How to Stay Injury-Free on Your Bicycle
Health Advice from a Knowledgeable Bicycle Accident Lawyer
Bicycle accidents are more common than you might think. In fact, the statistics are quite alarming. According to the Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center, about 50,000 cyclists are injured and about 750 are killed in accidents in America annually. Most of the injuries are minor and do not require treatment. But many cyclists sustain severe injuries that can lead to lifelong pain and disability, as any experienced bicycle accident lawyer can tell you.
Cyclists are highly vulnerable to injuries. Crashes with motor vehicles almost always result in injuries to the cyclist. Collisions with pedestrians and other objects can also result in injuries to the cyclist. But it’s not only collisions and falls that can injure a cyclist. The stress that cycling puts on your muscles, ligaments and joints can also cause injuries. Therefore, it is up to every cyclist to take the necessary steps to stay safe when riding their bicycle.
Here are five tips on how to stay injury-free on your bicycle.
- Make sure your bicycle is road worthy
Bicycles with over or under-inflated tires, malfunctioning brakes, unlubricated and squeaky chain, chipped or broken pedals, and broken lights are accidents waiting to happen. No matter how good a cyclist you are, you will sooner or later get fall or get into an accident. Therefore, every time before going out riding, you should check your bicycle to see that everything is working properly.
- Adjust your speed according to the road
Riding at a high speed is one of the major cause of bicycle accidents. This is not to say that you should always ride slowly. You can ride as fast you like, but only where it is safe to do so. When there are a lot of pedestrians and cars, you should slow down. Where the road twists or turns or is slippery, you should slow down. You should adjust your speed according to the road conditions.
- Adjust your seat to the correct height
If you are in the habit of riding your bicycle with the seat fixed too high or too low, then you may suffer from a painful condition called Achilles tendonitis or Patellar tendonitis in the long run. When the saddle is too high, your feet are plantaflexed (meaning your toes are pointed down). This causes constant contraction of the calf muscles, leading to Achilles tendonitis. When the saddle is too low, your gluteal muscles are underutilized while the quadriceps muscles are overworked, leading to Patellar tendonitis. Therefore, you should adjust the seat of your bicycle to the correct height. This also prevents saddle sores, which can be caused by high seats.
- Strengthen your core muscles
Long hours of cycling puts tremendous stress on your spine and core muscles, leading to lower back pain and sciatica (which is a more serious condition). Your core muscles include the pelvic floor muscles, multifidus, transversus abdominis, rectus abdominis, erector spinae, and internal and external obliques. When your core muscles are weak, they cannot generate enough power for long and hard rides, and supporting muscles are forced to compensate for the weakness, leading to lower back pain and sciatica. Therefore, a core-strengthening regimen should be part of your weekly routine.
- Continue to hold onto to the handlebars when you fall
Two of the most common injuries that occur during a crash include broken clavicle (collarbone) and broken scaphoid (carpal bone, the bone on the thumb side of your hand). These bones are vulnerable to injuries because they absorb the impact when you instinctively extend your arms to brace during a fall. You can avoid injuring these two bones by continuing to hold onto the handlebars when you are falling. This lets your entire body absorb the impact rather than by just these two bones.
In spite of taking all the necessary precautions, you can still get injured. If you are injured in an accident caused by a motorist, seek medical attention immediately and call a bicycle accident lawyer as soon as you can to learn how to file a personal injury claim.