Are you a serious cyclist? Do you laugh in the face of sore muscles?
If so, the George Street Bike Challenge – complete with a 24-percent incline in one section – may be right up your alley. As quickly as possible, cyclists attempt to climb a 500-foot ascent that helped train 1899 world-champion cyclist Marshall W. “Major” Taylor.
A Safe Environment for Cyclists
The famous George Street cycling event — held in July in Worcester, Massachusetts — raises money for charity. And it occurs in a safe environment that’s closed to vehicle traffic.
- Riders are required to wear helmets.
- They attempt the challenge one at a time.
- Participants must be over the age of 12.
In everyday life, cycling usually isn’t so difficult. But cycling can also be much more dangerous.
Everyday Dangers for Cyclists
Cycling is a great way to stay in shape. But it also can be hazardous.
For example: Which do you think causes more head injuries: cycling or football?
It’s cycling. The American Association of Neurological Surgeons reported in 2014 that football caused just under 50,000 head injuries a year in the United States. Cycling caused more than 85,000.
In fact, cycling was the top cause of head injuries among 20 sports and recreational activities. The list included hockey, gymnastics and trampolines. Half a million people visit emergency rooms in the United States every year for bike-related injuries.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 743 cyclists died on U.S. roads in 2013. Nearly 50,000 were injured in traffic.
Most fatal bike crashes — 68 percent — happened in urban areas. Men accounted for 87 percent of cyclists who died and 83 percent of those who were injured. Nearly a fifth of cyclists who died were intoxicated.
In most serious bicycle accidents, it’s adults who are injured or killed — 83 percent of fatalities are adults older than 20. But kids aren’t immune:
Cycling ranks number-one among the top 10 sports related to head injuries in children.
Staying Safe on Your Bike
What’s the top action you can take to prevent a head injury on your bike? Wear a helmet. The NHTSA says 90 percent of cyclists killed are not wearing helmets. Despite the danger, no more than a quarter of bicyclists regularly wear helmets.
What else can Worcester cyclists do to reduce the risk?
- Obey all traffic laws and ride with traffic.
- Use lights and reflectors.
- Wear bright or reflective clothing, even during daytime.
- Install a loud horn on your bike, and use it.
- Put a mirror on your bike so you can see the traffic around you.
What Should You Do if You’re Injured in a Bicycle Accident?
Bicyclists in Massachusetts have responsibilities; they’re required to stay alert and obey traffic regulations. But they also have rights. As a cyclist, you have a right to share the road safely.
If you’ve been injured in an accident while riding your bike, you also have the right to pursue compensation for your injuries. To consult with an experienced Worcester bicycle accident attorney, contact Peter Ventura.
Image via flickr by U.S. Army