Is running with bulls a good idea? The Running of the Bulls website says that “Running with the Bulls in Pamplona is not safe. It is dangerous.” It seems like a fun sport for some people and obviously a lot of people like the challenge. How does the risk compare? The wise internet tells us that since 1924 15 people have been killed. Let’s say for the sake of argument: 20,0000 people compete every year over the eight days (who knows how many in 1924 – let’s say 10,000 over the history); it’s been 90 years while the statistics were counted; and it takes 4 minutes. That’s 60,000 hours of participation.
The exposure time per fatality is therefore 4,000 hours. Is that dangerous? Something you should do or something to avoid? The answer is that it’s fairly dangerous like the website says. It is four times greater than skydiving (16,000) and no comparison to driving a car (7.1 million hours) (see post link below).
BUT here is an interesting conundrum. If you are just injured by a bull, not killed, the hospital stay that follows might get you anyway. Actually if the hospital stay is any longer than one hour, then it is more dangerous. The hospital attendance risk worked out at 60,000 hours per ‘adverse event’ (not leaving alive due to an error); this could be due to wrong medicine, wrong operation, hospital-acquired infection, etc. So if you are injured, perhaps go for another run with the bulls as if you are going to tackle the risks of hospital attendance you might as well make it worthwhile.
Image from 3 hurt, 1 seriously, in Pamplona bull run