Super-Informative Infographic: The Future of Bicycling (via WellHome)

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5 comments

  1. Disclosure: I have not owned a bicycle since I was about 12 years old. I tried riding one a few years ago. You know how they say you never forget how to ride? They lie. I do know lots of people who cycle for economic, health, and entertainment reasons.

    But I hate to see uninformative or even misinformative infographics. So let’s see how much I can rain on this parade, shall we?

    630 cyclist fatalities vs. 33,808 motorist fatalities in 2009. How is this relevant? Many fewer cycle-miles were driven then automobile-miles. Does cycling produce fewer fatalities per mile than driving? I would guess so, but they haven’t bothered to tell us (because the difference would be much less striking, presumably).

    Where do these costs per mile/day/year come from? My back of the envelope calculation finds that only about 1/4 of those costs for the automobile could be for fuel. The initial cost and maintenance of vehicles I have owned, pro-rated across the years I have owned them, comes to less than $1000 per year. More importantly, since that number is dominated by purchase price, you would only reap the savings if you can forgo owning an automobile entirely. Thus, the entire conversation is disingenuous. It would be better to compare only the cost of fuel / tires / break pads against the cost of tires / etc, but that would not produce such an astronomical difference.

    As Cities Invest In Infrastructure, Ridership Increases. This may very well be true, but you certainly can’t support that conclusion with the data presented. Actually, the data does not even seem to show correlation between the two, much less provide any evidence of causality.

    Cycling Preserves Natural Landscapes. Only if it eliminates the need for a road entirely. Most bike paths that I am familiar with either run parallel to a road or are intended purely for recreation, in which case a road would not be built there anyway.

    1. sources are listed at the bottom of the graphic, including a source for the “cost of owning a car” via The New York Times.

      The infrastructure piece, even at the anecdotal and intuitive level, makes sense. I haven’t had a chance to review the sources or see if any are listed.

      I disagree that we preserve natural landscapes only if we get rid of all roads. Don’t forget that we’re not talking about recreational bike paths only, but about commuter options. And if you consider the air we breathe to be part of the natural landscape (I do), the emissions issue is huge with respect to ground-level ozone and related pollutants.

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