For those who have waited for the winter to end before taking their bicycles out, rest assured the weather will improve and more riders will be out in earnest soon. Whether you are an experienced rider or just got your first great bike and can’t wait to get out on the Georgia roads or trails, safety comes first. So what do experienced riders and responders recommend for those going out for the season? Here are some safety tips we collected from safety experts to keep your ride fun and injury-free.
Think safety before going out on your bike. The Centers for Disease Control has a list of preventative measures to protect your head. So, start at the top and make sure you protect against head injuries. These can occur when a rider falls. Even a fall that doesn’t cause other injuries and seems uneventful can turn out to be harmful or even deadly. Just as in skiing accidents, a rider can fall and have a brain bleed and not know it. So, if you are riding and fall and your helmet is damaged, that could be a sign that your head was hit harder than you think. And it is what happens inside your skull that is the worry. If you begin having a headache, that is a sign that your brain could be affected by the fall. Other issues that could signal a brain injury include blurred or impaired vision. You or a riding partner should contact 911 so that you can get checked out for injury.
Another area of concern in a fall are spinal issues. If you have experienced a fall and believe you might be injured do a couple of things to rule out your spine. Try to turn your head slowly to make sure you have normal range of motion. If you do not, stop moving your head and contact 911. If you have any numbness or tingling in your limbs, this could be a symptom of spinal injury so contact medical help.
It is always wise to travel with a first aid kit on your bike. You might need to help yourself until help comes to you, so take a few things that are essential for first aid.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the most dangerous time to ride is between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. in the evening. More bicycle deaths occur during these hours. If you are riding at night, dawn or dusk, make sure you have reflective clothing on and make sure your bike has some sort of light or reflective material.
Make sure some form of identification and notes on any medical allergies are with you. There are phone apps in which you can store all your emergency information and those working as responders know how to access this. It is very important to ensure that allergies to medication are noted.
Let someone know the route you plan to take if you are riding alone. If something were to happen and responders needed to find you, knowing the route could mean the difference between life and death.
Scholle Law joins with the Georgia cycling community in welcoming spring this month. We are here to help guide cyclists with safety support and with injury support. If you or a loved one has been injured while riding, by a motor vehicle or a dangerous road condition or a defective bike, please call on us for a free evaluation of your situation. Often injuries are caused by the negligence or fault of others and those injuries can be serious and take time to resolve. We can help with any legal matters and medical support to get back on your feet. Safe and happy riding to all our cycling readers!