Ever thought, that something so fun & a leisurely activity like bicycling can have its drawbacks? Bicycling, as fun and thrill giving it is, it is utterly imperative on our part to take necessary precautions from potential risks; both internal & external. After all, prevention is better than cure, right?
Internal harm, though not much, can be the physical pain and discomfort one might feel while or after cycling, simply due to overuse. The discomfort ranges from cramps, sprain, stiffness, etc usually in the neck & knees. These can be easily avoided by not overusing the bike and abusing one's body. warm up exercises or just simply by cycling at a slow pace till the body adjusts to it.
Now, the external hazards is a much bigger issue than the internal ones as it is pretty harmful and can even prove fatal and this is usually because of accidents. A research conducted in 2000 by the Institute for Road Safety Research in the Netherlands, found that single bicycle accidents were 47% of all bicycle accidents, collisions with obstacles and animals were 12%, and collisions with other road users accounted for 40%, and the remaining 1% had unknown or unclassified cause. So going by these statistics, it seems like on a bright, beautiful day fit for riding a bicycle, anyone could land up in the hospital, in a moment's time!
But not to worry, if one adopts & applies simple rules of safety while riding a bicycle, he or she will not be a part of these statistics. Pun aside, for starters, the cyclists should be prepared with accessories that help him or her ride safely. These accessories can be a sturdy helmet, lights including headlights & tailights, first-aid kit, audible signals like bells or horns, bright neon-coloured clothes for a ride in the night and so on. All this combines to be an effective measure of safety for the cyclist and whoever is on the path.
Secondly, there must be bike improvements as well. Technical improvements in brakes, tyres and bicycle construction generally must be regularly tended to as it too has grave capability of causing accidents.
Thirdly and importantly, cyclists should be well aware of all the road rules & signals, both cyclists and 'non-cyclists', which includes motorists and pedestrians, so that they can avoid collisions and be safe and secure. This means, cyclists need to be extra careful on their part and this is good, as it is for the safety of themselves and others.
Also, what could help is if the authorities take a staunch and effective approach to creating better infrastructure, that could provide cyclists a piece of the path and eventually a peace of mind. This infrastructural change allows both cyclists & non cyclists to be in motion, in harmony, which is a welcome change and should be done something about regarding it's quick implementation.
Till then, cyclists could opt for a path that is relatively less busy and crowded, if possible.
From all this, it is very much understood, that although there are motorists and pedestrians and obstacles involved, the cyclists themselves too have a big onus of keeping & staying safe.