Bicycle Network: Skill Up
Riding as a senior
More people are riding into advanced age. What are the implications?
Safe cycling products for seniors
23 February 2012. Seniors who ride bikes may benefit from especially designed bikes and products, according to an investigation by the Cyclists Union of Holland.
According to the Cyclists’ Union senior cyclists run a threefold higher risk of injuries than the average cyclist. The risk of a single vehicle accident is three times higher as well.
Many mishaps happen while mounting the bicycle, failing to see obstacles (because of bad weather conditions), frights created by scooter drivers coming from behind, or bicycle pedal slip accidents.
These test show that powerful headlights, skid proof pedals, a good mirror, direction indicators, and wide tires can make cycling safer and more comfortable for seniors.
New bikes are often fitted with inferior parts, such as bad headlights. Seniors often suffer from decreasing eyesight. A powerful headlight can help to avoid accidents, particularly on badly lit roads.
A surprising number of accidents occur while mounting or dismounting a bicycle often because cyclists slip off the pedals. A normal skid-proof pedal coated with rubber only has a moderate effect in the rain. There are pedals available with a special anti-skid layer.
Good mirrors for bicycles are hard to find. The Cyclists’ Union points out that direction indicators have been legally permitted since 2010, but are unfortunately rarely seen; extending an arm while minding the traffic, watching over ones shoulder and at the same time continuing to control the steering, can be a problem for many senior people. Indicators are much easier to use and are much more visible in the dark.
Wider tires are safer and more comfortable to ride on. One is less likely to skid with them. Also, many seniors have difficulties mounting and dismounting. There are ways to remedy this, such as creating bikes with lower frames one can step over when mounting.