Health Advice



Getting There, Alive

Scott LaFee on

Among the most common ways of getting to work each morning, riding a motorcycle is the most likely to result in a traffic fatality. Motorcycles are 29 times more deadly per passenger-mile than cars, according to Ian Savage, who studies the economics and safety of transportation at Northwestern University.

Per mile, taking a train is roughly 17 times safer than a car; buses are 67 times safer, which makes busing approximately 1,930 times safer than riding a motorcycle to work.

Even safer, but probably neither practical nor cost-effective, are commercial airlines, which are 3,000 times safer than motorcycles and 100 times safer per passenger-mile than cars.

Of course, walking is good, too. And better for you. Remember what Steven Wright once said: "Anywhere is walking distance if you've got the time."

Resolution Solution

We're a week into the new year, and maybe all of those well-intentioned resolutions have fallen by the wayside. Try to keep this one: Wash your hands. Regularly. Routinely. Even a quick hand wash with just water and no soap can remove 90% of bacteria added to hands. Washing for 20 seconds with soap removes about 99%, on average.


In 2008, UNICEF estimated effective hand-washing could prevent up to 1.4 million deaths per year worldwide. The average American gets two to three colds per year (children get even more). Studies have shown that regular hand-washing can reduce that incidence by 20%.

Get Me That, Stat!

Sixty-four percent of Americans drink some form of coffee daily. When you throw in other caffeinated beverages -- most types of tea, sodas -- an estimated 90% of Americans get a caffeine rush every day. Caffeine is addictive but relatively safe: You would need to drink 50 to 100 cups of coffee to reach a lethal dose.

Mark Your Calendar


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