Cycling is supposed to be a rewarding activity, and for good reason: it's fun, keeps you healthy, and can even serve an important transportation function. That is probably why so many people have been flocking to the electric bike trend in recent years. But the last things you want to worry about while riding are cycling accidents that result in bike injuries.
Like any physical activity, such as running or playing sports, cycling carries some degree of bike injuries. Fortunately, cycling accidents are not incredibly common. Unfortunately, however, they do happen from time to time and it is important to be able to understand how and why they happen so that you can better protect yourself while riding your bike. The common causes for bike injuries following cycling accidents include incorrect riding posture, excessive exercise, and even a lack of focus or awareness of surrounding areas or local safety protocols. Contrary to cars and other vehicles that often crash as a result of two colliding, there are actually very few bike injuries caused by two bikes colliding. Rather, most cycling accidents occur from excessive use or single-bike crashes.
To better understand how to prevent injuries while cycling, let’s walk through some of the most common cycling injuries, how to prevent them, and where to seek help if you need it.
Most Common Cycling Injuries
If you have chosen cycling as your primary exercise routine which carries numerous benefits , or you have decided to adopt cycling to work, or if you just enjoy a leisurely bike ride on the weekend, it is important to always keep yourself safe and avoid bike injuries.
Because the knees are so active while riding a bike, they are also the parts of the body that experience some of the most frequent pain or discomfort. It is important to distinguish between different types of knee pain, such as pain in the front of the knee vs. pain in the sides or the back. Pain in different spots could mean different bike injuries.
Although often preventable, head injuries from cycling accidents are too common. These can occur when hitting your head on the ground or against another object during a crash. Though possible, head injuries while cycling are extremely rare when there are no crashes.
Because riding a bike requires you to be leaning forward for an extended period, many cyclists experience back pain while riding. The most common type of back pain is in the lower back because that is where most of the strain is occurring.
Just like with most physical activities, overuse can cause injuries in the wrist and forearms. This pain can form from incorrect positioning or, occasionally but rarely, from a cycling accident.
Cycling can sometimes put undue strain on the Achilles tendon, stretching it quicker or further than it is prepared to stretch. This leads to a common and uncomfortable form of tendonitis that can be a pesky bike injury to alleviate.
How to Prevent Injuries
Recognizing biking injuries when they surface is part of the battle, but knowing the proper steps to prevent these injuries in the first place is also vital to your cycling safety. There are tips for preventing the most common types of biking injuries.
There are often two main reasons that knee pain occurs for cyclists: either the rider is using incorrect knee positioning, or the saddle is positioned too high or too low. Be sure to double-check the height of your bike seat, but also solicit advice from a cycling professional about proper knee positioning while riding.
Nearly all head injuries are the result of the failure to wear a protective helmet while riding. The next time you ride, remember to strap on your helmet!
To prevent back pain while riding, practice positioning your back with proper posture. This will also involve stretches and strengthening exercises before and after riding.
Most wrist or forearm pain results from overuse or improper use. To alleviate this, try daily stretches to keep the muscles loose and active, while also resting from biking for a while, at least until the pain subsides.
If you feel Achilles pain while riding, the first tendonitis prevention technique is rest. But what you should also do to keep it from recurring is lowering your seat, which takes more pressure off of your calves and Achilles tendons.
Where to Get Help
If a cycling accident does occur that results in bike injuries, it is important to get help as quickly as possible. Some injuries, pain, or symptoms can be avoided or at least diminished by seeking fast emergency care. The first thing you should do after a cycling accident is to assess the damage to yourself and/or others. How bad is the pain? Are there cuts or scrapes or bruises? Are there potentially any broken bones? Deep cuts that are not treated promptly can lead to lifelong scars, and broken bones that are not put in casts can lead to long-term issues.
In the event of a minor cycling accident, you should seek first aid and clean any scrapes or cuts with antiseptic ointment and bandage them up properly. If the cycling accident has led to more serious bike injuries, then you should always call 9-1-1 for emergency care. Only trained, professional first responders will be able to assess the injuries correctly. After receiving emergency care, follow-up appointments with your doctor should be scheduled to ensure you are on the right path toward recovery and to make sure you are getting back to biking at a manageable pace.
Ultimately, biking should be a fun and enjoyable activity, and that is why taking the necessary steps to prevent cycling accidents and resulting bike injuries is so important. As a cyclist, you should be aware of the common biking injuries, such as knee pain, head trauma, back pain, wrist or forearm pain, and even Achilles tendonitis. If you begin to notice any of these injuries beginning to surface, you should take precautions to ease your biking amount. And when a serious injury occurs, you should always seek emergency medical care right away. With this information in mind, go out and ride safely and avoid these common biking injuries!