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Unsuitability of the epidemiological approach to bicycle transportation injuries and traffic engineering problems
  1. M Kary
  1. Correspondence to Dr M Kary, CP 104, Succ. Place D'Armes, Montreal, Quebec, Canada H2Y 3E9; mkary111{at}


Bicyclists and transportation professionals would do better to decline advice drawn from characteristically epidemiological studies. The faults of epidemiology are both accidental (unpreparedness for the task) and essential (unsuitability of the methods). Characteristically epidemiological methods are known to be error-prone, and when applied to bicycle transportation suffer from diversion bias, inappropriately broad-brush categorisations, a focus on undifferentiated risk rather than on danger, a bias towards unsafe behaviour, and an overly narrow perspective. To the extent that there is a role for characteristically epidemiological methods, it should be the same as anywhere else: as a preliminary or adjunct to the scientific method, for which there is no substitute.

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