Are you a cyclist preparing for the summer season? Biking is an excellent outlet, both mentally and physically. Now is the best time to take your bike out for a spin! FYidoctors has put together a list of the top 4 safety considerations for cyclists—including cycling glasses.
One of the most important safety items is your bike helmet. According to the Canada Safety Council, a Canadian Standards Association (CSA) approved helmet will have multiple levels of protection including an outer shell and inner foam layer. Look for the CSA sticker on your helmet before purchasing.
If you think you’ve had your helmet for more than 5 years, you may want to consider upgrading. The US Consumer Product Safety Commision recommends making the swap every 5-10 years depending on how frequently you use your helmet and if there’s any visible damage. However, if you’ve experienced a crash and your helmet has taken on impact, for your safety, it’s best to switch to a new one entirely.
While helmet laws vary by province, statistics Canada states that between the years 2006 and 2017, in one third of cycling fatalities the victim was not wearing a helmet.
Exposure to wind, insects, dust, debris and harmful UV radiation can make cycling unpleasant at best and unsafe at worst. Specialty sunglasses go a long way towards promoting eye safety – in addition to protecting riders from airborne hazards that can cause irritation and injury, they also protect from cataracts, keratitis and other eye ailments caused by harmful UV radiation.
So what type of glasses should a cyclist get? Shields or wrap around frames are the ideal shape because glasses have to fit the face well in order to protect the eyes. They help keep wind off the eyes while allowing enough air circulation to prevent fogging of the lenses. Curved lenses also help to ensure visual acuity across the entire field of vision and allow the best peripheral line of sight (which is especially important for maneuvering safely in a group of riders and in traffic).
When it comes to lenses, it’s important to remember that on any given ride you’ll deal with light conditions frequently switching from bright sunshine to flickering light and shade, all of which puts a strain on your eyes. Consider coloured lens or polarizing versions which eliminate the vertically oscillating portion of light and help to filter out reflections from bright smooth surfaces. Most lenses can be fitted with prescriptions for those requiring corrective lenses.
This may seem like the least of your worries, especially if you are a leisure cyclist. However, making yourself visible on the road is important to help ensure accidents are avoided. 21% of cycling fatalities between 2006 and 2017, environmental conditions affected visibility (Statistics Canada).
Wear bright coloured clothing that can easily be detected on the road. You may also want to consider athletic wear that will increase your comfort, flexibility and control.
Loose fitting clothing, straps, hanging dangles can be hazards when cycling. Make sure to avoid anything that can be caught in wheels or gears and lead to an accident.
Before you go for a ride, make sure you've properlly inspected and tuned your bike—especially if it's been a while since you last took it out. This includes checking brake pads, making sure there’s no wear to your chains, washing your bike of debris, testing shifts, pedals, headsets, and ensuring wheels are pumped up and have no exterior damage. For in-depth instructions, check out the Canadian Cycling Magazine’s exhaustive guide.