Whether you get on your bicycle for exercise, your commute or just for fun, riding on the road comes with some risks. You’re aware of that fact, so you take steps to minimize the potential danger. That could mean wearing a helmet and adding reflectors or lights to your bike. It could also mean avoiding heavily-traveled roads or only biking at lower traffic times of day.
Unfortunately, no matter how careful you are, you can’t completely eliminate the risk of a crash with a motor vehicle. People behind the wheel of vehicles may not stop to look for you before they turn, merge or open their doors.
Many times, the drivers of these larger vehicles are the ones who cause crashes with bikes due to distraction or failing to notice a bike rider. Usually the person on the bike is the one who suffers, as the motor vehicle typically protects the driver and any passenger inside.
Your bike, on the other hand, can’t do much to reduce the impact of a collision or protect you from injuries. Understanding risk factors and knowing what kind of injuries are most common can help you take better steps to protect yourself and your loved ones when biking.
Head injuries are common in biking accidents
The fact that head injuries are one of the most common biking injuries won’t surprise many who enjoy pedal-powered transportation. In fact, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians, between 22 percent and 47 percent of injured cyclists have sustained a head injury.
Many times, these injuries are the result of a collision with a motor vehicle. Head injuries represent roughly 60 percent of cyclist fatalities and the majority of cases that result in permanent disability. Protecting your head is clearly key to reducing the risk of both death and disabling injury when on a bicycle.
There are other common injuries as well, including:
- eye trauma from airborne objects like dirt or insects
- dental fractures
- facial contusions, soft tissue injuries and fractures
- fractured bones
- dislocated joints
- muscular strains
- road rash, if the cyclist gets thrown from the bike
Abdominal injuries and pelvic injuries, as well a neck injuries, are rarer but do still happen. A cyclist can experience blunt trauma to the abdomen or groin if he or she falls into the handlebars. Sometimes, there can be penetrating injuries if the handlebars edges aren’t adequately protected.
There can also be organ injuries due to abdominal trauma if the cyclist hits a car door or handlebars or gets run over by a vehicle. Knowing that head and facial injuries are most common, cyclists would do well to take extra steps to protect their head, face and eyes when they go out on the road.