Thursday, July 09, 2009

Safety In Numbers

David Harsanyi meets DOT Secretary Ray LaHood and isn't impressed with his plans to make airline travel safer:

When I asked LaHood if there was an outbreak of gruesome airline calamities that had somehow escaped my attention, he suggested I ask the relatives of those who died in a recent commuter jet accident about safety. Americans, he declared, were demanding more regulation. And he ended with a sarcastic quip, "I'm happy you feel safe."

Oh, I do. Why wouldn't I? There wasn't a single U.S. airline passenger death due to an accident in 2007 and 2008, years in which commercial airliners carried 1.5 billion passengers. If you are a skateboarder, skier, pedestrian or train rider, your chances of dying are far higher.

In both 2007 and 2008, around 700 bicyclists reportedly died on U.S. roads. This doesn't count the immense cost of other cyclist-related injuries and the unseemly sight of those preposterously kaleidoscopic tights the rest of us are exposed to.

If journalists transposed LaHood's fears about flying to cycling, newspapers would be impelled to run "blood on the streets" series weekly.

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