What to Do After a Bike Crash

If you ride anything with wheels, crashing at some point is inevitable. Knowing what to do before it happens can help you prevent long-term, or even permanent, injuries. We asked one of our Orthopedics & Sports Medicine specialists, Dr. James Meadows, what one should do after a bike crash and here’s what he had to say.

BEFORE YOU EVEN GET OFF THE GROUND

When you’re riding, endorphins are released because you’re doing something you enjoy, so you’re feeling really good. After you experience a crash, give yourself a few minutes to settle down so you’re able to assess how you’re really feeling. Ask yourself these questions:

  1. Can you look up and down and side-to-side without pain?
  2. Can you move your arms in all directions?
  3. Can you walk?

If the answer is no to any of those, stay put until emergency medical services arrive. Do NOT risk moving if you feel seriously injured! You could make your injuries worse and cause even more damage. If the answer is yes to all of the above, then you should move to a safe spot, out of the way of traffic or other riders and continue your assessment. A good rule of thumb is that if you can lift your bike without major pain, then your upper body is fine. All joints should be movable and bear weight.

 

CHECK FOR A CONCUSSION

A quick and easy way to check if you hit your head – besides severe pain and bleeding – is to examine your helmet for any dents or cracks. If you feel confused or disoriented, dizzy or light headed, nauseous or experiencing ringing in the ears, or poor balance, you may have a concussion and should be examined by a healthcare professional.

 

ASSESS YOUR BIKE FOR DAMAGE

Don’t just jump back on your bike and take off again. You’ll need to ensure that it’s still in good working condition and safe to ride. Check to make sure the frame and wheels aren’t bent, the tires aren’t flat, there are no broken spokes sticking out, the brakes haven’t jammed up, no broken links on the chain, and that the seat is still firmly attached.

It’s also a good idea to always carry a fist aid kit and basic bike tools with you when you ride. Use these tips to help you remain calm and mitigate risks of severe injury when you, or someone around you, crashes.

For more orthopedic and sports medicine related topics, visit www.altaviewsportsmedicine.com.