How Can an Olympic Bicycle Crash Remind Us about Safety?

iStock_000006088567_LargeIt would be impossible to watch the recent Olympic bicycle accident without flinching. Annemiek van Vleuten, one of the world’s top cyclists, fell into a heart-wrenching, face-first crash after she approached a turn incorrectly.

She was hospitalized with spinal fractures and a serious concussion, but her many fans were relieved to find that she was quickly back online posting pictures about the event

The story was all over the news. Many publications shared empathetic stories on the athlete, while others expressed relief that she was recovering well. One particularly fascinating report from USA Today pointed out how an Olympic bicycle accident can be a lesson in safety. This lesson is worth examining.

Anyone Can get into a Bicycle Accident

According to Center of Disease Control and Prevention, there were more than 900 deaths and 494,000 ER visits from cycling accidents in 2013. If an Olympic medalist can fall, so can anyone. No cyclist, no matter how experienced, is ever above safety precautions. Here are some recommend steps for preventing injuries in a bicycle accident:

  • Don’t forget to wear your helmet.
  • Wear practical clothing, including closed-toe shoes.
  • Shield your fall with your bicycle.
  • If possible, try to land in a softer area.
  • Curl your body into a ball for protection.
  • Empty your lungs to lessen the burden on your ribs.
  • Check your body for injuries before moving. Ideally, you will seek help from a nearby person for this.
  • Always get medical attention after a crash.

No one likes to think about crashing. For many, biking is a time to get away from the stresses of life, but making a quick mental checklist of what to do in a crash could save your life.

Frederick M. Dudek is a San Diego personal injury attorney committed to fighting for victims of cycling crashes and other series accidents



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