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This is part of a multi-part reflection I've been doing following the death of my friend, Mark Baumer . There's nothing graphic i...

Extreme Sports: How Biking is Like Skydiving

                                            Figure A: Wiley E. Coyote skydives. 
David Hembrow explains how bicycling in English-speaking countries is like skydiving:
Skydiving is a very safe sport. In the USA in 2007 there were 2.2 million jumps and only 18 deaths of sky-divers. That's an average of a death every 122000 jumps. If you were to jump once every day you could expect to live to 334 years of age before a skydiving accident killed you.(source: USPA website)
What does this have to do with cycling ? Well, these are precisely the sorts of statistics that many cyclists like to quote 
to non-cyclists to try to encourage them to cycle in countries where there is little cycling.

                                            Figure B: Wiley E. Coyote demonstrates sharrows.

Hembrow goes on:
I share with a lot of my readers that I wouldn't willingly jump out of an aeroplane with a parachute no matter how safe I was told it was. I can see that it's thrilling, and I'm sure it is fabulous fun. However, jumping from an aeroplane offers no utility to me, and it is way past my threshold for subjective safety. Many people feel the same way about cycling.

The goal of good cycling infrastructure is to make biking into a normal activity, instead of an extreme sport.

Which brings me to another sports idea: 

The thirty miles of protected bike lanes being added in Minneapolis will cost the city just $6 million (and no doubt because the type of protected bike lanes being added are of very high quality with landscaped or concrete barriers, as the cheaper for ephemeral version can be put in for just $30,000 a mile). Can anyone think of a certain sports activity in downtown Providence that is going to set us back a few orders of magnitude more?

Nah, me neither.




  1. I quit playing baseball at age 9 because a hot grounder took a bad hop and I lost three teeth.

    Curt Schilling ran up over $100 million in debts. Because the proposed stadium should ring up about the same amount of taxpayer money, we have a perfect right to name this place Curt Schilling stadium, forever and ever. Let no one in Rhode Island except for the paid announcer ever call the stadium anything else.
    --Paul Klinkman

  2. Well, let's hope we can stop the stadium--or at least make the stadium owners pay for it. I wouldn't be against a stadium if it had to be privately developed (although I'm not a sports person). I just hate the idea that we would put tax money to it. I mean, we're kidding, right? Every time a real need comes up, we say there's no money. But there's money for that?

    I'm always just glad that no one remembers that Curt Schilling was on the Phillies too. Let them remember him as the Red Sox guy that messed everything up. . . ;-)