As the weather gets warmer, more cyclists will hit the road for recreation, transportation and exercise. In 2002, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, more than 635,000 bicycle injuries in children from 5 to 14 years old were treated in hospitals, doctor's offices, clinics, ambulatory surgery centers and emergency rooms.
"Most bicycling accidents occur close to home, and are the result of falls," explained Stuart L. Weinstein, MD, pediatric orthopaedic surgeon and first vice president of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.
In order to promote a safer season, orthopaedic surgeons urge cyclists to take extra caution to prevent injury. While wearing helmets remains the most proven method of reducing brain injuries in bicycle accidents, these accidents can also result in serious musculoskeletal injuries, broken bones, sprains and strains to the rider.
"It is important to always wear a helmet to help prevent head injuries and to make sure every other possible precaution is taken to prevent a fall that may cause bodily injury," Dr. Weinstein added.
The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons offers these bicycle safety tips: