Monday, November 3, 2008

Republicans/Democrats Won't Kill You (in traffic)

I came across a set of articles today on The Slate talking about how our society is segregating politically, socially and ideologically. On article in particular entitled "The Stuff in Your Bedroom Signals How You Vote" posits the following:
"ideological differences between left and right are partially rooted in basic personality dispositions." In particular, Gosling and his co-authors hypothesized that liberals and conservatives differed in two major "personality dimensions." Liberals are more likely to be open to experiences. Conservatives would score higher on measures of conscientiousness. Liberals would be more motivated by curiosity, creativity, and diversity of experiences. Conservatives would value following the rules, self-control, and order.
Naturally I got to wondering whether it's liberals or conservatives who are buying all the mountain bikes and going on these crazy stage-racing adventures. To my chagrin, the data I needed to actually figure this out costs $300, and since I spend all my money on bikes, that data isn't going to get onto my desktop any time soon.

I did, however, get my hands on some traffic safety data, cycling participation data, federal spending data and some polling data. After spending way too much time compiling all of this information I can conclude with confidence that the probability you will be fatally injured in a cycling accident does not depend on the political leanings, population density or the amount of money the federal government has historically spent per capita on cycling improvements and programs in your state. From this data, it seems like it doesn't depend on anything but random chance (which I find hard to believe), though I don't have any data for people being idiots in traffic, riding at night with no lights or being triathletes, which I would guess all correlate with decreased lifespan. Wearing a helmet still significantly improves your likelihood of survival, though, as far as I can tell.

Don't forget to vote tomorrow. (more racing-related content coming soon)

No comments: