Air travel, especially traveling by airliner, is usually depicted as the safest way of travel. However, this depends on which data is reported (of course, you can expect people to report the data which is the most favorable to their own interests). Here is a breakdown of death by transport mode, according to different parameters (Wikipedia, 20111):

Deaths per billion journeys Deaths per billion hours of travel Deaths per billion kms traveled
Bus 4.3 Bus 11.1 Air 0.1
Rail 20.0 Rail 30.0 Bus 0.4
Van 20.0 Air 30.8 Rail 0.6
Car 40.0 Water 50.0 Van 1.2
Foot 40.0 Van 60.0 Water 2.6
Water 90.0 Car 130.0 Car 3.1
Air 117.0 Foot 220.0 Bicycle 44.6
Bicycle 170.0 Bicycle 550.0 Foot 54.2
Motorcycle 1640.0 Motorcycle 4840.0 Motorcycle 108.9

Next time you hear that aviation is the safest transport mode around, just think that that's the case only when counting kms (or miles) traveled. If, however, you think for you it is more relevant to focus on travel opportunities (i.e. journeys) or on time spent traveling, then other transport modes, such as bus and rail, are definitely safer than air travel.

1. WIKIPEDIA (2011). Air safety. Retrieved from Wikipedia on 4 November 2011.

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Aviation safety (general)

Aviation Safety Network
An excellent site to know more about aviation safety internationally. It offers information about plane crashes from 1943 onwards. It includes commercial, general aviation and military aircraft, accidents and incidents, aviation safety statistics, photographs, and more (with a Beta reporting tool for occurrences not in the main database). It also offers concluded safety reports and other publications. The database can be accessed in five different languages.
An ok site to know more about aviation safety internationally. It offers information for plane crashes, aviation safety statistics, photographs, and more. The list of occurrences may not be as comprehensive as that by the Aviation Safety Network but it spans back to 1908.
It offers information on air accidents as the sites listed above. Again, its list of occurrences is not as complete as that by the Aviation Safety Network, but the data offered may be useful as a complementary source of information.
A more "go around" site, with some information on aircraft crashes. The list of accidents is restricted in number. However, the site also offers information of interest to aviation, such as airlines blacklisted for operation in EU and USA, some general statistics, etc.

Aviation safety investigation

AviationKnowledge - Investigation topics
This section of AviationKnowledge deals with aircraft crashes of importance to aviation; that is, those which have had a major impact on the aviation sector. Many have also being captured in documentaries, etc.

Aviation safety for the passenger
It works as an aviation safety news agency, and is focused on the passenger. The passenger can, thus, not only know about aviation and airline safety, it can also know more about security issues, baggage, etc.

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