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Suburbia makes you fat

hornsofthedevilPerson was signed in when posted
01:51 PM ET (US)
Maybe Michael Moore should use his "talent" and resources to make a movie exploring why most of America is headed towards being morbidly obese?
it is a subject matter that is controversial AND he has a wealth of personal experience with it.
mike hartleyPerson was signed in when posted
08:13 AM ET (US)
"what would the death toll be if they had to share the roads with cars?"

Research suggests very few, if any, more than now. Off road cycle facilities are not the safety panacea which many people think- in fact many can be positively dangerous since they're usually designed by planners with little or no experience of cycling. Cycle track to road junctions are particularly bad.

Stats for the UK- where most cycling is on-road- indicate one cyclist death per 33 million km cycled, so it's pretty safe!

Very good analysis of relative safety of on and off road cycling

Some highlights include

Verkehrsunfälle mit Radfahrern
Der Polizeipräsident in Berlin. Berlin Police, Germany, 1987.

Berlin Police study 1981 to 1985.
Cyclists 4 times more likely to have accident on roads with cycle paths. Likelihood of serious or fatal injury similarly increased

Safety effects of bicycle facilities
Wegman, Dijkstra. SWOV, Netherlands, 1992.
Originally presented to Roads and Traffic 2000 conference, Berlin, 1988;
Revised version included in Still more bikes behind the dikes, CROW, 1992.

In built-up areas cycle tracks 25% safer than unsegregated road between junctions, but 32% more dangerous at junctions. Cycle lanes 36% more dangerous between junctions, 19% safer at junctions. Seriousness of accidents greater if tracks or lanes present compared with no facilities. Cycle lanes narrower than 1.8m particularly hazardous.
Outside towns, cycle track safety depends on car and cycle numbers.
New cross-town routes in Den Haag and Tilburg had produced no safety gain and had not encouraged much new cycling.

Other links

General injury stats for the UK

Health benefits of cycling
tdalyPerson was signed in when posted
12:14 PM ET (US)
"For bicyclists, Americans are twice as likely to be killed as Germans and more than three times as likely as Dutch cyclists."
This might seem shocking, but given that a lot of roads in Holland and Germany have separate cycle paths (not part of the road) - what would the death toll be if they had to share the roads with cars?
S. KingPerson was signed in when posted
11:10 AM ET (US)
It's nice to see a scientific study confirm what I've suspected all along. The new suburbs of Columbia either have no sidewalks, or have sidewalks that don't go anywhere outside the residential neighborhood (i.e. you can walk to your neighbor's house, but not to the grocery store). People drive to the mall-plex to do their shopping, drive the kids to school, drive half an hour into the city to go to work.

If you look at the brochures for these communities, they all proclaim the driving distance to various locations ("Only 5 minutes from Columbiana Centre!"), and say nothing about what's within walking distance. Walking has become planned exercise rather than a normal part of one's day.

When we bought our house, I insisted on an in-town house in a neighborhood with sidewalks. Sadly, we couldn't afford that, so settled for an in-town neighborhood with no sidewalks but plenty of stuff within walking distance if you're willing to brave the 35mph traffic whizzing by inches from your shoulder. Interestingly, during the year I've lived here I've seen more and more people are braving the traffic and walking to the grocery store, mall, bus stop, fried chicken restaurant, etc. Perhaps people are willing to walk if given an incentive and reasonably safe passage.
mike hartleyPerson was signed in when posted
07:30 AM ET (US)
More proof that car culture kills.

 I can understand that people don't really want to walk where there are no pavements (sorry, sidewalks) but is on-road cycling really so dangerous in the US?
Eli the BeardedPerson was signed in when posted
07:41 PM ET (US)
I grew up and NYC and it irritates me when intersections don't
have crosswalks on both sides. Some of them around here just
have two (for T-intersections) or three (for X-interections).
I don't ever want to live somewhere without sidewalks. I've
seen those places and know they exist, but -- ugh -- car-centric
streets are so icky.
KeefyPerson was signed in when posted
03:32 PM ET (US)
It's more related to the town structure anyway. In most suburbs, shops are centralised in one location, and you generally need a car to go there. People just don't walk anywhere, and for a lot of people, walking is the only exercise they get.
pmPerson was signed in when posted
01:12 PM ET (US)
Hacking makes you fat.
RedbirdPerson was signed in when posted
09:26 AM ET (US)
Well, this fat Manhattanite actively enjoys walking, and does quite a bit of it. Which is why I'm a fat, healthy Manhattanite (based on my doctor's remarks about my recent physical--she did not suggest I lose weight, and did praise my cholesterol level and blood pressure).

Also, 6.3 pounds is not a lot unless you're already on the border of being dangerously underweight.
Jerry KindallPerson was signed in when posted
01:24 AM ET (US)
"6.3 pounds heavier" does not constitute "fat."
Chris O.Person was signed in when posted
10:03 PM ET (US)
Or do fat people move to the suburbs? Perhaps this is only a correlation - the causality might be that fat people need the wide open spaces of the suburbs to be confortable. They might move out there to be closer to their Crispy Cream donut shops and ginormous warehouse grocery stores...

The sidewalk issue might have a similar causal chain- fat people move to suburbs, fat people don't like to walk or ride bikes as much so fat people don't put in sidewalks.
gorgarPerson was signed in when posted
06:02 PM ET (US)
"Suburbs without sidewalks?"

Ever been to the Dallas/Ft. Worth area?
jerwinPerson was signed in when posted
04:30 PM ET (US)
Many communities are designed with bike paths and sidewalks, but the curving,meandering paths are not very efficient for (say) hiking to the grocery store. If pedestrian activity is largely recreational, than a certain percentage of the population will not indulge.
ahaPerson was signed in when posted
03:25 PM ET (US)
Here's concrete proof that we should pave paradise.
UnseeliePerson was signed in when posted
02:29 PM ET (US)
Suburbs without sidewalks? There is such a thing?

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