Risk assessment is hard. We humans are hard-wired with many cognitive biases that can often distort our perception of reality and make us fear the wrong things. For example, on average, people will be more afraid of something with which they are unfamiliar compared to something that they see every day. Cars fall into the "familiar" category, and to remind us of the risk associated with driving, the nice people are the Infrastructurists made a really cool infographic that shows how cars are killing people around the world.To see the high-resolution version in all its glory, go here and click on the pic.
So while it is good to fight for the removal of BPA from food cans and water bottles, we should keep things in perspective and not forget all the people killed and injured by cars.
There are lots of lives to be saved by making our cities more walkable, cyclable, by improving public transit, by making cars that are safer to their occupants and to the pedestrians and cyclists that they hit.
We live in a very auto-centric society, and by making it less so, we can not only clean up the environment and combat global warming, but we can also save lives and reduce the suffering caused by injuries and the loss of loved ones. Cars are good for certain things, but we went way overboard in the way we designed our cities.
More on Transportation
Riding in New York with Village Voice Columnist Michael Musto (Video)
Gary Lauder on the Social and Environmental Impact of Stop Signs and Roundabouts (Video)
Being a Cyclist in Iceland: Interview with Morten Lange, head of the Icelandic Cyclists' Federation