Thursday, June 4, 2009

The NEW List: Bicyclists face long, happy lives

So, I was planning to blog today about the terrific success of the Bay Village Bike To School Challenge that Century Cycles sponsored, but then I read The Plain Dealer while eating my oatmeal this morning and saw this happy headline: "The Lists: Bicyclists face danger." Chuck Yarborough goes on to list 13 or so statistics about bicycling crashes, deaths and injuries. (I can't find it on, so no link. Oh, darn.)

Now, I like Chuck Yarborough and this is nothing against him. In fact, he even worked as a bicycle rental dude for a day last year at our Peninsula store. But if the PD is going to go with death and mayhem -- such a happy way to start the summer -- I thought it only fair to show the other side of the story. Here's MY list:

11%: Percentage upswing in bicycling from 2007 to 2008.

44.7 million: People age 7 and older who rode a bicycle more than six times in 2008, up from 40.1 million in 2007 and 35.6 million in 2006.

#2: Bicycling's spot on Outdoor Foundation's list of favorite activities among Americans age six and older. (Running/jogging was #1).

71%: Of Americans would like to bicycle more than they do now.

3: Hours of bicycling per week that can reduce your risk of heart disease, stroke and depression by 50%.

30+: The number of minutes of a round trip bicycle commute that is associated with better mental health in men.

40%: In a study of more than 30,000 people, those who bicycled to work were 40% less likely to die during follow-up, regardless of how much other physical activity they got outside of commuting.

540: Calories burned per hour of bicycling. Two-thirds of American adults are overweight or obese. Obesity costs a company with 1,000 employees $285,000 per year.

Urban cyclists are exposed to less accumulated air pollution than bus commuters.

According the federal government, biking for fun and transportation can count toward the minimum 150 minutes/week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity recommended for physical health. It is also listed as the safest way to get physical activity.

Sources: Multiple, gathered by the League of American Bicyclits, NABD, NSGA, and other alphabet soups.


  1. Excellent, Tracey! Take that, you cycling naysayers!! :P

    I'm glad to know that I burn roughly 1080 calories every time I cycle (since I generally ride for a couple of hours). Maybe more when I climb a nasty hill! You know what that means? I can drink MORE BEER!

  2. Interesting facts, Chuck, but how does cycling compare to other ways of getting around?

    Let's look at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's reporting.

    In 2007, for example, for every cyclist killed, it looks like 43 motorists died in accidents. Driving a car is a lot more dangerous!

    Oh, but what about the total number of drivers and total number of cyclists? Well, if we assume that there are approximately 62 million registered cars in the US (WikiAnswers) and 30,000 fatalities a year (on average), then we're looking at about 0.05% chance of being in a fatal accident. Doesn't seem so bad, does it? And from the story above we know that at least 44.7 million people hopped on a bike last year, but fewer than 800 were in fatal accidents -- only 0.002%. (560 of those 800 involved motor vehicles striking the cyclist according to the NHTSA.) So getting into a car still seems to be at least 25 times more dangerous than getting on your bike, not to mention that getting into your car appears to endanger other cyclists. How about reporting some of these numbers Mr. Yarborough?!?!

  3. The column is online now:

    No comments section available, but you can send e-mail to or call 216-999-4534.

  4. My brain hurts from too many numbers. Let's ride!

  5. Right on, Chris. Chucky boy here seems to be fear mongering. Like when the nightly news tells you that you shouldnt drink milk cuz two people died from drinking some.