Public Service Announcement

Until about two years ago, nobody really cared about the CDC. Now, everyone has an opinion about them, and no matter where you happen to stand on matters of public health it’s almost certainly negative. In this sense, the CDC is the Bill de Blasio of government agencies–universally derided by people of all stripes.

But what do they say about bikes? What information do the people tasked with keeping Americans healthy have for the safety-minded velocipedist who aspires not to die? Well, I checked the CDC website’s bicycle safety section, where I learned you’re more likely to die on a bike than in a car:

This is hardly surprising, since of the remaining 99% of travelers, many are in cars–you know, the things that are hurting and killing the cyclists. So, the first takeaway is simple: for maximum safety, be in a car. That way you’ll save lives and money!

Unfortunately, as long as people insist on riding bikes, the problem will persist:

I tend to question the accuracy of this data, since as a cyclist myself I know how little we contribute to society, and even if you took the whole lot of us out of commission there’s no way we’d make a $10 billion dent. Then again…

Think about it: John Kerry is now the Climate Czar of the United States, and if he were to find himself incapacitated once again it could mean not only a huge financial loss but potentially the end of human life on Earth, since he wouldn’t be able to fly to the climate events that are the only thing keeping us alive at this point:

I wonder how many Serottas he had to buy to offset the flight to Iceland. I’m pretty sure if you take a private jet to a Gran Fondo the two things cancel each other out.

And yes, obviously the many health benefits of cycling should be applied against the potential cost of cycling injury and death to society, and you can be sure the CDC included this as well:

As far as the cyclists most at risk, as with pretty much every other activity, it’s drunk males:

I’m not surprised to read that males die six times more often than females; I died at least three times just on my quick bike ride to the post office today, but fortunately I lived to tell about it.

But even if you’re a drunk male like me all is not lost; the CDC has some ways you can reduce that risk, and they don’t even involve doing inconvenient things like changing your gender or being sober:

Can you guess what they are?

Just kidding!

You already knew it was going to be helmets–though they also go the extra American Freedom Mile™ by claiming helmet laws make cyclists safer::

Where can I go to report them for health misinformation?

Not only that, but helmets and helmet laws are “Effective Interventions,” while using lights and designing better roads are merely “Promising:”

Yeah, if you’re ever forced to choose between wearing a helmet and using a light on your bike, do yourself a favor and choose the light. (The roadway engineering measures are probably more effective than both those things but it’s not like that’s something you can do yourself on the way out the door.)

That last bit linked to The Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center, where my suspicions that we’re being subtly primed for a complete robot takeover were immediately confirmed:

There were also some videos on how to prevent crashes:

Like this one about the right hook:

I don’t want to be That Guy, but shouldn’t a safety video make at least passing mention of the fact that a good way to avoid collisions is to equip your bike with a brake?

Of course he does have the helmet, so that’s all that counts.

Anyway, apart from that I had real no real issues with the video, which even featured some amateur stunt riding:

In fact it was quite clear from the video that the key to bicycle safety is…motor vehicle safety.

Sadly, I don’t think our government agencies are getting the message:

Hey, just put helmets on the corpses! Problem solved.

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