It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.

Please white-list or disable in your ad-blocking tool.

Thank you.


Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.


Seatbelt Laws Cause More Pedestrian And Cyclist Deaths

page: 1The

log in


posted on Mar, 9 2010 @ 11:55 PM
From my personal blog Fascist Soup

While listening to a lecture on economics by Robert P. Murphy, he made note that economists actually found that seatbelt laws INCREASED fatalities among the general population.

I found this claim to be fairly incredible so I had to investigate for myself.

Of course, the information was buried amid a torrent of statist agitation, but I managed to find studies that backed up Murphy’s claim.

What happens is seatbelt laws cause drivers to drive more aggressively. Because drivers feel safer with quick acceleration and breaking while wearing seatbelts, accident rates actually increase.

All of the statist agitprop that calls for mandatory seatbelt laws only looks at deaths saved by calculating the accident rate compared to the fatality rate of vehicle occupants. This gives the misconception that seatbelts actually save lives, when indeed the exact opposite is true.

While it is true that you are much more likely to survive a car accident while wearing a seatbelt, the additional risk drivers take increases accident rates which wipes out any gains made by saving lives through mandatory seatbelt laws. In addition to this, it drastically increases fatalities of cyclists and pedestrians – all due to the increased risk taking of drivers.

When looking at society as a whole, seatbelts actually increase the number of fatalities involving motor vehicles.

This article in the British Medical Journal highlights the key findings:

Cyclists were the only group of road users in Britain whose death rate increased sharply during the 1990s,1 yet cycling was in decline throughout the decade.2 How could this happen, when attention on casualties was the most intense in the history of the bicycle? Perhaps a vision of the near future will be instructive . . .

It is worth pausing here to consider the meaning of “road safety.” The roads can get more dangerous, yet total deaths still fall. Compulsion to wear a seatbelt cut deaths among drivers and front seat passengers by 25% in 1983. But in the subsequent years, the long established trend of declining deaths in car accidents reversed, and by 1989 death rates among car drivers were higher than they had been in 1983. Evidently the driving population “risk compensated” away the substantial benefits of seatbelts by taking extra risks, putting others in more danger. This period saw a jump in deaths of cyclists (fig ​(fig1).1). Although temporary, the jump can be explained fully only by cyclists having adapted to a more dangerous road environment through extra caution, retreat, or giving up. Is it coincidence that the long decline in cycling began in 1983?

Between 1974 and 1982 cycling mileage in Britain increased 70%, but there was no increase in fatalities until the seatbelt law was introduced in 1983 (fig ​(fig1).1). The more cyclists there are, the more presence they have, the less individual danger there is. This truth is confirmed by experience in the Netherlands and Denmark, where cycling is far safer despite a tradition of segregation. All road users should gain. Pedestrians benefit because (skilful) cyclists are little threat to them and because a large increase in cycling should reduce traffic speeds and thus risks to all. Then there are the health benefits.

Economist John Semmens writes:

The plausibility of the aggressive driver hypothesis cries out for more research. For example, Hawaii, the state with the most rigorously enforced seat belt law and the highest compliance rate in the nation, has experienced an increase in traffic fatalities and fatality rates since its law went into effect in December 1985…

A recent statistical study of states with and without seat belt laws was undertaken by Professor Christopher Garbacz of the University of Missouri-Rolla. This study seems to support the altered driver behavior hypothesis. Dr. Garbacz found that states with seat belt laws saw decreases in traffic fatalities for those covered by the laws (typically drivers and front-seat passengers), but increases in fatalities for rear-seat passengers, cyclists, and pedestrians. Further, the patterns of changes in total traffic fatalities among the states showed no consistent relationship with the existence of a seat belt law in the state.

Robert Murphy’s lecture where he mentions the seatbelt statistics:

posted on Mar, 10 2010 @ 01:58 AM
This I can understand.

Having ridden motorbikes and driven cars (before seatbelt laws and after) I have to agree with the findings.

Riding a motorbike gives you so much more awareness of the road, you are far more protective of yourself and cautious of other road users. Not wearing a seat belt in a car gives you the similar imagery in your mind about what would happen if you had a head on collision (over the handle bars or through the windscreen).

I have always felt that everyone who wishes to drive on the roads should do at least 6 months, minimum, on a motorbike before being allowed into a car.

The lessons you learn from riding bikes increase your road knowledge, and IMO, make for far better car drivers.

But that may never happen as it is far easier to make a law (from which fines can be gained) that makes seat belts compulsory.

Perhaps this is why speed cameras were put in place evrywhere too.. It may have been discovered much earlier on that car drivers had sped up and took increased risks due to having to wear seat belts, so again, another money trap was found and exploited.

Correct education and real life experience far outweigh any enforceable law created by TPTB who think they know what they are doing..
Money obviously speaks louder than overall safety.

posted on Mar, 10 2010 @ 09:34 AM
The British study concluded that not only did pedestrian and cycling fatalities spike right after the seatbelt law, but that the gradual decline in pedestrian and cyclist deaths that followed was due to less people participating in the sport due to the dangerous road conditions created by the seatbelt laws.

This is compounded by helmet laws for cyclists and joggers, since no one wants to look like an idiot while riding a bike around or jogging.

So, not only do seatbelt laws lead to more deaths, they also contribute to a fatter population since they cause less people to take up riding bikes or jogging due to the hazardous road conditions.

If you look at the recent study put out by the World Health Organization on road safety, you can see them scratching their heads wondering why death rates have remained steady or increased after seatbelt laws were put in place.

The WHO seems to think more laws will solve the problem, but that's because their economists are a bunch of Keynesian idiots.

Less laws make society safer.

I would argue that if we only had laws against murder, rape, assault, theft, and fraud, we would be far safer as a society than the 60,000 pages of pointless laws we have on the books now.

[edit on 10-3-2010 by mnemeth1]

posted on Mar, 10 2010 @ 03:41 PM
I said to a friend this evening that they will probably make it illegal to be a pedestrian.

Pedestrians dont buy petrol, dont need road tax or insurance.

I wonder when it will be required that all pedestrians must wear high vis vests and hard hats. Oooops.. better not give them any ideas.

They are making things more complicated and it is costing them. Costing them money and the lives of the innocent, yet they carry on regardless.

How the police would react to such data? seeing as it is them that are told to enforce such laws.


posted on Mar, 10 2010 @ 03:51 PM
Interesting thread, thanks for sharing.

As someone who used to attend traffic accidents on a daily basis, i have to say i'm glad they were introduced, it saved me from attending more fatalities than i already did.

That said, as an ex motorbike rider, you do have a different awareness when you are on a bike and maybe that is indeed due to having nothing to protect you.


posted on Mar, 10 2010 @ 04:26 PM

Originally posted by CX
Interesting thread, thanks for sharing.

As someone who used to attend traffic accidents on a daily basis, i have to say i'm glad they were introduced, it saved me from attending more fatalities than i already did.

That said, as an ex motorbike rider, you do have a different awareness when you are on a bike and maybe that is indeed due to having nothing to protect you.


Yeah, but how many pedestrian, motorcycle, and bicycle accidents did you end up going to because a driver was driving more recklessly than he otherwise would have been due to his seatbelt?

That's the part you don't see.

posted on Mar, 10 2010 @ 04:31 PM
reply to post by CX

Do you remember the leg protectors TPTB proposed for motorbikes...and then the air bags..

May as well have a seat belt too and four wheels.

On a bike, you have the choice of throwing yourself clear.. In a car you could end up trapped and burn to death, or drown.

In a car you have the choice of how loud your stereo goes so you can't hear the motorbikes roaring past you. On a bike you can't hear much of anything except wind rush and the engine, oh and car stereos.

On a bike you can twist and turn to get an almost 360 degree view of everything around you.
In a car you are restricted by your seat belt, must rely on three mirrors and always remember your blind spots.

Seat belts should be an optional choice. Every biker puts their life in the hands of others when they ride.. Bikers tend to hope the car drivers around them have seen the biker, yet the biker must always assume the car driver hasn't.

posted on Mar, 10 2010 @ 04:32 PM
Simply being in a car makes for an aer of invincibilty compared to folks on bikes or motorbikes. Having some massive SUV doesn't help matters any. Drivers are a reckless and selfish people out of touch with the real world.

Everyone who drives should as a matter of perspective get on a bike and pedal the same roads they commute on. After the ride I guarantee they'll be a better driver.

Posted Via ATS Mobile:

posted on Mar, 10 2010 @ 04:36 PM
reply to post by mnemeth1

So in other words, the demographics changed, but overall deaths went down.

Insidious, absolutely insidious

posted on Mar, 10 2010 @ 04:47 PM
reply to post by TheWalkingFox

He never said it was a scheme or a devious plan. Where are you getting this from?

It's very interesting information, and it's quite revealing. I can relate to this, because I've known many people that drive whom have no idea what safety is, and have no perception whatsoever.

I've also noticed that people who would regularly ride bicycles as a child and into their teens, were more aware on the road. All my friends that either pedaled bikes, still do today and/or ride motorcycles today, are very safe drivers, or at least far more aware of themselves and others on the road.

Then you have people that just jump onto the road for the first time, who have never had to learn to be aware on a bicycle and such, strap themselves in and just hit the gas, listen to their overly loud stereo surround and talk on their phones. They never kill or maim themselves though, it's always others.

posted on Mar, 10 2010 @ 05:01 PM

What happens is seatbelt laws cause drivers to drive more aggressively. Because drivers feel safer with quick acceleration and breaking while wearing seatbelts, accident rates actually increase.

Irresponsible Drivers and the general attitude towards driving cause accidents, not seatbelt laws or wearing a seatbelt.

Cyclists were the only group of road users in Britain whose death rate increased sharply

One reason, there are more cars on the road than before...

The laws are there for one reason, to help prevent the loss of life in road traffic accidents. I suppose crumple zones airbags and ABS create more accidents too, people drive aggressively because they are either in a rush, think they are a better driver than the person they are racing, or the simply think they are invincible.

I have a thread on the importance of waring a seatbelt, here is one small video clip that says it all in my opinion.

No its not full of gore...

and the thread....

[edit on 10-3-2010 by NotAgain]

posted on Mar, 10 2010 @ 05:10 PM
It is quite daft when you look at it all from a bit of a distance..

The car and oil companies want you to buy and use a car, the governments do too... cars are a massive financial return.

In order for them to get more for their money, they seem to use more laws to stop more accidents and deaths. But it is apparent that these laws are focussed upon cars and drivers, not bikers, pedestrians or other road users.

Here's some interesting bits of info;

As the factors involved in collisions have become better understood, some organizations have begun to avoid the term "accident," as the word suggests an unpreventable, unpredictable event and disregards the opportunity for the driver(s) involved to avoid the crash. Although auto collisions are rare in terms of the number of vehicles on the road and the distance they travel, addressing the contributing factors can reduce their likelihood. For example, proper signage can decrease driver error and thereby reduce crash frequency by a third or more.[4] That is why these organizations prefer the term "collision" rather than "accident".

However, treating collisions as anything other than "accidents" has been criticized for holding back safety improvements, because a culture of blame may discourage the involved parties from fully disclosing the facts, and thus frustrate attempts to address the real root causes.[5]

"the feeling of being confident in more and more challenging situations is experienced as evidence of driving ability, and that 'proven' ability reinforces the feelings of confidence. Confidence feeds itself and grows unchecked until something happens – a near-miss or an accident".

It can safely be said that many places which look dangerous do not have accidents, or very few. Conversely, a location that does not look dangerous may have a high crash frequency. The reason for this is simple. If drivers perceive a location as hazardous, they take more care and there are no accidents. Accidents happen when hazardous road or traffic conditions are not obvious at a glance, or where the conditions are too complicated for the limited human machine to perceive and react in the time and distance available.

This phenomena has been observed in risk compensation research, where the predicted reductions in accident rates have not occurred after legislative or technical changes. One study observed that the introduction of improved brakes resulted in more aggressive driving,[15] and another argued that compulsory seat belt laws have not been accompanied by a clearly-attributed fall in overall fatalities.

Research has shown that, across all collision types, it is less likely that seat belts were worn in collisions involving death or serious injury, rather than light injury; wearing a seat belt reduces the risk of death by about two thirds.[32] Seat belt use is controversial, with notable critics such as Professor John Adams suggesting that their use may lead to a net increase in road casualties due to a phenomenon known as risk compensation.

Motorcyclists have little protection other than their clothing; this difference is reflected in the casualty statistics, where they are more than twice as likely to suffer severely after a collision. In 2005 there were 198,735 road crashes with 271,017 reported casualties on roads in Great Britain. This included 3,201 deaths (1.1%) and 28,954 serious injuries (10.7%) overall. Of these casualties 178,302 (66%) were car users and 24,824 (9%) were motorcyclists, of whom 569 were killed (2.3%) and 5,939 seriously injured (24%).

What with increasing road tax, yet poorly maintained road surfaces, one has to ask where the tax money is going, and for what purpose is it being paid?
The car companies seem to do very little in order to bring about change as it is business as usual for them.

new topics

top topics


log in