Flying is Very Safe, Busing is Safe, & Driving is Dangerous

Mission: To promote driving less so all may live more.

The safety of Planes, Trains, and Buses is stunning, relative to the risks of dying by Car.

The graph on this page was referenced in a footnote in my previous post. It deserves a post of its own. The graph is displayed below, but the original is from the National Safety Council (

Deaths by type of transportation
Deaths by type of transportation

News of the Day (Bus Fares Drop for Denver, Bicyclist Hit by Car)

Mission: To promote driving less so all may live more.

News of the Day? What day? It doesn’t matter, because the automobile news varies little for the self-propelled, including those who walk, run, bike, and require wheel chairs.

It’s been almost a year since I’ve posted on this site, a year of roads overflowing with automobiles, polluting the world with fumes, noise, and a never-ending ledger of injuries and deaths. Oil production continues in the face of climate disaster (which, by the way, has never been my motivation for this site). Electric cars (EVs), a bandage to the problem of over-individualized transportation, become more efficient while engineers, I assume, continue to search for better ways to bury or recycle the massive batteries.

But first, the good news, which, one hopes, is emblematic of changes beyond the Denver-Boulder area. A few days ago, CBS news reported: RTD approves new fare structure, will provide lower cost for adult customers. Currently the buses in the Denver area (Regional Transportation District) are free (July and August). In September, the fares resume, but have decreased from earlier this year!

Among the changes:

  • A new Standard fare ($2.75 for a 3-hour pass; $5.50 for a day pass; $88 for a monthly pass) for full-fare customers to all destinations except Denver International Airport. Airport fare, for SkyRide and A Line trips that begin or end at the airport, is $10
  • A single Discount fare ($1.35 for a 3-hour pass; $2.70 for a day pass; $27 for a monthly pass) that provides access to any RTD destination, including the airport, for seniors 65 and older, individuals with disabilities, Medicare recipients and individuals enrolled in LiVE, RTD’s income-based fare discount program
  • Zero Fare for Youth, a 12-month pilot program allowing youth ages 19 and under to use RTD services at no cost

Take that, you who have lobbied for the automobile industry at the cost of this nation’s health, beauty, and quality of life!

Today’s newsletter from The Daily Camera (a Boulder newspaper) brings the bad news. On July 29, 2023, a competitive bicyclist, Magnus White, was killed while on a training ride.

White was riding his Trek Model Emonda SL 7 bike southbound on Diagonal Highway just south of the 63rd Street intersection when he was hit by a woman driving a Toyota Matrix that had crossed from the righthand lane into the shoulder, according to Colorado State Patrol Trooper Gabriel Moltrer.

White was ejected from his bike and transported to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

The Toyota driver — identified by Moltrer as a 23-year-old Westminster woman — was the only person in the car. Drugs, alcohol and excessive speed are not suspected to have been factors in the crash, Moltrer said.

The leading factor in the crash was an automobile that was in the same space as a bike. This is, among other things, an infrastructure problem: painted lines are too easy for drivers to ignore, to cross over. Studies have shown that even modest physical barriers deter cars from crossing into vulnerable zones. Massive barriers, all the better.

Update 8/11/23: I’ve been told by a reliable source “in response to his death they are going to create a bike path from Boulder to Longmont”—protecting the self-propelled one infrastructure change at a time!

There’s nothing new about this news, except to those who knew of Magnus, described as a “rising star” in several articles. Being a celebrity of sorts (young local man headed for junior championships in Scotland), his death seems more significant, and is in terms of the attention it gets. But every human run over by a car is equally significant to someone (especially him- or herself!). And for this reason, against all the miserable infrastructure spawned by the automotive culture, I continue to protest the over-use of automobiles while inveighing the under-use and under-availability of good public transportation—another problem against which isolated individuals are powerless.

Scenarios such as the following hint at the difference between use and abuse in the automobile culture. A car makes sense when…

  • going to an off-route destination (and there are unfortunately many of these in most cities)
  • covering multiple destinations in a day, particularly with a truckload of samples, tools, or lawnmowers
  • taking a car full of people somewhere (although a bus might be more enjoyable and safer)

Public transportation, even in the expansive United States, makes incredible sense when…

  • hundreds of people are traveling at the same hour, departing from the approximate area, and arriving at the same approximate destination
  • a person wants to read, text, or sleep en route
  • one is tired of remaining in his or her social stratum and would like to mingle with God’s plenty (as Dryden termed humanity)
  • one has a fear of becoming an accident statistic [1]

Picture almost any urban freeway or highway at eight in the morning or five at night. This redundancy cries out for a transportation reformation. One element of that reformation has to be convenience—otherwise it simply will not happen. Buses and trains should be so frequent that no one need consult a schedule, knowing it will be no more than a 15-minute wait.

And this happens in places. In Germany, for example, owning a car is not common, yet everyone makes it to work in a more timely way than many Americans who drive. Many videos by Americans living in Germany emphasize their new-found love of walking, biking, and taking public transportation. Here’s one from Dana, an American from Florida living in Munich, Germany:



[1] Deaths by automobile dwarf the number of deaths/mile traveled in buses, trains, and scheduled airlines. See the graph on this page (you may have to zoom in or view the PDF of Deaths by Transportation Mode – Injury Facts).