Thursday, 26 May 2011


This is where you end up after a long ride and a sudden change of plan! Cycling is inherently dangerous!!

This accident resulted in a broken collarbone and a some pain, an enforced rest from raining and no little annoyance. But it could have been worse.

I have also suffered this week after a freak accident whch saw me hit a 2 inch block of wood in the road that punctured both tires and through me to the ground at about 20 mph. It hurt and I have the road rash and bruised ribs to show for it. I also get to share in the frustration of not being able to complete my training goals, cycling seems OK but swimming and running are out... good job I am dong a 350 mile cyclosportive over the weekend so I hope to be back running and swimming by next week.

So what are the risks in cycling and what can we do about it. It starts with setting out with the correct equipment. Make sure you bike works, the brakes are in good condition and you tires or OK. Make sure you have the appropriate clothing, especially cycling gloves and a helmet. Your hands will save the rest of you from significant injury but dont grind out the palms of your hands, cycling gloves have padding where they do for a reason (and it is not really to make your griip easier- its to cushion your hands in a fall onto your outstretched palm). As my hands are my livelihood I try to wear gloves even in a race.

The evidence for helmets is overwhelming if you view it correctly, There is a population study from australia that suggested that the wearing of helmets discouraged people from cycling and as a consequence there was a net reduction in total health benefit from cycling. It did not show as is frequently quoted that wearing of helmets themselves does anything other than reduce risk of serious head injury. Helmets save lives so you would be a fool not to use one.

The remaining risks are down to how you cycle and how you interact with other road users. As a lifelong rider in a busy city I can be pretty assertive in the way I ride which ensures visibility (good) but can lead to conflict (bad) but most city road users develop some degree of acceptance (probably related to the frequency of traffic lights) of each other. Country side road users seem to regard cyclists as more of a nuisance and often seem to be in more of a hurry. Any feedback to them of their inconsiderate driving is limited by the lack of aforementioned traffic lights. So we you need to learn where the roads are safe, how to avoid hotspots and how to reduce conflict. After 42 years I am slowly getting more mellow (OK hard to believe) but I do now try to smile and adopt a positive attitude in my response to other road users.

Finally speed increases risk. Take care especially on fast descents when you are tired... which brings us neatly back to the start of this post

1 comment:

Jevon said...

sorry to hear about the accident. The lay off from swimming and running won't do you any harm.
have a great weekend and ride hard... but safe!