Over the last couple of days I have been enjoying myself poking an Ant’s nest.
In this metaphor the Ants are the drivers of 4×4 vehicles and the ant’s nest is a blog called Anna Racoon.
It all started with three very different blog posts that I read fairly close together.
It seemed to me an interesting combination of posts. I mentioned this on twitter:
and started joining the comment thread on Anna Racoon: Four x Four’s To The Rescue. Well it seems that I accidentally turned myself into a big stick poking a very angry nest 🙂
Anyway I have continued in the “conversation” after all the about page says:
This web site is moderated to remove libel, naturally; but also moderated to remove brain dead comments like ‘First’, or foul mouthed rants that contain no humour or relationship to the current news. I don’t remove comments on the grounds of disagreeing with the commentator’s opinion. I like opposing views, they are a positive thing – it’s called debate!
The conversation has ranged quite widely and in places been interesting and in others frustrating.
Those who know me personally or from my original blog 42: My life, the universe and everything will be impressed that the folks at e Anna Racoon have picked up so quickly on the sort of person I am:
- “This Dave W is really poisonous — even by the standards of Socialism.”
- “Having checked out his web site Pericles, I find that he is a man of God, a Minister, a man suffused with the conviction that he speaks with the authority of God in human form.”
As I engaged with the conversation I tried to respond to comments such as:
Do you have any statistics on the number of car drivers who have died trying to avoid cyclists weaving in and out of the traffic?
Have any cyclists been banned from going anywhere near their cycles for 3, 4 or even better, 5 years after such an accident?
Do we have figures for the number of cyclists under the influence of drink or drugs?Is there a road test for cyclists before they join the trained motorists on the roads, or do they just come out of Halfords and learn as they go along?Does anybody check whether cyclists know their left from their right before they languidly put an arm out to signal that they are going in completely the opposite direction at a roundabout?
Having met a cyclist barreling down a road one way road at considerable spped and been forced to a halt as he swore at me for spoiling his fun, I have always wondered……
This encouraged me to go to the latest government statistics published in September 2010 for 2009. (pdf file here). I hope nobody is surprised to discover that the statisticians don’t present detailed figures showing that car drivers are being killed in large numbers by cyclists as further suggested by Anna Racoon:
We motorists are soft hearted fellows, and quite often hurtle into each other in an effort to avoid the sacntimonious twat in the helmet weaving about in front of us – the fact that he never gets the blame for the accident in government statistics is beside the point. We really should stop trying to avoid cyclists and stray dogs in the road, it’ll be the death of us.
I also hope that with me you do not believe this omission from the statistics to be due to a conspiracy rather than a lack of any evidence.
Anyway I found it interesting that:
From Table 23a
0 pedestrians killed by cyclists. 64 Pedestrians seriously injured by cyclists.
248 pedestrians killed by cars. 3805 pedestrians seriously injured by cars
Total all vehicles = 357 pedestrians killed. 4753 pedestrians seriously injured
That means 1.3% of pedestrians seriously injured are injured by cyclists (no cause of satisfaction for cyclists, it should be zero). However, it seems to me that this is significantly different to the way it is portrayed in the media who imply cyclists are a major hazard to pedestrians (remember zero pedestrians killed by cyclists, 248 killed by cars and 357 killed by all forms of motorised vehicles).
Also note from the report:
“Exceeding the speed limit was reported as a factor in 5 per cent of accidents, but these accidents involved 17 per cent of fatalities. At least one of exceeding the speed limit and travelling too fast for the conditions was reported in 13 per cent of all accidents and these accidents accounted for 27 per cent of all fatalities.”
So at least 27% of all fatalities have speed as a factor. I don’t think that will surprise any cyclist and I suspect many of us believe that this is under-reported in many cases.
One crumb of comfort might be had in the analysis of drink driving. My understanding of a table in that section of the report is that at night (after 10pm) 75% of pedestrians and cyclists who die on the roads are over the drink drive limit. Note these seem to be based on quite small samples.
However, I think it might suggest that the fatality figures for both pedestrians and cyclists are significantly increased by pedestrians and cyclists being killed when drunk (at least over the drink/drive threshold).
I think that means that the risk of being killed, as a cyclist who does not drink and ride, is actually lower than the total figures suggest. It surely means that drinking and riding (or walking) is perhaps more dangerous than we realise, that drivers do not take into account that cyclists and pedestrians late at night might be drunk and thus unpredictable and unsteady.
In conclusion I started to write some rather sarcastic remarks about Libertarians. However, I changed my mind and instead I simply suggest you go and observe them in their natural habitat.