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More than just a helmet; cycling tips for a safe summer

By Staff Sgt. Randy Redman
Thunderbolt editor
Photo by Staff Sgt. Randy Redman

Cycling is a fun, convenient and a healthy way to get around - but if you don't follow basic safety guidelines the results could fall well short of fun and be far from good for your body.

In 2002, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, more than 635,000 bicycle injuries in children from 5 to 14 years old were treated in hospitals, doctor's offices, clinics, ambulatory surgery centers and emergency rooms.

If you are new to cycling or have had a long lay-off, don't worry. By building up your skills and confidence you can be safely self-reliant on the road.

To enjoy traveling by bike on roads a person needs to be able to stop, start and steer, look behind to see what's going on and give clear hand signals. The better someone is at controlling their bike the easier they find it to get about. Time spent practicing your riding skills is never wasted.

Like everyone else, a person should aim to feel confident about riding on the road. This comes the more you cycle. People riding cycles should occupy enough space on the road to be safe themselves and be noticed by others.

In order to promote a safer season, orthopedic surgeons urge cyclists to take extra caution to prevent injury. While wearing helmets remains the proven method of reducing brain injuries in bicycle accidents, these accidents can also result in serious musculoskeletal injuries, broken bones, sprains and strains to the rider.

The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons offers these bicycle safety tips:

  • Always wear a helmet. Make sure it fits snugly and does not obstruct your vision.
  • Make certain the bicycle is the proper size for the rider.
  • Make sure your bicycle is properly adjusted and well maintained. Replace broken or missing parts.
  • Wear bright fluorescent colors and avoid biking at night. If you have to ride your bike at night, make sure you have a working headlight visible for 500 feet and rear reflectors.
  • Stay alert and watch for obstacles in your pathway.
  • Ride with traffic and be aware of traffic around you. Obey traffic laws.
  • Avoid loose clothing and wear appropriate footwear.
  • Dress for the weather.




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