5 Bicycle Safety Tips and What to Do If You’re Hurt
There are few better ways to enjoy the outdoors than riding a bicycle. Whether you’re five or fifty, feeling the breeze on your face and the burn in your legs is one of life’s little pleasures. But riding a bike comes with some risks if you aren’t careful.
In 2020, nearly 40,000 bicyclists were injured while riding in the United States. Many accidents involve bicyclists and cars. But other common bike-related injuries include falls, burns, and cuts.
So what can you do to keep yourself and your family healthy while enjoying the thrill of riding a bike? In this article, we’ll explore the most common bicycle injuries and share five tips you can use to help prevent them.
Common Bicycle Injuries
Balancing yourself on two moving wheels isn’t always as easy as riding a bike! Injuries can strike at any moment—with or without warning. Bicycle injuries can affect everyone from the youngest riders still on training wheels to the most experienced racing cyclists. But being aware of the most common types of bicycle injuries can help you prevent them.
A few of the most common bicycle injuries include:
- Road rash: Large abrasions or scrapes happen when you fall off your bike on a rough surface. The hands, elbows, knees, and hips are most often affected.
- Broken bones: Falling off your bike can lead to a variety of bone fractures. The most common sites are the hand, wrist, and arm, as well as the collarbone and ribs.
- Head injuries: Without a helmet, you can seriously injure your head by hitting it off the ground. This can cause concussions, cerebral bleeding, and skull fractures.
- Muscle strains and sprains: Riding your bike too much without the right training can lead to sprained or strained muscles—especially in your legs.
Bicycle Safety Tips to Keep You and Your Family Healthy
Although bicycle injuries can be frightening, there is a lot you can do to stay safe. With the right approach, you can prevent injuries and accidents while enjoying the fun and health benefits cycling has to offer. Take these five steps to keep you and your family safe when cycling.
1. Wear a Well-Fitting Helmet
The most dangerous type of bicycle injury is a head injury. Fatal brain injuries can happen during even the most minor accidents if you fall off your bike and hit your head on the ground. Wearing a helmet while riding can easily save your life if you’re in an accident.
Although any helmet is better than no helmet, be sure to choose one that fits properly and is certified for bicycle safety. A helmet that is too loose may fall off before it can protect your head during a crash. A helmet that is too small will be uncomfortable and discourage you from wearing it.
2. Check Your Equipment
A bike in disrepair is more likely to cause injuries than one that is well-maintained. Before each ride, be sure your bike is in good condition.
First, ensure your tires are inflated properly and show no signs of damage or excessive tread wear. Then check to see if your breaks are working properly (both the front and back). Finally, ensure your bicycle chain is well-oiled, in place, and isn’t showing signs of wear.
3. Be Visible
Making yourself visible to those around you helps prevent accidental collisions. When riding your bike, try wearing bright, reflective colors like neon orange or fluorescent yellow. These help drivers, other riders, and pedestrians see you coming. Adding reflective tape or markers to your bike is another great way to increase your visibility. In some states, this may even be required.
It’s also important to remember that just because you can see a driver or pedestrian doesn’t mean they can see you. Before crossing a road or navigating a busy path, use a bicycle bell or horn to tell others you’re there.
Finally, avoid riding at night. Even in bright colors, it’s difficult to see cyclists at night. Keep yourself safe by riding during the day or sticking to well-lit bike paths away from cars if you choose to ride at night.
4. Stay in Control
If you’re an experienced cyclist, it might be tempting to take your hands off the handlebars or try to carry items with you. But bicycle accidents can sneak up on even the most experienced riders. So ride sensibly and stay in control of your bike at all times.
This means keeping at least one hand on the handlebars (two is better) and both feet on the pedals. If you need to carry items with you, place them in a backpack or bike basket rather than carrying them.
5. Watch for Hazards
Many bicycle accidents happen because of obstacles or debris on the road. Loose gravel, puddles, and piles of leaves can be incredibly slippery and cause you to lose control of your bike. Potholes or bumps in the road are also dangerous.
When riding, always keep your eyes on the road ahead of you so you can dodge these obstacles. But be sure to dodge slowly so you don’t lose control by trying to maneuver too quickly.
Velocity Urgent Care is Here to Help
If you’re hurt in a bicycle crash, Velocity Urgent Care has your back. Whether you’re dealing with a sprained knee, a broken wrist, or some nasty road rash, we are standing by with efficient, high-quality care for you and your family.
Our clinics are equipped with on-site x-ray to help diagnose your injuries and our providers can prescribe medications and treatment to get you back on your feet.
When you need care, just walk in to any of our convenient locations or make an appointment with our online registration portal to skip the waiting room and arrive when it’s your turn to be seen. We also offer text message updates so you can wait in the car (if you prefer) until it’s time for your appointment.
Velocity Urgent Care is an in-network provider for most major insurance plans, meaning you can be seen for the cost of your co-pay and deductible.
All our locations also accept Medicare, Medicaid, and Tricare. Veterans Administration beneficiaries are also welcome.
To learn more about our services, locations, hours, and more, visit www.velocityuc.com.