Bicycle Safety for Senior Citizens
Riding a bicycle is an excellent form of exercise, especially for older Indiana residents. Unlike running, cycling is relatively low impact but still gives the heart and lungs a good workout.
However, riding a bicycle can be dangerous. Motorists on the road rarely give cyclists enough room to ride safely, and collisions can be deadly. Our Indianapolis bicycle accident lawyers provide some tips to make cycling safer for the elderly members of our community.
Wear a Helmet that Fits
All cyclists benefit from wearing a helmet, which can dramatically reduce the risk of suffering a serious head injury. Seniors must make sure that they have a helmet that fits their head. A helmet should not ride too low in the front or be too tight. The last thing you want to do on your bicycle is to be adjusting your helmet, which requires that you remove one hand from the handlebars.
Consider a Stationary or Recumbent Bicycle
Balance decreases as we age. Take an honest appraisal of your ability to stay balanced on the bicycle before heading out on a trip. If you feel unsteady, you should choose a different form of exercise.
There are excellent options for those with shaky balance. For example, you can ride a stationary bike in the gym or buy one for your home. If you want to go out on the road, then consider riding a recumbent bicycle. This type of bike allows the rider to recline, which shifts their center of gravity. They also have less distance to fall.
Ride in a Group
Riding with others is a great way to socialize, but it also is a practical decision from a safety perspective. If you fall, someone in the group can help you get the medical attention that you need. Some seniors are so weak that it can be hard for them to pick themselves up—especially after a fall. Riding with other people provides some protection.
If there is no one else who can go with you, remember to take your cell phone. Make sure it is on your body and protected in the event you fall so that you can call for help.
Don’t Cycle too Far—At Least at First
Long trips are very grueling, and many seniors are surprised at how quickly they can become dehydrated. Even if you could go hours without eating or drinking in your youth, your body can handle less stress now.
Taking a water bottle and snacks with you can help you refuel. But it is best to ease into cycling by taking shorter trips, at least at first, and building up from there.
Follow Traffic Safety Laws
Cyclists ride with traffic, not against it. They also need to follow all other traffic safety rules. Remember to signal before making a turn or stop. You can review the appropriate hand signals if you no longer remember them from your Driver’s Ed days.
Avoid Rush Hour Traffic
If you are afraid to ride on the road, choose off-peak hours when there are fewer cars out. You can also find side streets where traffic is generally less heavy. Cycling should be an enjoyable experience, not a scary one.
Contact Us if You Were Injured in an Accident
Keffer Hirschauer LLP has settled many cases favorably for our cyclist clients. For more information, contact our law firm to schedule a free consultation.