UPMC nurse gives advice on safe driving | News, Sports, Jobs
Biking is a great way to have fun while spending time outdoors. It benefits you physically, mentally and the environment in a positive way. While this is a useful way to be active, you must remember that it can be risky as serious injuries can occur from falls and automobiles.
Note the following precautions to avoid injury and enjoy this mode of transportation.
Before setting off on your expedition, plan a route, check the weather, and inspect your bike.
Checking your route before starting your trip lets you know where there may be heavy traffic or difficult terrain. It is preferable to avoid traffic entirely or to plan, if possible, to use roads with a cycle lane or a dedicated path.
The weather can affect a bike ride and it is important to plan accordingly. Exposure to the elements can affect how you can react to the environment around you and increase your risk for weather-related illnesses, such as dehydration, heatstroke, or frostbite.
Check the forecast for the whole day and take necessary precautions, such as carrying extra water and sun protection on hot days or taking very dry clothes on cold and humid days. Also consider the impact of weather conditions on motorists and pedestrians, as they can increase braking times, reduce visibility, or create other hazards that put everyone at risk.
Once you have a route in mind, you can start checking the functionality of your bike. First should be a brake check. If you are unable to stop your bike, you could easily lose control and be adversely affected. Make sure the bike you plan to ride is the right size for you. If the bike is too big or too small, it will be more difficult to control. Make sure anything that is loose on you, like backpack straps or shoe laces, is tucked in so that nothing gets caught in the chain or wheels of your bike.
Whatever your age, wearing a helmet is essential for safe cycling. Helmets reduce the risk of head injury by almost 50% and can save lives. The following tips will ensure that your helmet fits properly:
– The straps of the helmet must be tight enough so that only one finger can pass between your chin and the strap.
– The helmets should not move when you shake your head.
– Make sure the helmet covers your forehead.
– Make sure the V-straps wrap around your ears.
Replace helmets that have been worn in an accident. Even if there is no visible sign of damage to the helmet, consider it to be defective and replace it.
In addition to wearing a helmet, consider wearing reflective or shiny clothing to increase your visibility to drivers, pedestrians and other cyclists. Also add reflectors to your bike; a front light and a rear red light can also increase visibility.
When riding a bicycle in busy streets, you must obey the highway code. You must follow the flow of traffic and drive in the same direction as the cars and obey all traffic signs and signals. This helps the drivers around you to plan what you are planning to do and to avoid causing an accident. If you act hesitantly, it can confuse the drivers around you, causing confusion and a possible collision.
Just like driving, you need to remain alert and cautious of distractions on the roads. Watch out for hazards like potholes, gravel, or other things that could knock you off your bike. You can also stay alert by not wearing headphones and listening to traffic.
When riding your bike, you will need to keep pedestrians in mind in addition to motorists. Pedestrians always have the right of way and cyclists must give in to them when needed, as motorists would. If you must pass someone, slow down, announce which way you are going to pass them, and use a doorbell.
If you use common sense and caution, biking is a great option to get active this summer.
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Annalisa Negrea, RN, is the Injury Prevention Coordinator with Emergency Medicine at UPMC Williamsport, 700 High Street. For more information, visit UPMC.com/Emergency.