Biking is a great way to exercise, and explore the trails or a long country road. It is also an easy way to get around town or commute to work. No matter what your reason is, make sure you know how to stay safe while you're on two wheels.
Common bicycle-related accidents are due to:
- Collision with a car or another bicycle
Loss of control because of a number of factors, including:
- Difficulty in braking
- Riding too large a bike
- Riding too fast
- Riding double
- Striking a rut, bump, or obstacle
- Riding on slippery surfaces
- Attempting to do stunts
Mechanical and structural problems including:
- Brake failure
- Wobbling or disengagement of the wheel or steering mechanism
- Difficulty shifting gears
- Chain slippage
- Pedals falling off
- Spoke breakage
- Flat tire
- Entanglement of feet, hands, or clothing in the bicycle
- Foot slippage from pedal
- Difficulty getting out of clips or toe cages
Most of these accidents can be avoided with proper bike selection, use, and care. Consider the following safety tips when shopping for a new bike or taking care of an old one.
Selecting the Bicycle
There are several factors to consider when you buy a bicycle. If you haven't bought one before, consider going to a professional bicycle shop to get sound advice, look over the selection, and see what is available for accessories. Here are some other tips:
- If you are buying a bicycle for a child, choose one to fit the child's size today. Most bicycles can be adjusted as your child grows.
- A bicycle should suit the rider's ability and kind of riding.
- Check hand and foot brakes for fast, easy stops without instability or jamming.
- Avoid slippery plastic pedals. Look instead for rubber-treated pedals, or metal pedals with serrated rat-trap edges or with firmly attached toe clips.
- Make sure the bike fits your body. Ask for professional help if you are not sure how to choose the proper size and type of a bike.