Your Car Is Killing You

Written by Boston Biker on Mar 12

And I don’t just mean from the global warming emissions. Car crashes account for millions of people killed and injured every year. More than most wars, more than terrorist attacks, more than many well known medical illnesses, so why don’t we have a war on cars?

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5 Responses to “Your Car Is Killing You”

  1. By mtalinm on Mar 13, 2010 | Reply

    Well, I feel a lot safer driving then biking (though I do the biking thing anyway). the graphic above shows that half of traffic fatalities are pedestrians, cyclists, or motorcyclists. yikes…

    In a sense, there has been a “war on cars” or at least on car safety, as fuel efficiency mandates have pushed manufacturers towards smaller vehicles. The sad truth is that smaller vehicles are simply less safe than larger ones, trading off gas mileage for lives.

    This article at Edmunds does a nice job of illuminating the problem. They point out that many people think they are buying a safe small car when it has a five-star or “good” safety rating, but these ratings are merely WITHIN-CLASS. So, a five-star-rating on a smaller vehicle doesn’t mean it’s as safe as a three- or four-star rated larger vehicle.

    That’s why I drive a large sedan (when I drive), made of aluminum to keep the weight down and improve mileage 🙂

  2. By Boston Biker on Mar 13, 2010 | Reply

    I think you missed the point, it’s not if the car is big or small, its that its a car. If big cars are safer than smaller ones, that doesn’t make much difference to the person they run into.

    As to your point about 50%, the other 50% are car drivers…so basically you point out that even in “large safe cars” you are still killing a lot of non-motorists. Not really a glowing endorsement.

  3. By cyclostat on Mar 13, 2010 | Reply

    First of all, I’m incredibly jealous of this infographic and some day I’d like to make one that looks like this.

    Secondly: The creator of this seems to have left out/ obscured some facts, and some things seems weird here.

    1) I don’t understand how “high income” and “low income” countries were defined. Wait, north Africa is high income, but all of Europe and Russia are low income? Middle and southern African are all middle income? All of South America is high income? WTF! At least define high and low income if you’re going to paint some weird, broad strokes.

    2) It’s annoying when statistics are listed by these weird high/low income and broad semi-continental distinction. I happen to have the numbers here, and our motor vehicle accidents were at 45,316 for 2006. Is this contributing evenly throughout the Americas? Might the lower income portion of the upper income “Americas” grouping be contributing more/less per capita? How much do we learn by grouping all of these disparate countries in such a way?

    3a) Why are Europe and Russia listed as having such low motor vehicle deaths, but also under the “low income” side bar, listed as having more deaths per capita.

    3b) If you’re going to switch up a the meaning of color-scheme, you need to make sure that you make this clear. Otherwise, everyone reading it defaults to the ONLY provided definition.

    4) No date on the data. Is this the most recent data available?

    Seriously guys, as an advocacy group people don’t take us (cyclists) seriously as it is. We can’t be circulating attractive, but half-assed info-graphics. We’re going to end up like NORML or, and just get a reputation for being well meaning idiots with a polemic and a bone to pick.

  4. By mtalinm on Mar 13, 2010 | Reply

    I thought that by “your car is killing you” the point was to encourage alternative forms of transportation (plane travel and, I suspect, public transit are safer) in order to save lives. my point was that we could reduce traffic fatalities by halting the propaganda war designed to entice drivers into smaller vehicles, which are demonstrably more dangerous to drive.

    but if your point is that we should “kill cars” to reduce injuries to cyclists and pedestrians, then a good place to start is with hybrid and electric vehicles. As you can read here (, hybrids are disproportionately responsible for injuries and fatalities to cyclists and pedestrians at intersections and in other low-speed situations, presumably because you can’t hear them coming.

    I suppose another solution would be to have such vehicles emit simulated external engine noise rather than take them off the road, but for now they remain a higher risk to us cyclists — not to mention the blind, see here (

    My point is we should be careful what we wish for…

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