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Tips on Bicycling Safety From the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons

ROSEMONT, Ill., March 23 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Cyclist Lance Armstrong is hospitalized for a fractured collarbone after a fall from his bicycle during a race in Spain. Today Show anchor Matt Lauer takes a tumble on his bike, hurting his shoulder after colliding with a deer. These two accidents highlight the importance of bicycle safety as accidents can happen to anyone at anytime. Whether you are an avid rider or a first-time cycler, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) warns bicyclists of all ages to remember some important safety precautions.

  • Always wear a helmet approved by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).
    • Make sure it fits snugly but comfortably and does not obstruct vision.
    • It should have a chin strap and buckles that stay securely fastened.
    • Studies have shown that wearing a bicycle helmet can reduce head injuries by up to 95 percent.
  • Make certain the bicycle is the proper size for the rider. Appropriately sized frames, handlebar and seat heights, as well as understanding of gear systems, help reduce fractures or sprains.
  • Consider wearing knee, wrist and elbow pads to protect bones and joints when falling.
  • If you fall off a bicycle, maneuver yourself far away from other danger like moving traffic.
  • Proper supervision of younger riders at all times. It is recommended that younger children ride only in enclosed areas.

Common accidents can include, but are not limited to: colliding with a car or another bicycle, losing control, entangling hands, feet or clothing in the bicycle and feet slipping off the pedals. As orthopaedic surgeons treat so many of these types of injuries, the AAOS recommends further tips when riding a bike:

  • Wear bright fluorescent colors and avoid biking at night. If biking at night, make sure to have rear reflectors and a working headlight visible from 500 feet away.
  • Avoid plastic pedals, which can be slippery when wet and cause your feet to stray off the pedal.
  • Stay alert and watch for obstacles.
  • Consider using training wheels for young and first-time riders.
  • Ride in the direction of traffic and be aware of surrounding traffic. Obey all rules of the road; bicycles are vehicles, too.
  • Do not ride double, attempt stunts or go too fast.
  • Avoid loose clothing and wear appropriate footwear. Use pant leg clips to keep clothing grease-free and out of the bicycle chain.
  • Avoid riding on uneven or slippery surfaces. All types of brakes may not work as well when wheels are wet and require more distance to stop.
  • Drinking enough fluids, stretching and scheduling routine activity can help avoid injuries related to overuse.
  • Ensure the bicycle is properly adjusted for your height and well-maintained. Replace broken or missing parts.


SOURCE American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
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