In Velorution – Dismantling the car economy, celebrating bicycle culture: Spinning figures Andreas is commenting on a US report about cell phone use while driving. He comes up with one suggestion.
My problem is that the report has so many facoids taken out of context and related to each other in suspect ways that nothing can be concluded except that the paper has an agenda.
For example there is no comparison between hand held phone use and hands free. Surely there must now be some evidence from places like the UK to show whether this has had an effect (although you still do see a lot of oeople using hand held phones).
Andreas is totally right that if you are going to make statements about the value of human life then you need to show you are not simply plucking numbers out of the air. We all know that there is a valid need for such figures, they are used in many areas and they don’t do themselves any favours in articles like this by not doing it properly and by being so dismissive about 2,600 people killed each year.
As cyclists I suspect that we should be 100% supportive of using accurate statistics and accounting to make decisions about the transport infrastructure – we have nothing to lose and everything to gain as so far as I can see cycling comes out better than cars in almost anything you could try to measure: safety, health, environmental impact, speed, quality of life, flexibility, community building, economic impact. The problem is that governments, individuals and business do not follow logic very much as we make decisions. Otherwise who would smoke or …
Mind you I also want to put a much higher value on all human life than can be justified by any economic study, but that is based on theology, a form of reasoning that we avoid at very high cost.