Mountain biking safety and injury

By Charles Hopkins Published 04/7/2006 | Sports

Mountain biking is a wonderful sport. But the problem is unfortunate crashes seem to be a regular feature of this sport. According to a survey, more than 80% of the mountain bikers suffer on and off-road crashes every year. According to another survey, almost 20% of the mountain bikers suffered traumatic injury.

Types of injury: Almost 60-70% mountain bikers, who face crashes, suffer minor injuries like abrasions, contusions, and lacerations. Only in the cases of 20-30% crash victims, fractures and concussions have been found. The majority of these fractures occurs to the upper extremity and most commonly involves the fingers, metacarpals, wrist, and radial head. It is seen that clavicle fractures and acromioclavicular separations are found in cyclists who fall and land on the shoulder. The cause of the shoulder injury is the raising arm of the cyclist during a forward fall. Other serious injuries that can occur are pelvic fractures, facial fractures, intra-abdominal injuries and severe brain injuries. These brain injuries occur because some careless bikers do not bother to wear helmets for protection.

From the list of injuries you might think that mountain biking is inherently dangerous but if you follow some safety tips then you can avoid the dangers and enjoy this adventurous sport.

a)    Gear up

Wearing a helmet is the single most important step for a safe mountain biking experience. You must never forget to wear a helmet and take every other appropriate safety equipment for the riding conditions.

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b)    Never Ride beyond Your Abilities

You dont have to be ashamed of yourself if you walk in parts of the trail, which you feel is dangerous for you to ride.

c)     Use Appropriate Equipment for the Terrain

Always remember there are some bikes, which are better for different situations. Even if you can see tire tracks, you shouldnt try to ride it with your bike.

d)    Keep Your Speed in Check

Remember, you must always keep your speed at a level, in which you can easily adjust to any sudden obstacles or changes in the trail.

e)    Know The Trail

If you are riding in a trail that you are unfamiliar with then ride at slower speeds so that you can know how the trail is like. This will not only help you to avoid crashes but also keep other riders safe.

f)      Slow Down for Blind Corners

Remember it is always better that you slow down for blind corners. After all it is true that you can never know what or who is around a corner. 

g)    Always stop and look

If you think that at any place the trail is looking dangerous then stop immediately because they may pose a challenge before you ride them.

h)    Plan on the Crash

It is better to look at the consequences of crashing in a particular section or on a particular stunt before you try to ride through it. Sometimes a route can look easy to ride but can have deadly consequences to a crash.

i)       Do not take risk at the first step

There is no need to immediately go and take risk by riding through tough obstacles and stunts. First start with practicing moves in less difficult and dangerous situations or at lower speeds before you try something dangerous.

j)      Follow your instincts

Always go by your instincts. Do you think what you are doing is not the smartest thing? Then it is always advisable that you dont do it.

If you go for mountain biking trip by weighing all the pros and cons then there should be much less chance of you getting involved in an accident.