Spring has sprung! Before you and your family break out the bicycles, it’s important to be mindful of important safety practices.
Research shows that more than 80 million Americans use their bikes for recreation, exercise and transportation. Of the 80 million, more than 1.3 million reported cycling-related injuries in 2014.
Minimize your risks by maintaining awareness of the type of injuries that commonly occur while cycling. These injuries most often include minor scrapes and bruises, but also can be more serious, causing fractures, muscle strains and sprains – specifically, broken collar bones and wrists.
Prevent injuries by practicing the following safety tips:
- Protect your head and brain by wearing a helmet. Studies show this can reduce your risks for injury by 85 percent. The helmet should fit snugly, but comfortably, and shouldn’t obstruct your vision. Securely fasten the helmet with a chin strap.
- Obey the rules of the road. Familiarize yourself with the surrounding areas of your route. Each city and state has established biking guidelines, and bikers are responsible for following traffic signs and lights, as well as signaling turns.
- Be defensive. Drivers often do not see cyclists, so it’s important to ride proactively in case you may need to avoid a collision. Be particularly cautious at intersections.
- Choose your route wisely. Avoid roadways known for high traffic. If possible within your city, stick to streets with designated bicycle lanes.
- Cut out distractions. Don’t obstruct your sense by listening to loud music with headphones and don’t text while riding.
- Remain visible at night. Wear bright fluorescent colors and reflectors. Your bike should also have a working tail light and headlight.
- Don’t drink and ride. Alcohol and cycling don’t mix.
- Be weary of road conditions. If it’s raining or your area is expecting inclement weather of any kind, it may be best to skip cycling for the day (or stick to indoor riding).
- Keep your bicycle updated. Check the brakes, tires, gears, and all components regularly, just as you would with your car.
- Bikes are not one-size-fits-all, so adjust the seat accordingly.
- Dress the part. Loose clothing and improper footwear can cause multiple problems.
- Pace yourself. Cycling is tough work, and it’s important to avoid overexerting yourself.
- Switch up your riding form. This will reduce stress on pressure points.
- Hydration is key. Make sure you carry water with you on long rides.
- If you’re riding with children, supervise them at all times.
Suffering from a cycling-related injury? Visit one of Campbell Clinic’s five locations.
For more information about Campbell Clinic, please visit our website.
This blog post was adapted from AAOS.