This is a response to an article by Andrew Biggs in the Bangkok Post called Le Tour de Death. I was going to attempt a paragraph by paragraph translation, but it was so lacking in substance and so full of straw men, I couldn’t. Instead, I present some major flaws with the article that shouldn’t have let it past the editors, and an overall counter-argument.
Firstly, what’s wrong with it? No citations of the source for any of the statistics. Basic journalism states you have to mention where you got your information from. I could claim something like “over 1,284,682 people per day eat pasta” but if I don’t cite where these numbers are from, I’m being at worse dishonest, at best careless.
Let’s move on to some counter-arguments starting with a study by the NIH.
In a nutshell, cyclists will live, on average, almost 4 years (1,200 days) longer than non-cyclists. Pollution costs 0.8-40 days to one’s lifespan and traffic accident 5-9 days. Cyclists are still overall, winning by an astronomical margin.
More facts, try the Thai Government who say that two people die in Thailand every hour due to traffic accidents. It is reasonable to conclude that less cars, less motorcycles, less accidents. Safer roads for all.
How about the CDC for the top 10 causes of death in Thailand:
Ischemic Heart Disease 12%
Lower Respiratory Infections 9%
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease 4%
Road Injuries 4%
I’ll stop here.. but the risks of Cancer, Heart Disease and Strokes are significantly reduced by cycling and Cancer, Heart Disease and Stroke combined are 41% that’s 10x the chances of dying of road injuries.
Mr. Biggs can continue to roll the dice and hope his irrational fear of cycling doesn’t inadvertently contribute to his death. I for one will continue to stack the odds in my favor by continuing my cycling activity, and in the meanwhile Mr. Biggs can thank me for playing my part in reducing congestion on the streets, and making the air easier for him to breath.
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