“Collarbone injuries due to a direct impact to the shoulder are more common as the weather warms up,” states Nancy Yen Shipley, MD, spokesperson for the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) and sports medicine orthopaedic surgeon. “Limit falling off your bike and a direct injury to your shoulder by not utilizing your cellphone while you ride. Believe it or not, I often see cyclists trying to multitask on a cellphone while biking! This is a no-no and certainly contributes to the risk of bike crashes. Save that text message until you’re off your bike.”
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), in 2017, emergency departments, doctors’ offices and clinics treated over 1.1 million people for bike-related injuries.
Avoid a trip to the emergency room by following these bicycle safety tips from orthopaedic surgeons and the AAOS:
- Wear a helmet that fits snugly, but comfortably without obstructing your vision, and with a chin strap and buckle that stays securely fastened.
- Follow the rules of the road. Ride in the direction of traffic. Follow traffic signs and lights. Signal your turns or your intentions so that drivers can anticipate your actions. If you are riding with others, ride single file.
- Ride defensively. Understand that drivers often do not see cyclists, so be aware of your surroundings and ready to act to avoid a collision.
- Choose bike routes wisely. Avoid riding on high traffic roads. The most direct route to your destination is often not the safest because more vehicles will also take that route. Select streets with fewer and slower cars.
- Avoid distracted cycling. Do not listen to loud music with head phones, talk on the phone, text, or do anything else that can obstruct your hearing and/or vision while riding.
- Take extra precautions while bicycling at night. Wear bright fluorescent colors and make sure to have rear reflectors. Both a working tail light and headlight should be visible from 500 feet away.
- Never underestimate road conditions. Be cautious of uneven or slippery surfaces.
- Maintain your bicycle. Check your bicycle’s mechanical components on a regular basis (brakes, tires, gears, etc.), just like you would for a car. If your bike is not in good condition, do not ride it.
- Dress appropriately. Avoid loose clothing that might get caught in the bike’s mechanics and wear appropriate footwear, such as closed toed shoes to decrease your chance of a foot injury. Use appropriately padded cycling shorts for longer rides.
- Always supervise younger riders. It is recommended that younger children ride only in enclosed areas–away from moving vehicles and traffic.
About the AAOS
With more than 39,000 members, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons is the world’s largest medical association of musculoskeletal specialists. The AAOS is the trusted leader in advancing musculoskeletal health. It provides the highest quality, most comprehensive education to help orthopaedic surgeons and allied health professionals at every career level best treat patients in their daily practices. The AAOS is the source for information on bone and joint conditions, treatments and related musculoskeletal health care issues and it leads the health care discussion on advancing quality.