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Bicycles Accidents Kill More Children Than Guns, But You Don’t See Calls to Ban Bikes

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Pedestrian helping Bicycles accident victim iStock-931839776Bicycles Accidents Kill Way More Children than Guns, But You Don’t See Calls to Ban Bikes

Arizona -(Ammoland.com)- Did you know that there are more fatal accidents involving children and bicycles than there are involving children and guns?

It is documented in the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) fatal injury database.

As you can see from the illustration, for the last 19 years, from 1999 to 2017, there were 2,467 children killed in fatal accidents involving bicycles, versus 1,994 children killed in fatal accidents involving a firearm.

Total accidental deaths of children (unintended deaths). Data from WISQARS database, Image created by Dean Weingarten, 14 August 2019.

Both of the rates are very low. The firearm rate is 1.4 per million children; the bicycle rate is 1.8 per million children. There are numerous things far more commonly involved in unintended deaths than bicycles or guns for children.

The total accidental deaths of children (unintended deaths) from 1999 to 2017 were 135,259. Fatal firearms accidents were 1.47 percent of the total. Many other circumstances accounted for much higher numbers of unintentional deaths than those occurring with firearms. Here are numbers from the CDC database for the same period, 1999-2017, for children aged 0 – 17.

  • Occupants of motor vehicles               27,189
  • Unknown situations, motor vehicles   24,201
  • Suffocation                                          21,008
  • Drowning                                            17,270
  • Pedestrians and motor vehicles         12,098
  • Fire/burning (non-residential)              7,982
  • Fire, residential                                   7,237
  • Poisoning                                            5,166
  • Other land transportation                   3,489
  • Bicycles (pedal cycles)                     2,467
  • Falls                                                  2,118
  • Firearms                                           1,994
  • Natural/Environmental                      1,797

Fatal accidents involving firearms and children are low and have been trending downward for a long time, even as the number of firearms, both absolute and per capita, have increased enormously.

The rate of fatal firearms accidents has been cut by 94% since 1933 while, as a wealthy society, the number of firearms per capita has increased nearly fourfold, from .35 to 1.28 firearms per person in the USA.

Why is there so much focus on requiring gun owners to lock up guns, but not requiring poison owners to lock up poisons?  People are told it is a good preventive measure to lock up poisons, but there is no legislative effort, that I know of, to criminalize the failure to do so.

The political reason seems clear. People who do not own guns do not see any cost to themselves by creating penalties that only apply to gun owners. The politicians are appealing to non-gun owners.

Most gun owners are men. Most non-gun owners are women. By phrasing the debate as one about children’s safety, the politicians use the emotional plea “it’s for the children!” The appeal short circuits logic and reason.

There are many single-parent homes. Most of them are headed by women. Singe mothers have been an enormous voting block for Democrats. If Democrats were to criminalize the failure to lock up poisons, they would be creating penalties that would apply primarily to their voting base.

One problem of requiring guns to be locked up and unloaded is it prevents guns from being used in self-defense. From 1999 to 2017, there were 33,095 children who were deliberately killed with firearms. Most of them were murdered (the CDC does not differentiate between justified homicide and murder).

The CDC, during the Obama regime, found that firearms were used for defense and to prevent crime, from 500,000 to 3 million times a year. From the CDC:

Defensive use of guns by crime victims is a common occurrence, although the exact number remains disputed (Cook and Ludwig, 1996; Kleck, 2001a). Almost all national survey estimates indicate that defensive gun uses by victims are at least as common as offensive uses by criminals, with estimates of annual uses ranging from about 500,000 to more than 3 million (Kleck, 2001a), in the context of about 300,000 violent crimes involving firearms in 2008 (BJS, 2010).

Responsible people can judge their own risks and requirements better than the government can.

Why compare fatal accidents with bicycles to fatal accidents with guns?

It is a starting point for a discussion about how few fatal accidents with guns there are. The fear of guns has been hyped by the media as part of their effort to demonize guns and gun ownership.

When someone calls for guns to be locked up, you can tell them bicycles are involved in more children’s fatal accidents than guns are.

You can say that locking guns up prevents them from being used for self-defense, just as storing bicycles in an attic prevents them from being used for transportation.  You cannot schedule a need for defense of self and others, as you can schedule a need for transportation.

In a bad neighborhood, you may need to store your bicycles inside, and have guns ready for defense of self and others. Each person’s requirements for transportation and defense are different and individual.

Defensive gun uses are at least five thousand times more common than fatal firearms accidents involving children. That should give pause when the government considers legislation to effectively make the defense of self and others in the home with any weapons, difficult. But the real elephant in the room is why are we not calling for bans on bikes?


About Dean Weingarten:

Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of constitutional carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and recently retired from the Department of Defense after a 30-year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.

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