100 million biked miles as compared to just under 8 for women. It also said that nearly 21 men are killed per 100 million trips made by bicycle while only around 8 women are killed. Not really sure why the disparity other then the typical reason of male aggressiveness on the roads that is also associated with car driving as well.
When I looked at the results that were returned for males from 21 to 24 I was pretty shocked. The program says that for every 100 million miles biked, nearly 146 male bikers between the ages of 21 and 24 die. That's a huge difference between this age group and the overall population. I wonder if this is partially due to a higher number of males between those ages on bikes on roads and a likely very small number in other age groups such as any over 60 or so.
Nothing really profound to say about this, I'm more just passing along the information. Not sure how realiable the data, especially for cyclists even though it does come from the government databases (FARS and NHTS). I would note that the regions are pretty large and don't do much for my interest in urban cycling since they include vast rural areas as well. I would be interested in seeing the program refined to where you could limit to individual states and cities so you could get a true feeling for what the situation is that you are really riding in.
Are cyclists more likely to be killed spinning around through the city where the speed limit is 25 or out on the country roads where people fly by doing at a minimum 45? Would city cyclists have a much lower number deaths per 100 million miles since they typically ride much shorter distances on their bikes per ride? Or because they spend so much more time on their bikes using them to commute?
Now that stuff I would definitely find more interesting. That said this program was built with automobiles in mind not cyclists. Life can't be entirely perfect; not yet at least.


svaneswan said...

Did you take Econ classes in college, Kev?? =)

KMAX said...

I was econ in college... outside of rowing of course. BSBA in Economics yo!