Life in the Bike Lane: 8 Tips to Preventing Biking Injuries

bike safety tipsMay is National Physical Fitness and Sports month; it’s also National Bike to Work month. Here at eMedical Urgent Care, our emergency medicine physicians recognize the importance of staying healthy through sound nutrition and physical exercise to help prevent illness. Biking is one of the fun ways to incorporate exercise benefiting the entire family and a great way to keep your child healthy. There’s nothing quite like a picturesque bike ride on a pleasant spring or summer day, so get caught up in the gorgeous New Jersey scenery (soak up some Vitamin D) and get fit!

Boost the Body with Biking

Cycling will burn calories, strengthen muscles, increase endurance and improve overall physical health. Many people think that the legs get all the benefits of a bike workout, but the truth is, it’s a full body workout strengthening your arms and core muscles as well. Biking also boosts your body’s cardiovascular system. Research has shown that biking 20 miles per week can decrease the risk for heart attack by as much as 50 percent.

Boost the Mind with Biking

Research also suggests that biking not only promotes many physical health benefits, but also is really good for the mind. Reduce stress levels and decrease depression naturally and safely. The combination of exercise with the beauty of the great outdoors can be an emotionally uplifting experience each and every day!

Accidents Happen

Due to inherent risks of sharing the streets with vehicles, biking can be potentially dangerous. As reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2010 (most recent stats) in the U.S., almost 800 bicyclists were killed and there were an estimated 515,000 emergency department visits due to bicycle-related injuries.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) also offers these statistics:
• From 2000 to 2012, the number of Americans traveling to work by bicycle increased from 488,000 to about 786,000 (U.S. Census Bureau, May 2014).
• Bicyclists accounted for 2 percent of all traffic fatalities and 2 percent of all crash-related injuries in 2012.
• Most bicyclist fatalities occurred between 4 p.m. and midnight (48%) and in urban areas (69%).
• Almost 9 in 10 (88%) of those killed while riding bicycles were male.

Avoid Biking Injuries

1. Wear a helmet. This is one of the smartest things any cyclist can do before the rubber hits the road; helping to reduce the risk of head and brain injuries in the event of a crash.
2. Use active lighting if you’re riding on non-peak daylight hours. Front white lights, red rear lights or other lighting on the bike or the rider.
3. Increase visibility by wearing fluorescent clothing or reflective apparel.
4. Look left-right-left before entering a road from a driveway, alley or from between parked cars. The driver has the right-of-way and does not expect bicyclists to enter the road in the middle of a block.
5. Ride in straight, predictable lines; look over your shoulder for traffic, and use hand signals before changing lane position.
6. Follow the same rules of the road as motorists. Be prepared to stop quickly and remember to stop at stop signs.
7. Ride with the flow of traffic, never against it.
8. Don’t drink and ride. Remember that a bicycle is a vehicle. If you plan to drink alcohol, get a safe ride home.

Urgent Care When You Need It

Illness and accidents don’t always happen between 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. For those unfortunate after-hours and weekend bike accidents or other non-life-threatening illness or injuries, both our eMedical Urgent Care offices in Middletown, NJ and Berkeley Heights, NJ provide the medical attention you need, when you need it.

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