Let me say again I applaud any attempt to get more people cycling & that given the public as a whole seems to think that getting on a bike = instant death then I agee that the risks of cycling are over-exaggerated by and large.
However, the sad fact is that I did read this and thought "this is the sort of thing Wardlaw might have written" and I was genuinely slightly disappointed to turn to look at the authors and find "Oh....he has."
But even on a casual reading things like trying to take out motorway mileages: One of the points they make is that people generally commute for the same amount of time regardless of mode & that is why they prefer to measure the risk in terms of per hour. Well, an awful lot of people commute on motorways and do so for periods of less than an hour. To try to claim that motorway mileage is solely a sort of 'long duration' travel & should not be compared to cycling I would suggest is a distortion. Likewise they seek to eliminate 'high risk' activities like BMX/sportives etc from the cycling stats on the grounds it isn't transport. I would suggest that a significant source of young male car fatalities isn't 'transport' either. Racing your mates or impressing the girls by doing tricks & stunts accounts for an awful lot of late night accidents. It is using a vehicle to have fun...just like mountain biking.
I could go on, but ultimately for me, this all reads like the researchers set out to find ways to minimize the statistical risk of cycling & funnily enough they achieved it.
EDIT: I also noticed this, which I think is a bit disingenuous.
In the UK, most drivers are middle-aged adults, with almost half being female, while cycling is male-dominated and has traditionally been considered predominantly an activity of youth: 24% of serious casualties among cyclists are <20 y old, compared with 12% of serious casualties among drivers . The increased risk-taking associated with both young age and male sex are well-known and confound comparisons of cycling and driving.
Why use the phrase 'traditionally been considered' ? Is this because cycling isn't actually
predominantly an activity of youth? DfT stats show that it is the middle aged who do most miles.
What I find annoying, and I expect you do to, is the sort of assessment of relative danger which takes no account of exposure to road danger, and no account of quality of exposure. At the extreme you have the Transport Minister who recently claimed that Britain is safer for cycling than the Netherlands, since fewer cyclist die on the road. Different modes do have different exposure to risk, and different types of cyclist do too.
Another extreme of distortion, which I include to make clear my argument, is to compare road and air travel in terms of fatalities per mile. The use patterns of air travel and road travel and the miles per journey in the two modes are so different that deaths per mile is a misleading comparison. Deaths per hour might be more illuminating.
The authors of this study do not claim that it is long distance motorway travel which distorts the understanding of risk, but that any motorway travel, even shorter distance commuting, is at a higher speed, so a figure of accidents per mile gives a different impression to the rate per hour. Since faster roads encourage longer distance commuting (if the limiting factor is time, as it surely is; we only have so many hours in the day) it is mistaken to look at rate per mile when deciding which mode is safer.
You say that cycling is not predominantly an activity of male youth. Do these DfT statistics distinguish where the miles are ridden? Riding on busy urban roads is very different to riding as a sport (or sportif) activity on the country lanes used by club riders. No doubt this confounding factor arises because the most pleasant and safest riding is not in cities.
No doubt some of the damage young drivers do is done when joyriding. How much is done when driving friends for transport reasons, but nevertheless in showing off?
This paper is a much more sophisticated attempt to assess the risks than the vast majority of unsubstantiated assertions. It is open and reasoned in its working. I think it is likely to be closer to the truth than most assessments.
I don't think that the best way to make progress in assessing the risks is to discount others' efforts because you suspect motives. Argument ought to be with the substance of what they say. I'm glad my previous post has encouraged you to do that.