Getting into cycling: Safety tips and advice for seniors
Mar 1, 2012, 9:31 a.m.
The accident failed to make the evening news, but the emergency records at Stanly Regional Medical Center give enough details to inform nosey people. It was a senior cycling accident. The male rider was 59 years old. It was his first time open road bike riding in over ten years.
Had he paid attention to his wife's warnings about safety helmets, kneepads and making a slow beginning, he may have walked away from the accident. He was coasting fast when the front tire blew out. His wife said it sounded like a rifle shot, but she was a far ways behind. Mr. Hardhead ended up laying on the pavement unconscious with his eyes rolled back and his tongue hanging. He also suffered scrapes and bruises, three lacerated ribs and a broken collarbone. The effort to do something special for his wife's birthday exceeded the man's greatest expectations.
Multiple Biking Safety Errors
Cycling can be a leisurely form of exercise, but it should be approached slowly and with great concern for bike safety tips and road rules. The couple involved in the above accident made several critical biking safety errors. They are as follows:
Equipment Preparation: They were riding bikes that had been stored in the basement for over fifteen years. The man pulled them out, tightened a few bolts and nuts, and then pumped up old and untested tires.
Equipment Sizing: One of the bikes was too small for an adult. Equipment sizing helps enable accurate control of the bike.
Biking Safety Equipment: They came from an age that never used biking safety helmets, kneepads or elbow pads. Had the man not been rendered unconscious upon collision, he may have been able to avoid the extended body damage that followed that moment.
Resistance to Age: Sometimes seniors just don't feel like seniors. This attitude can affect judgment calls. Before the trip began, the 59-year-old rider's wife suggested purchasing safety helmets. But in the man's mind, good health and sharp reflexes were enough to keep them safe on a bike.
Course Selection: Some folks say that you never forget how to ride a bike. Yet the years have a way of mounting against memory. This couple chose the hills of Morrow Mountain State Park as a beginner's training ground. This mountain enables coasting speeds that can exceed thirty miles per hour.
Results of the Failure to Follow Basic Bike Safety Tips
So what caused the accident? The man inflated the tires by feel rather than gauge. When the front tire blew out, he was coasting fast and riding a bike that was too small. His wife, lingering far behind and riding at a sensible pace, said she heard something like a gunshot. He can't remember the blowout, the fall or the landing. He does remember waking up in great pain with rangers all around and an ambulance on the way.
Senior cycling can be great fun. But use common sense. Remember your age. And follow basic bike safety tips.
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