Many of us are guilty of riding a bicycle without wearing full protection but are you truly aware of the risks? The romantic notion of feeling the wind blowing through our hair as you ride through the countryside on a hot summers day, is there anything like it? It may be a great feeling but you are putting yourself in danger for very little benefit.
Maybe consider these things every time you hop in the saddle:
- Is the risk worth it?
Even the most experienced riders can have crashes; this is usually due to the more experienced you become, the more confident & less focused. An accident takes a split second but has longer lasting effects. Wearing a helmet won’t make you accident proof; but any impact to your head will be absorbed and lessened. So, there’s a choice; a damaged helmet or a damaged brain?
- Who’s getting hurt?
Many believe it is children that are more accident prone; according to statistics in 2013, 109 people were killed in cycling accidents however, only 3 of these were children. Remember to ensure you and children are always safe whilst out on a bicycle.
- Many people will see the above statistic and think “well that is lower than I thought”. But statistics also show that 3143 people were seriously injured during a cycling accident, with the majority of those (2867) being adults. Being seriously injured can affects mobility, brain function or confidence. Out of 19438 cycling accidents only 16168 are slightly injured meaning a great proportion of those people have been seriously injured or worse!
Hospital data suggests that 40% of adult cyclists and 45% of child cyclists suffer head injuries. This isn’t just a bump to the head, the category of head injuries can range from minor concussion, to brain damage to fatal skull fractures. Despite the facts and figures only 20-25% of all cyclist’s wear helmets. If you don’t want to be another accident statistic there are few simple measures you can take to be in control of your safety:
- Always wear a helmet–
There are plenty of studies proving and disproving the effectiveness of wearing a helmet but when it really comes down to it, do you want you or your child to be the ones to find out?
- Obey all traffic laws and lights–
The age-old grudge between cyclists and drivers looks unlikely to ever end. Make sure you obey all the correct procedures and pre-empt others actions to maximise your own safety.
- Act like a car–
Drivers are familiar with the behaviour of other drivers and expect bikes to be the same. Unexpected movements can knock a driver’s confidence causing accidents. The more predictable and obvious you are the safer you will be. Always stay alert and be aware of traffic around you.
- Use hand signals–
This is a key cycling safety point that many ignore or forget. Not only is it useful for motorists to know where you’re going, it’s also useful for pedestrians too. Particularly at junctions and roundabouts where you are cutting across traffic, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
- Those are our top tips for staying safe in the saddle. There might seem like a lot to think about when choosing to cycle but it’s simple really, don’t take risks with your safety. Don’t be put off, cycling is extremely beneficial for your health, the environment and much more.
From 10th – 18th June 2017 is Bike Week; this week is an opportunity to promote cycling, can easily be part of your daily life. As the biggest cycling event in the UK, bike week encourages over half a million people to join in events, rethink how they travel and to switch to cycling. Click here to see the events they have lined up near you!