Cycling Safety Guide From Sports Medicine Experts at Orthopaedic Associates

Seeking out a safe option for exercise during COVID-19, many community members throughout the region have taken to cycling and mountain biking. As fellowship-trained sports medicine surgeons, Dr. Mark Tenholder and Dr. Jack McKay of Orthopaedic Associates support this trend for better community health, and they also want to offer safety tips for cyclists of all levels and ages to prevent injury and keep safety a priority. Patients in need of specialized bone, joint and muscle care are encouraged to call 850-863-2153 to be seen safely in Fort Walton Beach at 1034 Mar Walt Drive, in Destin at 36474C Emerald Coast Parkway, Suite 3101, in Niceville at 554-D Twin Cities Blvd. and in Crestview at 5300 S. Ferdon Blvd. Telemedicine visits are also available for remote consultation. 

“Committed to our region's safety and health, we’re excited to see so many taking to healthy habits like biking,” says Dr. Tenholder, practice president of Orthopaedic Associates. “This is great for the mind and the body, especially as the pandemic continues, and when bike riders hit the roads and trails, we want to ensure they are aware of injury risks and act accordingly.”

Orthopaedic Associates urges bike riders to stay safe by following the guidance below:

  • Dress appropriately. Helmets must be kept on and secured at all times on a bike. When mountain biking, wear the necessary safety gear, including gloves, body armor and specialized shoes. Avoid wearing loose or bulky clothing so you can be more mobile and not get clothes stuck on gears, tired or obstacles.
  • Take care of your bike, and use the right one. Keep up with your bike's maintenance, routinely checking the tires, lights, gears and brakes. Ensure that your bike is the proper size for you and appropriate for the terrain you will be riding on.
  • Pay total attention on rides. If you have younger children biking, make sure you supervise them. Also, do not ride distracted — no phone time or wearing headphones on your ride. Be sure to remember to turn on your lights if riding when it gets dark.
  • Choose your trail wisely and adjust as needed. Do not ride on trails beyond your riding ability. If the trail has dips, sections outside of your skill level or appears to have rocks, trees, branches or other obstacles near the path, do not ride in those areas, especially if you do not know the trail well.
  • Be extra careful on roads and near streets. Follow all the laws for bike riders and go the same direction of traffic flow while obeying signs, lights and bike lane lines. Ride defensively and be ready to act quickly to avoid collisions.
  • Take precautions outdoors. Wear sun protection and sunscreen with the sun out and stay hydrated, drinking at least 8 oz of water for every hour on your bike. Do not ride in poor weather conditions, and do not overexert yourself; falling while near traffic or on a trail with steep drops can be especially dangerous.

"For riders just getting into biking as well as experience riders putting in more miles, the risk of getting injured is higher,” says Dr. McKay. “If you've had a fall or have lasting muscular or joint aches after riding, come to see a sports medicine specialist as soon as you can to properly assess you — if you think you have a head injury or have a bleeding wound that does not stop bleeding, have someone take you to an emergency room or urgent care immediately.” 

To learn more about sport medicine and safety or to schedule a safe appointment with Drs. Tenholder or McKay, call 850-863-2153.