As a nurse Life Care Planner and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) expert, I have hands on experience understanding the dangers of recreational cycling. I myself like to ride my bike on the streets and in the mountains of Utah. In this post I will cover some statistics for awareness and safety tips for those of you that cycle or have friends and family that cycle.
Bicycling leads to the highest number of sport and recreation–related emergency department (ED) visits for TBIs in the United States.
According to a study from NEISS-AIP and the CDC, rates of ED visits were highest among adult males under 18 years and among children and adolescents aged 10–14 years during 2009–2018.
During the 10-year study period, most of the patients who incurred a TBI (83%) were treated and released from the ED. In this study, the general population rate of TBI’s for cycling related injuries decreased per by 27.7%. What is interesting is the rate of TBI cycling injuries decreased 48.7% in children under 17 years old which is ninefold larger than the decrease in TBI cycling injuries in adults which was 5.5%.
Let’s go over 10 tips for safe cycling:
1. Stay Protected: Wear a helmet. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, wearing a helmet reduces head injuries by 50 percent and just 17 percent of cyclists killed in recent years were wearing a helmet.
2. Act Like a Car: Drivers know how other drivers act; just because you can doesn’t mean you should weave through different lanes. If you’re predictable and check around for traffic, you will be much safter.
3. Keep Visable: If a car can see you, the driver is not as likely to accidentally hit you. If you must ride at night, wear reflective clothing and lights
4. Keep Focused: Don’t chat on the phone or wear ear buds on a bicycle.
5. Look, Signal, Look: Use your hand signals to inform drivers where you intend to move next. Be sure to make eye contact as you signal and watch before making your turn. Never assume the driver will stop.
6. Obey Traffic Laws: This is similar to the tip of acting like a car. Obey the same laws and signs as the car would.
7. Avoid Obstacles: Stay alert so you see the obstacles ahead of you in time to avoid.
8. Check Bike: Is the bicycle comfortable before your ride.
9. Stay with Traffic: Move in the same direction as traffic. If you move in the opposite direction of traffic will distract you and other drivers.
10. Double check: Make sure your wheels and brakes are fine.
Let’s all enjoy cycling and keep safe.