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Biking in your 50s or beyond? Brush up on these road rules

An older man rides a mountain bike through a field.

Nov. 26, 2019—Biking is a fun way to get around—and great exercise. And overall, people pedaling may now be safer on the road, a new study shows.

It found that the number of head and face injuries tied to biking held steady from 2008 to 2017—despite a rise in the number of cyclists over that time.

But there was a worrying exception: Cyclists ages 55 to 64 received emergency room treatment for traumatic brain injuries and broken bones more than 86,000 times during the study period. That was a 54% jump among this age group in just a decade.

The study also found that:

  • Overall, traumatic brain injuries accounted for nearly half of all bike-related ER visits.
  • Bike riders ages 18 to 24 had the most head and face injuries overall. But that was likely due to biking's greater popularity among that age group.
  • Cyclists ages 45 to 54 were the most likely to be hospitalized with facial fractures.

The study appeared in the Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery.

Stay safe on the road

Based on their findings, the researchers urged older cyclists in particular to reduce their risk of serious injuries with simple steps like these:

  • Wear a bicycle helmet that fits you well every time you ride—no matter how short the trip.
  • Wear brightly colored or reflective clothing to be more visible.
  • Use lights and reflectors on your bike at night.
  • Always avoid alcohol before riding a bike.

Discover more ways to make every ride a safe ride.

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