Ignoring the curious combination of sentences "... skiers can reduce their risk if they choose. But brevet riders do not have this option", the thing I immediately thought was:
I wonder how many deaths can be expected among randonneurs during brevets, and permanents?
Being an actuary by training, I decided to do a "quick back-of-the-envelope" estimate of those questions -- it will take me longer to write this up than it took me to do the calculations.
I needed to make reasonable estimates for a few key variables:
- number of randonneurs,
- amount of time spent doing randonneuring rides, and
- expected death rates from all causes.
I went on-line and quickly found three sources of publicly available death rates by age, or by age and sex. These included all causes of death, and while randonneurs might be healthier than the average, I'm only intending a quick rough-order-of-magnitude (ROM) calculation; these seemed acceptable for the purpose.
I still needed to determine which death rate(s) to use from the SSA Table. I wanted to develop a range for the answer to my posed question(s), but I didn't want to make a huge project of this (typing this far has taken longer than finding the necessary assumption estimates AND doing the calculations). I decided to use the death rate for Males-age-50 as the low end of the spectrum and Males-age-60 for the high end of the spectrum.
That left me needing only an estimate for the time people spend doing brevets (and permanents). If I had access to the entire RUSA database in a data-downloadable fashion, I could crunch the number for everyone, and come up with ... the exact amount of elapsed time for RUSA members on brevets and permanents that they completed ... that would still leave out time information for DNFs, and this is supposed to be a quick ROM estimate. I needed something I could get my hands on quickly. The answer: my time spent so far this year doing brevets and permanents. Am I representative of the entire membership?
Well ... I am 55 and male.
I did one SR this year (with no extras, so far).
More brevet kms than quite a few; much less than many.
I am a mid-to-back-of-the-packer.
So it probably takes me a bit longer than average to complete a brevet.
I am no Lone Star rando, but I have ridden more permanent kilometers this year than most.
As I write this, I have completed 18 permanents so far this year (4 not in the RUSA results, yet).
I have also completed 12 permanent populaires so far this year.
One could argue that I have more RUSA kms and time doing rando this year than "average".
But, I am only trying to get a ROM estimate based on readily available data.
What did I find?
Based on: 3000 members, my time in-motion and overall elapsed time, death rates as indicated:
|Expected Deaths While Engaging in Randonneuring|
|Time in Hrs||Time in Days|
|Annual Death Rates||Expected Deaths, In-Motion||Expected Deaths, Elapsed|
|Male 50||Male 60||Male 50||Male 60||Male 50||Male 60|
- Expected deaths while randonneuring at my rate: 0.5 to 1.4 per year.
- Expected deaths while doing brevets at my rate: 0.1 to 0.3 per year.
Based on this Rough Order of Magnitude estimate, and leaning more on the "Total" numbers which include the permanents, I think I agree with Lois Springsteen's response to Mr. Berk's previous suggestion to RUSA regarding the safety research: thank-you, no.
(I suspect that Jonathan Berk is a Ph.D. based on the content in his "saferrando" blog; please accept my apology if you would prefer to be "Dr. Berk", but on the other hand, we are all just randonneurs in fancy underwear here -- no need for fancy titles.)