Falling, crashing, or feeling pain in body parts are all commonly dubbed cycling injuries. Different injuries lead to different problems starting from smaller stuff such as back pain, lesions, or grazed skin (road rashes) to more serious and life-threatening complications such as head injuries and broken bones.
So, how can you prevent injury while cycling? Well, the answer is by following the basics of cycling and road safety. There are also more advanced and tedious tasks such as core strength training or mobility exercises that can further improve your chances of avoiding any injury and recovering from injuries faster.
In this piece, we will talk about all the basics as well as the advanced stuff. Gear up!
Cycling Injuries: 15 Prevention & Care Tips Every Cyclist Should Know
Before we get to the meat of the discussion, let’s talk about some general points. Good road and commute safety begin with you – and it is your duty to protect yourself as well as others when cycling.
Essentially, knowing how can you prevent injury while cycling comes from experience. The more you cycle, the more you will know about the terrain, roads, other vehicles, and the common hazards and threats that cyclists must be cautious about.
That does not mean that a good bit of research does not help. In fact, researching cycling safety before you even start cycling is critical – and might also turn out to be life-saving.
Cycling safety basics boil down to how can you prevent injury while cycling without compromising on comfort or your goals. Cycling is a great form of exercise and transportation, but it can be dangerous if you are not aware of the risks.
Cyclists should always wear a helmet, even when they are not riding their bikes. Helmets protect your head in case of an accident, and they reduce the risk of head injuries. Helmets also protect your neck and spine from injury in falls.
Wear a helmet designed for cycling, which should meet or exceed Snell standards (Snell M2010). Helmets can reduce the risk of head injuries by as much as 80 percent, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
Stay visible to other road users with lights on your bike. Bike lights are inexpensive, easy to install, and can make a huge difference in safety on the road at night or during bad weather conditions when visibility is reduced due to fog or heavy rain showers.
#3. Know The Trail
The best way to prevent a fall is to plan ahead. Set up your ride route so that you know where your destination is going to be before getting on your bike so you do not get lost or confused along the way. This will help keep you safe and out of harm’s way during your ride by making sure that there are no obstacles or hazards in your path that could cause an accident if not anticipated beforehand.
#4. Proper Clothing
Proper clothing while biking is essential.
- Wear proper clothing when cycling outdoors in cold weather conditions such as rain or snowfall. Wear gloves when possible; these will keep your hands warm and dry when riding in cold weather conditions such as rain or snowfall. A rain jacket or poncho can help provide extra protection from wet conditions.
- Wear bright clothing at night. If you are riding with other cyclists, make sure everyone wears reflective clothing that makes them easier to spot from cars. Wearing reflective clothing will also help prevent car-bike collisions in the dark. Wear reflective equipment, such as arm and leg warmers, on your bike to increase visibility even more.
#5. Bike Check
Check your bike before riding it. Make sure all parts are securely fastened. Check for loose bolts and screws, which can cause an accident. Keep an eye out for cracks in the frame or other problems that could affect its performance. If you notice any problems with your bike, take it to a bike shop immediately and have it fixed before riding again.
Make sure your bike fits you properly. If you are short or tall, make sure the handlebars are adjusted correctly so they are comfortable while sitting upright on the seat. If you have trouble reaching pedals when seated, buy shoes that allow your feet to move freely up and down them.
Always pay attention to your average biking speed. This should ideally start low and increase with time. Time spent cycling will allow you to better determine common hazards and problem areas in your riding style. All this information is soaked up better at lower speeds.
You can begin to increase your average biking speed once you are confident and comfortable with longer distances.
Other Safety Tips To Keep In Mind
There are some safety essentials that everyone must keep in their mind to prevent injuries, accidents, and crashes around them. Let us go over these generic points which apply to cyclists as well.
#8. Road Safety Essentials
Always keep your eyes on the road.
Always ride with traffic flow. When riding in traffic, always follow the rules of the road. Pay attention to what is going on around you and stay behind other vehicles as much as possible so there is less chance of being hit by another vehicle or debris from an accident.
Make eye contact with oncoming drivers before starting your turn. If you don’t, they may not see you until it’s too late and there’s nothing they can do about it
#9. Traffic Laws
Always ride with traffic laws in mind! Always ride according to the rules of the road — this includes obeying all stop signs and signals — even if you feel comfortable doing something else (like turning left into an alley).
Never ride while distracted, such as by using a cell phone or eating or drinking something while riding your bike. This can cause a crash, which could be fatal if another vehicle hits you while you are distracted.
If possible, keep your phone out of sight when riding near cars or other bikes on the road so that drivers will not be distracted by it and cause accidents with you.
#11. First Aid
Know the basics of first aid and carry as much first aid stuff as you can. Though there are simply too many variables and types of injuries such as cuts and bruises; sprains; wounds; injuries to critical body parts; and so on – it helps to know little of everything.
Here is some common information that can come in handy:
- Splashing sprains with cold water reduces swelling and helps numb the pain.
- If you cannot carry a first aid kit, try to accommodate bandages, an antibiotic ointment, alcohol wipes, and a small bottle of Dettol. An ORS sachet can also help in case of dehydration.
- The better your clothing, the less your chance of hurting yourself badly when you fall or crash. Choose cycling-grade clothing and generally, aim for longer sleeves and covered body parts. There is no problem in covering yourself completely and even going for body armor (especially in the case of mountain bikes).
- If you have more space, sterile gauze pads, antiseptic wipes, and surgical tape can all come in handy.
#12. Physiological Information
Know about the common body parts and how injuries affect them. This ensures that you can do basic first aid or damage control if you find yourself in a crash in the middle of nowhere. The more biological information you have, the better your chances of coming out of an injury safely and rapidly.
#13. Having Companions
Having companions or a single companion is highly recommended for longer distances. Companionship does not just improve the ride and make it more fun but also makes sure there is someone to administer first aid in the case of a crash or accident.
You can be generally safer and more confident when you have a companion when you are biking for longer distances or going on trails you are not natively familiar with.
Cycling Safety For Professional Cyclists
If you are on your way to riding for long hours, long distances, or participating in professional cycling-related sports, then there are some advanced safety tips for you. Even amateurs can take note of these, but it is not likely that heavy exercise or terrain knowledge will be critical for them, for example, in day-to-day short-distance cycling.
Safety is important for all cyclists, but it is especially important for professional cyclists.
Without further ado, let’s dive right into it.
#14. Proper Bike Maintenance
For those who cycle a lot every day consistently, it is critical to always keep your bike as clean as possible. It is more than just a hobby at this point. Your bike is your best friend and a lot can go south very quickly if proper maintenance is scarce and far apart.
Make sure your bike is clean before using it! Dirt or debris can cause damage to parts of your bike that could be dangerous if they break off and get caught in the wheel or chainrings. Cleaning your bike regularly will help keep it running smoothly and avoid problems down the road.
Learn more about bike maintenance before you continue on your pursuit of cycling glory or add more miles to your daily goal.
#15. Specialized Safety Tips
Not all bikes are the same. There are specific safety tips for different types of cycling. Let us check out a few.
- Road bike safety: Visibility is critical. Road bikes often tend to get into crashes due to unsafe drivers. The penalties for hitting a cyclist and leaving them there are not strict either. Your best safety is visibility. Always be on the lookout for potential hazards. Your alertness should peak when you are on a road bike so make sure you do not cycle when you are feeling lazy, down, or lethargic.
- Mountain bike safety: All your gear and accessories need to be high-quality and built for mountain biking. This means increased durability and performance. Do not cut corners when it comes to buying protective gear for mountain biking. Learn your control from smaller tasks/hikes and wear appropriate clothing. For example, mountain bikers should wear thin padding and looser shorts, shoes with a hardened toe box, high-quality knee and elbow pads, and so on. Be extra careful with blind corners and other crash hazards. This starts with knowing the trail before riding it.
- Hybrid bike safety: Hybrid bikes are a good balance between road and mountain bikes but require more care as a result. Hybrid bike safety starts with routine chain and tire lubrication and proper frame maintenance. Put up some fenders for shielding and choose shoes that are very comfortable for you. When on a hybrid bike, you should generally ride in the center of the road.
Cycling is a healthy and inexpensive way to get around. It’s fun, it’s easy, and it’s free! But if you are riding your bike on the roadways, there are some things you should know about safety.
Bike safety is a big deal for all cyclists. When you ride your bike, you are sharing space with other vehicles, pedestrians, and other cyclists. The only way to prevent collisions with these other people or objects is by taking precautions.
Making sure that your cycling experience is as fun and rewarding as it is exciting and useful starts with practicing good cycling safety. It is very easy to lose yourself in the moment and not be careful at all times but when you are just starting out, it is highly recommended that you keep reminding yourself of all the basic safety tips.
Hopefully, you now have a clear idea about how can you prevent injury while cycling. Happy journeys ahead!