April 26th, 2013

Health N' Sports: Bicycle Safety & Awareness

Staff Report


Health N' Sports: Bicycle Safety & Awareness
photo from bicycletasmaniablog.org

As a part of the Louisville Orthopaedic Clinic, the Sports Rehab Team physical therapists are knowledgeable and trained in the latest advancements and techniques available in sports rehabilitation.

On a weekly basis, the Health N’ Sports Update will give information on prevention, recovery, and include special offers, as well as general health tips that would be beneficial to all. If there is a specific topic you’d like to know or hear more about, email future suggestions to editor@catholicsportsnet.com.

There were approximately 38,000 bicyclist injuries in the United States in 2011, a decline from the reported 61,000 in 1995.  Although this seems as though bicycle safety awareness is increasing, we must remember the statistics only represent those cases that are reported, which could be as low as 10% of total injury cases actually reported.  Cyclists must remember that they are considered vehicle operators.  While automotive vehicles should treat cyclists with respect on the road, cyclists must also obey all traffic laws as well.  Visible clothes and hand signals should be worn and used at all times to communicate location and intention of the cyclist.  Reflection tape and a front and rear light should also be used during dawn, dusk, and at night.  A helmet should be worn at all times while riding.  A helmet is the most effective way to prevent head injuries.

Preparation: Proper Bike Fit, Posture, Core Strength

Besides crashes and accidents, cycling can also cause orthopaedic injuries if not educated on proper use of your equipment.  “Because cycling requires you to maintain the same position over an extended period of time while performing repetitive motions, you could experience overuse injuries” says Dr. Scott Kuiper, an orthopedic surgeon at Louisville Orthopaedic Clinic and veteran cyclist.  To maintain that posture, core exercises and stretching are very important for cyclists when training.  A strong core will allow an athlete to maintain the correct position for the time spent on their ride.  If proper posture is not maintained then you could experience back or neck pain.  “Proper bike fit is essential for avoiding cycling-related injuries such as back pain, knee pain,  shoulder soreness, or foot/ankle discomfort”  says Dr. Kuiper,  “A seat that is too low may cause back or neck pain, as well as quad pain.  A seat that is too high may cause ITB tendonitis.”

Here’s a link to a great article that provides even more information on proper bike fit, potential cycling injuries, rehabilitation protocols, and return after injury information - http://www.cptips.com/knee2.htm

-Jordan Tinnell, B.S. Biology, M.S. Exercise Physiology-

Additional comments: Scott D. Kuiper, M.D.  

(1) Knee Pain and Bicycling:  Fitting Concepts for Clinicians.  CPT Chad Asplund, MD; COL Patrick St Pierre, MD.  THE PHYSICIAN AND SPORTS MEDICINE - VOL 32 - NO. 4 - APRIL 2004

Additional Comments by Trinity High School Cycyling Coach Jeff Noe:

1) What is your role with Trinity High School cycling?

I coach the cycling team here at Trinity.  The cycling team consist of students participating in many different disciplines of cycling including road, mountain, cross, and BMX.  Some of the club members are simply riding for fun and fitness while others are racing.  We try and make sure cycling is fun and help the team members reach their cycling goals.

2) What are safety precautions for biking? (All ages)

The simple response is wear a helmet at all times, have the proper equipment and keep it maintained, and obey traffic laws.  There are many aspects of being safe on a bike.  In traffic, a cyclist always loses when involved in a incident with another vehicle.  Do everything you can to avoid those incidents.  Prevention is best served by being alert and anticipating what might be happening around you.

3) Why is biking a good type of exercise even if you aren't racing for a team?

Cycling is a great form of exercise simply because it's one of the best cardiovascular workouts you can participate in.  Cycling requires balance as well as the ability to power the bike.  Anyone can have positive health results from riding a bike at a level that's consistent with their fitness.  Cycling offers this workout with little pressure or pounding on the body and joints.  Benefits of cycling includes strengthens muscles, increased cardiovascular efficiency, weight management, and stress relief.

4) Please describe bike posture and good bike etiquette for your student athletes and bikers

Bike posture differs by individual and type of bike being ridden.  There isn't one agreed upon answer.  Find what is comfortable when your riding.  If your racing you will want to be lower and more aerodynamic.  If not, be comfortable. Etiquette is one of those things that you will be learning new things as long as you ride.  In reality, basic etiquette is simply common sense.  Communicate with those around you and don't surprise anyone with your actions.  Point out obstacles such as gravel and holes that riders behind you might not see  Experience riding in groups will provide more and more opportunities to learn etiquette.  There are many articles online about good etiquette while riding.  Easy rule of thumb is to be courteous and safe.

5) What are any injuries to be aware of for biking and any solutions to healing from injuries?

Common injuries are typically associated with some type of crash which can result in abrasions and soreness to much much worse.  Many cyclist have neck and back pain but this can often be corrected through equipment adjustments or their cycling posture.  As a general rule cyclist have few injuries due to the low impact nature of the workout.  Crashes can lead to significant injuries so be careful. 

6) What is your history with biking?

I can't tell you at this point how long I've been riding.  I guess I've lost track on the number of years.  I haven't always ridden but my wife got me into it when we met.  I enjoy my solo rides which I do most often.  I love the social events which are the large group rides in which there are many you can participate in locally, examples would be the Hilly Hundred, My Old Kentucky Home Tour, Harvest Homecoming Tour, & the Horsey Hundred.  I also play around with racing road and cyclocross.  I'm forty nine years old and in much better physical condition than I was playing high school football.  Cycling has done this for me.

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