How Can You Prevent Injury While Cycling?

Cycling injuries are not reported as much as motor vehicle injuries, but if you have been looking at the statistics then you will know that there are more cycling deaths when compared to motor vehicle deaths. According to the CDC, there were about 467,000 injuries resulting from bicycling in 2015, and according to recent statistics by the National Safety Council, the number of preventable non-fatal injuries increased by 7% in 2019 from 2018.

It is also reported that bicycle-related deaths and injuries usually peak in the summer months that is beginning June and remain high throughout September, while fewer deaths are recorded in January. Most injuries have also been reported to occur in males and which are caused by cycling at high speeds. Some of the most serious injuries and fatalities are because of collisions with motor vehicles, while head injuries are responsible for long-term disabilities and fatalities.

How to Prevent Injury While Cycling

To prevent injuries and deaths arising from riding bicycles, individuals are asked to adjust some components of their bikes. They are also advised to always have a helmet on when riding among other protective equipment and clothing, like padded shorts, gloves, eye protection, and reflective and bright clothing. Let us explore the preventive measures in more detail.

Cross-training

You are probably wondering what cross-training has to do with bicycle injuries, well all we can say is a lot. Because this exercise program features different forms of training, that go a long way in minimizing the risk of injuries. When you alternate the forms of exercises that you do daily, you can improve your overall fitness and health without necessarily over-stressing some parts of your body.

So, as you cross-train there are some exercises that you can perform in conjunction with cycling and which include strength training, swimming, running/walking, or using the elliptical trainer.

Helmet Use

Helmets are by far the most uncomfortable protective wear that you can ever think of putting on under the summer heat. A good number of them rarely fit the wearer, they are uncomfortable especially if they don’t wick away sweat and a good number of cyclists do not have the relevant knowledge on how to use their cycling helmets. Helmets are designed to protect you from attaining head injuries, which as we have mentioned could lead to long-term disabilities and fatalities.

People must therefore be sensitized about using helmets, more so the people in the younger age group. Also, the type and brand of helmet that you invest in plays a big role, some brands make helmets with accessories that help reduce the rotational forces known to lead to concussions.

Invest in the Cycling Gloves

Some of the injuries that are attained from riding bicycles are the superficial hand injuries. And which are common when traversing the rugged off-road routes. Cycling gloves have been designed in such a way that they provide insulation in cold weather and have been decently padded to obliterate nerve compression.

Invest in the Riding Shorts

Bicycle riding shorts are constructed in such a way that they minimize saddle irritation. Some of them are padded to offer protection from vibration and chafing. Cycling shorts make cycling comfortable and efficient and they encourage the riders to ride faster and longer. And besides the fact that they may seem tight, they do allow your body to breathe and feature a material that helps pull moisture from the skin, consequently keeping the rider cool while preventing the development of rashes.

Use of Strobe Lights

Earlier we mentioned that bike-related injuries result when cyclists collide with motorists. To counter this problem especially at night when the natural moon and stars light does little to help with visibility. You can invest in the strobe lights, attach them to your bike and let them protect you from motorists at night with the bright flashes of light.

Alternatively, cyclists could also invest in reflective materials or just put on the bright-colored clothing, to inform other motorists that they are also using the road and should be accorded their right to use the road without their lives being endangered.

Invest in the Specialized Cycling Shoes

If you are not an avid cyclists then you can wear any comfortable shoes but if you will be riding your bike daily then you need the specialized cycling shoes known to prevent the development of foot and ankle problems. These shoes are designed with toe clips that attach the shoes to the pedals. Specialized cycling shoes are also convenient when used under hot weather or when engaging the long climbs. What’s more, is that they are efficient when it comes to energy transfer to the pedals.

Cyclists Should Invest in Eye Protection

Good eye protection units are usually made from polycarbonate material and which helps shield the eyes from elements of harsh weather, foreign bodies, and ultraviolet light. Also, cyclists could invest in the wrap style frames, designed to protect the eyes from debris and wind. They do offer good coverage when worn and have higher chances to stay in place when riding at higher speeds.

Mechanical and Safety Features

We know you don’t want a situation where your bicycle breaks down in the middle of the road or when deep in the rugged terrain. When it comes to servicing your bicycle it basically depends on how frequently you ride it and the conditions that you ride it on. Some cyclists ride their bikes in the rain, mud, beaten rough paths, and others on the smooth tarmac roads. Scheduled maintenance could, therefore, be done monthly, weekly, or regularly for the professional cyclists.

Adjust Your Bike to Fit Your Physique

Developing injuries because you are too lazy to adjust your bike is totally uncalled for. So some of the things that you might want to give deep though, are your seat height, you should be able to reach the handlebars comfortably without straining your back. Because a back injury can easily lead to long-term disability. Adjust your seat position, you can either move the seat back or to the front until you can see the tip of your toe over your knee when sitting on the bike with both feet at the same height.

Position your handlebars in such a manner that your arms and trunk are at a 90˚ angle when you have put your hands at the handlebars. You should also adjust the handlebar height to achieve a more relaxed position for the longer cycling sessions.

Observe the Road Rules

Just because you can navigate through the roads easily when compared to motorists does not mean that you shouldn’t observe the road rules or the traffic lights. There have been many deaths resulting from a head-on collision when cyclists fail to obey the traffic lights and bump into oncoming vehicles. Cyclists should ensure to ride in the same direction as the traffic flow. They should keep off the sidewalk, and give way to pedestrians and other vehicles already on the roadway.

Conclusion

The only way to avoid being a statistic in the number of individuals who have attained serious road injuries during summer is by observing the road rules and wearing the relevant protective gear. Servicing your bike is mandatory unless you want to get stuck in the middle of the forest with no help. Cycling injuries can lead to death or permanent disability but we do believe if you implement the above tips you will cycle longer.

FAQs

Are there any road cycling rules?

Yes, many road cycling rules depend on your region but one of the most common is wearing an approved bicycle helmet.

Can I ride drunk?

No, you cannot ride while drunk because alcohol will impair your reaction time.


Patrick Flinch

Patrick Flinch is a professional cyclist, according to him, cycling is a sport that also helps people stay in good shape. Cycling takes many forms, and styles and so does the cycling equipment, however, this information is not available to everyone and that is why Patrick thought it wise to consolidate the most important information about cycling on “For the Bike Magazine.” Beginner, intermediate and professional cyclists will be furnished with useful insights. They will be able to understand the differences and benefits of both online and physical cycling. Apart from Cycling, Patrick is a family man, he is passionate about cycling and when not on duty, he loves to enjoy biking with his crew.