There is an interesting article about cycling safety over on the New York Times Health and Wellness blog. There are no definite conclusions presented, but I was struck by this.
Dr. Rochelle Dicker, a trauma surgeon at the University of California, San Francisco, does not see it that way. She cares for victims of the worst bicycle injuries, people who might need surgery and often end up in intensive care. So she decided to investigate those crashes.
She and her colleagues reviewed hospital and police records for 2,504 bicyclists who had been treated at San Francisco General Hospital. She expected that most of these serious injuries would involve cars; to her surprise, nearly half did not. She suspects that many cyclists with severe injuries were swerving to avoid a pedestrian or got their bike wheels caught in light-rail tracks, for example. Cyclists wounded in crashes that did not involve a car were more than four times as likely to be hurt so badly that they were admitted to the hospital. Yet these injuries often did not result in police reports — a frequent source of injury data — and appeared only in the hospital trauma registry.
Dr. Dicker is not a cyclist, but she said, “Lots of my colleagues do not want to ride after seeing these injuries.”
When her colleagues treat people who've been mangled in vehicle collisions, do they not drive? When they treat gunshot victims, do the doctors who own guns get rid of them? Do they not swim after treating a shark attack victim? And so on.