Emergency Care For You

Health Tips

Bicycling

Dr. Kathleen Cowling, emergency physician at Covenant HealthCare in Saginaw, Michigan

  • Wear a properly fitting helmet that meets standards set by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC); these helmets come with a CPSC sticker on them.
  • For long or strenuous rides, or rides over rough terrain, wear wrist guards, and knee and elbow pads.
  • Obey traffic signs and signals, and never riding against the flow of traffic.
  • Use proper hand signals.
  • Avoid road obstacles that can be associated with falls, such as wet leaves, large puddles, rough surfaces, curbs, gravel or rocks and, most important, other bikers or pedestrians.
  • Ride a bicycle that is appropriate to your size — or one that includes one to three inches of space between the rider and the top bar and allows him or her to have both feet firmly on the ground when straddling the bar.
  • Adequately maintain your bicycle with properly inflated tires, smoothly adjusted brakes and a well-oiled chain.
  • Dress in bright clothes and attach or wear reflectors.
  • Wear sneakers and avoiding clothing that could get caught in the bike’s chain or wheels, including loosely fitted pants, shoelaces or anything with straps or chains dangling. 
  • Never wear headphones or talk on cell phones. 
  • Never carry another person or heavy, awkward items.
  • Restrict the cycling of young children to sidewalks, paths, and driveways. 
  • Teach older children safe bicycle road behaviors. 
  • Check brakes, reflectors, gear shifts and tires before riding. 
  • Avoid riding at dusk or after dark.