Hoosiers love their bicycles, and in many cases, continue to do so well into their golden years. Cycling as a means of staying mentally and physically fit is a great hit among residents of Indianapolis. However, even as the streets seem to be getting safer in some parts of Indiana, senior cyclists continue to face significant accident and injury risks.
According to a recent study, which took into account bicycle accidents and injuries between 2008 and 2017, while the number of cyclists on our roads have increased, the rates of certain types of injuries like face and head injuries continue to remain steady. Moreover, injuries involving senior cyclists actually increased by a staggering 54 percent over the study period. Injuries involving seniors in the 55- to- 64 year age group jumped significantly, and most of these injuries involved head, face and neck injuries.
Many health experts acknowledge that cycling is one of the best forms of exercise for seniors. It helps a senior stay physically agile, and gives him the cardio workout he needs to maintain optimum cardiac health. Bicycling can also be safer than many other forms of exercise for seniors, because it doesn’t place immense strain on the joints or bones. Many forms of exercise may not be suitable for seniors because of the stress they place on bones that may already be stressed by age, arthritis and other conditions. Cycling is believed to improve cholesterol levels, maintain consistent fat levels and actually slow down the aging process, according to some studies. Cycling has also been proven to have a positive effect on brain function.
Seniors can reduce their risks of suffering an accident or injury by taking precautions. Make sure that you are riding a safe bicycle. If your bicycle is several years old, make sure that it can handle the rigors of riding on roads that may be busy with motorists. Make sure that the bicycle is the right fit for you at your age. A bicycle that was the right fit several years ago may no longer be the right fit as you age. It might cause you discomfort and even pain that could actually distract you, raising your risks of an accident.
If you haven’t cycled for years, check with your doctor to make sure that you are fit enough to handle cycling. Take safer routes, and don’t make your cycling routine too strenuous. Do not ignore aches and pains. Follow all the rules of the road.
Watch out for other motorists, and try to stay on bike paths that are separated from the main motorways for extra safety. Stay hydrated, bicycle only during the day, and avoid unnecessary risks.
Having said that, motorists also need to be more cautious and respectful of the rights of all bicyclists to ride on our streets.