Provided you ride at a controlled leisurely pace and anticipate road / pedestrian conflicts , I haven't had any issues. But i notice they get a real bad rap among some people. I myself enjoy the simpleness and fluidity of the ride.
Depends on how risky your riding is. A fixed gear vs. a freewheel does not in and of itself make a bike more dangerous.
If you're talking brake-less fixed gear riding then you run the risk of not being able to stop if your chain breaks or falls off. And a skid stop will never have as short a stopping distance as stopping with brakes on the verge of lockup on the same bike. Anticipating is one thing but shit happens unexpectedly all the time.
Only other risk is if you haven't ridden fixed in a while and try to coast. Anyone who's ridden fixed knows the feeling of the bike trying to throw you off like a bucking bronco if you forget you can't coast.
Another risk when fixed is if something (e.g.: pants leg, bag) gets caught in the drivetrain.
Had that happen to me before!
Oh ya be careful when cleaning your chain.
Pedal strike is more of an issue with road bike conversions than a bike designed as fixed gear, which will have a higher bottom bracket, shorter crank arms, lower Q (shorter spindle and narrower cranks) and narrow pedals. Converting an old 27" frame to 700C also reduces pedal clearance a few mm if tire height remains the same.
A bike designed as a fixed / single-speed road bike is likely the best choice. True track bikes have more radical geometry, little tire clearance (e.g.: 21mm @ 175 psi tires) and their forks arent designed for brakes (no mount, short reach, blades not designed for braking loads).
If the bike is properly maintained and the rider is comfortable, they're not really dangerous unless they're being ridden brakeless.
That said, why would you essentially ignore over 100 years of innovation? The first bikes were ALL fixed gear, and coasting came along later to help increase efficiency. Riding a fixed gear, in my mind, is pretty much like driving an F1 car around town. Sure it's possible, but it doesn't make much sense.
Acceleration depends on gearing, crank length, and leg strength, not whether a bike is fixed or free.
Please elaborate on "brake torquing in snow".
The "puts you more in tune with your bike" argument has been used many times before and is completely worn out. Of course you're more "in tune" with the bike you ride every day vs. the one you just take out on the weekends. Just like I'd play my own guitar better than I would someone else's, because I'm used to MY guitar. It doesn't matter if one is acoustic and one is electric.
Yep, the funny bike is just for fun. It can still coast, though, which is the main difference of opinion here.
I'll never ride fixed. I've tried and it just seems too limiting for no good reason. Why take away the efficiency advantage of being able to coast? It's completely backwards and illogical.
I rode fixed gear for several years in Chicago and thought it made great sense for urban riding. I liked being able to better control my speed through the pedals. And once up to speed I felt like it required less effort to cruise. The cranks are spinning anyway so it's just a matter of enough pedal pressure to keep them moving. I will concede that it FELT like less effort. I have no idea if that was the actual case it terms of wattage, heart rate, etc. Coming up to stoplights it was easier to keep your feet up if the light was about to change.
When people say riding fixed puts you more in tune with your bike I think of the way driving a stick shift puts you more in tune with your car than a slushbox err automatic. It gives you an additional way to control your bike.
Riding fixed also taught me to how to maintain a smoother overall pedal stroke. And to pedal through puddles, mud, and other loose patches that others often coast through.
And snow and ice! I don't have a fixed gear currently, but when I did, one of the many great things about it was how great it felt when riding in winter.
Which reminds me that I initially went fixed because I got tired of dealing with winter wear and tear on deraillers and freewheels. (the internal two speed has that covered also)