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Examples of safety in numbers include flocks of birds and shoals of fish. In both of these instances, by being part of a large group, individuals face less risk of falling victim to predators than they would if traveling alone.
Safety in numbers is also used to describe the theory that a motorist is less likely to collide with a pedestrian or cyclist if more people walk or bicycle. A Public Health Consultant has concluded that the theory is correct, based on statistical analysis of collision data. A Cycling Transportation Engineer has disputed that conclusion, writing that the data used is insufficient to demonstrate that there is a cause-and-effect relationship.
After cycling was promoted in Finland, the number of trips increased by 72% and there was a 75% drop in cyclists deaths. Motor vehicle traffic decreased by 16%, bicycle use increased by 28% and cyclist injuries decreased by 20% after the London Congestion Charge began. While such data shows a degree of correlation, conclusions of causality may very well be based on a statistically spurious relationship.
References[edit | edit source]
- Jacobsen, P. L. (2003). Safety in numbers: more walkers and bicyclists, safer walking and bicycling. Injury Prevention 9 (3): 205-209.
- Forester, John Does Increasing the Number of Cyclists Reduce the Accident Rate?. (html) Review of Safety in Numbers.
- Saari R. (2005). Cycling policy in Finland and relevance of CBA for the policy. In: CBA of Cycling. Copenhagen, Nordic Council of Ministers, 556.
- Transport for London (April 2005). Congestion Charging: Third Annual Monitoring Report..
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