Riding a bicycle is one of the best ways to get proper exercise, maintain your weight, and generally have fun. When you’re out on your bike, you boost your overall health since it’s a form of intense cardio that exercises your entire body, which would probably also explain the increase in the number of cyclists globally today.
However, despite cycling being good for you, it could also pose a threat to your well-being since you could get a number of injuries from it. Some of them could also be the result of falls or collisions on the road.
These injuries could progress over time and become more serious, perhaps due to moving repeatedly on the bike.
Injuries from collision and fall accidents are the most severe, so in this article, we’ll discuss the top causes of these riding accidents on the road and how to prevent them.
- Top 6 Causes of Cycling Accidents & How to Avoid Them
- 6 Common Cycling Injuries & How to Prevent Them
Top 6 Causes of Cycling Accidents & How to Avoid Them
1. Distracted Driving
Aside from being a leading cause of vehicle collision with other vehicles, distracted driving is also a leading cause of collision involving bicycles. When a driver is distracted by his phone, a book, or anything else, they fail to pay attention to their surroundings and could end up knocking down a cyclist and causing an accident.
How to Avoid: Ensure you’re always attentive on the road.
2. Insufficient Buffering
When drivers drive too closely to cyclists or overtake them within a close range unnecessarily, they create a dangerous situation where they could end up hitting the cyclists themselves or throwing the cyclists off balance. That could make the cyclists unable to avoid a collision with other people.
How to Avoid: Maintain proper distance from cyclists or cars when you’re on the road to avoid this.
3. Speeding Issues
When you cycle faster than the recommended speed, you limit your ability to make sound decisions on the road. However, cycling at a relatively lower speed is also risky and can cause cycling accidents.
How to Avoid: Stay within the recommended speed every time you’re on the road.
4. Weaving through Traffic
When you’re riding your bike and start weaving through traffic, you’re less likely to safely maneuver to avoid a collision. If you’re the driver, weaving through traffic could mean you will drift outside your lane and onto that of bikes.
How to Avoid: Even if you’re in a hurry, understand that traffic is beyond your control, so stick to your lane and avoid weaving altogether.
5. Ignoring Traffic Lights
When either drivers or cyclists ignore traffic lights, especially red lights, or stop signs, they could end up in intersection accidents. This often happens in suburban areas and city centers.
How to Avoid: For a driver, running traffic lights increases the risk of knocking down cyclists who are on the right path. Always remember to obey the lights and road signs as they help you avoid accidents.
Also, drivers are sometimes required to yield, and failing to do so poses a great risk to cyclists. So, learn to yield when you’re required to.
6. Impaired Riding or Driving
When you decide to go drinking knowing that you’ll either be riding a bike or driving, you become a danger to yourself and others who will be on the same road. Alcohol reduces a driver’s ability to make the right decisions on the road.
A cyclist, due to impaired judgment, could also ride straight into cars, pedestrians, other cyclists.
Riding your bike when your body feels fatigued is also a risk as you might not be able to make decisions fast enough at intersections, for example, or where there are traffic lights.
How to Avoid: Avoid getting back on your bike or car when you’re drunk or too fatigued as it could lead to serious injuries.
6 Common Cycling Injuries & How to Prevent Them
1. Lower Back Pain
Lower back pain is a common cycling injury that occurs when the quadriceps pull your pelvis to the front and to keep your body well on the bike, the lower part of your back resists this pull. As a result, your lower back muscles feel overworked, causing severe pain in the area.
You can prevent and treat this injury by working hard to make your core stronger. Also, focus on strengthening your glutes.
When you have a strong core, it will activate before there is any kind of movement in your limbs. This, therefore, takes away any stress from your lower back and keeps your movements stabilized.
You can also prevent lower back pain by setting your back in the right position that suits the frame of your bicycle.
2. Knee Pain
There are different types of knee pain: anterior which affects the front part of the knee, posterior which happens on the knee’s backside, media, and lateral knee pain which occurs on the sides of the knee.
They all have different causes and because of that, even their individual solutions are different.
Knee pain results from using a bike that doesn’t fit you properly, whether the issue is with the saddle position or with the cleat. It could also be caused by overusing your bicycle and riding too hard a bit too soon.
This can be solved by doing regular stretches. However, you can prevent knee pain altogether by getting a bike that actually fits you or your child.
For children, in particular, avoid going for bikes that they’re supposed to grow into. Instead, buy them a kid’s bike that will fit them at the moment.
Normally, for a good fitting bike, your feet should actually touch the ground when you’re sitting on the saddle.
Make sure the tires have been properly inflated to test this. The reflectors, gear shifts, and brakes should also function properly to keep your knees safe.
3. Neck Pain
Neck pain, just like pain in the back, can be caused by fatigue or a bike that doesn’t properly fit you. You can get rid of neck pain by doing exercises to strengthen your body such as stretching.
You should also ensure that you get a bike that fits you properly. When you’re riding, maintain a relaxed position since gripping it too tightly and sitting in a tense cycling posture will only cause you more pain.
You can also avoid overtraining even when you’re tempted to train longer as you prepare for competitions.
4. Saddle Sores
Saddle sores is a skin disorder that comes from spending too many hours on your saddle. Friction occurs between your clothes, your skin, and the saddle and that can give you some unsightly rashes.
You would have to use a cream to relieve the uneasy sensation on your skin after exposing it to this kind of friction.
You can avoid saddle sores by wearing the right clothes for cycling such as cycling shorts and setting your saddle just right. Make sure your saddle is neither too high nor too low.
Also, make sure that you train for only the recommended amount of time when you’re new to bicycle training. Build endurance to sit for long slowly with time.
5. Achilles and Patella Tendinitis
Achilles tendonitis is another common injury that results from overusing your bicycle but can also be caused by cycling on a bike that’s the wrong fit for you.
You can also get Achilles Tendinitis from wrongly positioned shoe cleats which can, in turn, cause inflammation. This inflammation will lead to pain in the ankles that could be quite uncomfortable.
If you suspect that this condition is developing, the best thing to do is to take a break from your training for a few days or simply take it easy when you’re doing so. After exercising, you can always apply some ice on your tendons to prevent a bigger issue in the future.
6. Muscle Fatigue
If you take a closer look at professional cyclists’ quats, you will notice their impressive size since it’s what they use to do the riding. However, every rider needs to understand that the quats need a break to avoid muscle fatigue and other injuries.
If your muscles are over fatigued, there is a buildup in lactic acid which makes the muscles extremely painful. A good massage could help relieve your pain but prevention is better.
You could simply use kinesiology tape before you start to pedal. You can also try switching up how you pedal when you’re on the bike as this will allow for some muscles to relax when you’re exerting pressure on others.
As can be seen, there are different types of injuries you could get from cycling. Some injuries are more serious because of how they occur, perhaps through accidents, while other injuries in cycling like the ones discussed result from how you handle yourself when you’re riding.
Whichever injury in cycling you’re likely to get, try your best to keep yourself from actually experiencing it by following the prevention tips outlined above. Most importantly, avoid injuries from accidents by being extra careful when you’re cycling on the road.