When Cycling Goes Wrong

05
Jun
2018

Many Americans use bicycles for commuting to work, personal enjoyment, or to train for the next cycling race. They will tell you all the wonderful benefits of riding a bicycle and rarely tell you about the dangers that come with this form of travel or sport. Today we are looking at the dangers you need to be prepared for and how to avoid them when possible.

Cars Are Not Your Friends

It is an unfortunate truth but cars are big and bulky and not friendly to the cyclist. Even worse, some drivers get angered at the sight of a cyclist and become erratic in their driving. The worst thing that can happen is to get hit by a car. Yes, a helmet is recommended to lessen the damage but the helmet won’t protect the rest of your body. Being hit by a car could result in a need for herniated disc surgery or any number of spine surgeries. For all the protective gear you could buy, the key to keeping you safe is to avoid getting hit at all costs. Here are a few tips:

  • Always make eye contact with the driver or wave at them – it makes them more aware
  • Learn their blind spots and stay out of them. If you can’t see their face in the side view mirror, they can’t see you.
  • Slow down at 4-way stops, intersections, and hidden driveways – it lets you stop quicker if you need to.
  • Wear a headlamp and reflective clothing at night or during the darker months

Watch Your Surroundings

It can be amazing what is on the ground that can cause an accident. A bit of litter, rocks, sticks, and roots can knock you right off the bike and take you down in a heartbeat. These often result in minor injuries but it can still rack up a lot of pain and unnecessary doctors office visits. If you are out in the woods doing some mountain biking, you will inevitably get hurt no matter the prevention you take simply because of the terrain. For road cyclists who are commuting, training for a race, or just to enjoy getting outdoors, it’s a bit easier to avoid getting hurt.

  • Wear a helmet, knee pads, and elbow pads so that if you do fall, you can avoid scrapes and bruises in those areas.
  • Pay close attention to what is ahead of you so that you can bypass the dangers
  • Don’t run over it just because it’s there
  • Get supplemental insurance for cyclists – it will also come in handy if you happen to get into a car insurance

Don’t Assume People See You

Pedestrians who are out enjoying their day or are walking to their office don’t often pay a lot of attention to their surroundings. That means they probably won’t notice you coming or realize you are behind them. Accidents with pedestrians are not as often, fortunately, but they do still happen because one or both parties are distracted by something else. Here are some ways to politely make your presence known so that you can avoid any disasters.

  • Get a bell and use it to announce that you are coming up behind someone or if someone feels like they are about to move too close to you.
  • Yell out “On your left/right” when approaching someone, especially if you are on a bike trail with some walkers. It’s especially great if you have been ringing your bell and people aren’t moving to a side.
  • Wear bright and noticeable clothing – if you are commuting to your office, a light jacket that is bright will help people notice you.
  • Make eye contact with people who are approaching you head on. At some point, they will notice you!

Cycling is dangerous, just like everything else we do in our day. With a little preventative care and some common sense, you can certainly avoid most accidents that could happen.

Enjoy Your Ride
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