Dr. M.J. Bazos MD,
Is bicycling good for you?
Yes, riding a bicycle is great exercise. It can
help you get in shape and lose weight and it can reduce the risk of health
problems like heart attacks. Bicycling puts less strain on your joints than
jogging does, so bicycling is easier on your body.
What causes bicycle crashes?
Many things can cause bicycle crashes. Sometimes
it can be your mistake, while at other times car drivers or loose gravel on the
road are to blame. You are more likely to be seriously hurt if you run into a
car or if you are riding fast. Children can be hurt while doing stunts on their
bicycles. You also need to make sure that you don't get your fingers or toes
caught in the spokes, and that the seat fits properly.
What kinds of injuries can riding my
If you get in a wreck on your bicycle, you may
end up with just a scrape or bruise. Sometimes you can get more serious injuries
and need to see your doctor. Anyone with a head injury should see their doctor,
even if the injury seems minor.
People who ride a bike a lot can get aches and
pains from overdoing it. Resting for a few days and adjusting the bicycle can
What can I do to prevent being
The best way to protect your head and face is by
wearing a helmet. Make sure your helmet meets government standards. All
children and adults should wear helmets when they ride, even on short trips.
This is now the law in some states. Wearing a pair of sports sunglasses can stop
dust and bugs from getting into your eyes. Wearing bright, reflective clothing
when you ride can make it easier for drivers to see you. You can use padded
gloves to protect your hands and wear padded shorts and use a comfortable seat
to reduce buttock pain. Parents should teach children basic traffic rules and
make sure they ride in safe places. Children younger than 10 years of age should
not ride near traffic.
How can I be sure my bike is
It is always a good idea to make sure that
everything on your bicycle is working right. Get in the habit of checking that
the brakes are working, and be sure there are no loose or broken parts on your
bike. Having reflectors and lights that work makes you much more visible to car
drivers in the dark. Many books explain how to do this; your local bike store
can often help, too.
What about child-carrier seats?
If you ride with a child on your bicycle, you
should use a special seat that fits behind the main seat. The child always needs
to wear a helmet when riding with you. Also, make sure the bike has spoke guards
to prevent the child's feet from getting caught in the spokes.