Battlepanda: Women are safer cyclists


Always trying to figure things out with the minimum of bullshit and the maximum of belligerence.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Women are safer cyclists


Via Marginal Revolution, a interesting web site that presents travel-related fatality statistics. (It doesn't work in Firefox, so you'll need to use that inferior web browser.)

Curious to find out what sort of risk I'm subjecting myself to by commuting by bicycle, I queried the site, selecting "Ages 25+" and "Monday-Friday" as my parameters. The overall fatality risk for cycling with those parameters is 6.24 fatalities per 100 million passenger miles, over 7 times the risk of commuting by car (.86 fatalities per 100 million passenger miles).

When you break down the fatality statistics by gender, however, men subject themselves to more risk while cycling than women do. Men aged 25+ cycling Monday-Friday have a fatality risk of 7.93 fatalities per 100 million passenger miles. That's four times the risk that women aged 25+ subject themselves to while cycling during the work week - 1.96 fatalities per 100 million passenger miles.

Are women just safer cyclists? That wouldn't surprise me if I had been looking at data for people under 25. Boys and young men are bigger risk takers than girls and young women, but I would have expected the difference to be minimized by the age of 25.

Or are women doing a different sort of riding than men, in general? Perhaps more women who bike during the week are riding for pleasure, on less trafficked roads during low-traffic hours, while more men are commuting to work, which often entails riding in heavier traffic.