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Bicycle Safety

Preventing Injuries

Many injuries can be prevented by proper selection equipment, adjustment of the bicycle to the individual rider, proper maintenance, and using common sense in how the bicycle is supposed to be riden.

Appropriately-sized frames, handlebar, and seat heights as well as understanding how the gear system works help reduce injuries.

Legislation Promoting Safety

Perhaps the easiest step a rider can take to prevent bicycle related injury and death is to wear a helmet. Unfortunately, many riders disregard this, placing themselves at great risk.

Mandatory helmet laws do increase helmet use, which reduces significantly the number and severity of head injuries. Studies show that use of helmets can reduce severe injuries by almost 85% in addition to reducing the number of bicycle-related fatalities.

Simply owning a helmet will not insure safety. It must be used! Children should be monitored to be certain that they are not avoiding helmet use because of peer pressure.

Helmet need to fit properly be worn correctly. A proper fit helps a bicyclist get the full benefit of helmet use. A poorly fitting helmet will provide significantly less protection.

Currently, only 21 states have laws requiring helmet use by young bicyclists. Some local communities have enacted ordinances mandating the use of helmets while bicycling. Over two-thirds of bicycle-related deaths could be prevented by the use of a protective helmet.

Safety in Off-Road Conditions

Bicycle riding has evolved from a mode of transportation to a widely enjoyed hobby and recreational sport. Off-road riding and racing has certainly increased in popularity in recent years.

The majority of off-road injuries involve cuts and scrapes to the arms and legs. However, off-road or all-terrain cyclists sustain more severe injuries-such as fractures and dislocations-than road cyclists.

Synonyms and Keywords

bike safety, bicycle safety, bicycle helmets, bike helmets

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WebMD Medical Reference from eMedicineHealth

Reviewed by Melinda Ratini, DO, MS on June 03, 2014

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