Just the other day, I was organizing my ideas for an article on skiing, roller skiing and mountain biking safety when suddenly I had an epiphany. It occurred to me that one of these disciplines was by far more dangerous than the others, and that sport was mountain biking.
As I scratched my head trying to recall my own ski accidents, on the road and snow, I realized the numbers and seriousness were miniscule compared to the multitude of my mountain bike calamities.
It isn't just me who is crashing a lot. I personally know three skier friends about my age who have suffered serious spinal cord injuries. Two needed spinal fusions and the other for months wore a halo attached to his head and hips to hold his spine in place. This is just in my relatively small circle of skier friends. In addition, I know of two former mountain bikers who are now quadriplegics.
I have another couple close friends had suffered serious biking injuries recently. The first is an elite mountain biker who was left with a paralyzed arm after his broken collar bone was repaired. He presently is going through therapy and slowly recovery. The other is also a very good friend who had a long metal rod placed in his leg to repair a shattered thigh bone. He is back mountain biking but now doesn't clip is feet into the pedals anymore. (More on this later.)
Personally, I've been knocked unconscious twice on my bike and suffered many other injuries. As I pondered why mountain biking is so dangerous, the reason hit me. It was so simple, I was amazed I hadn't thought of it before.
Read the entirety of Lee Borowski's advice for mountain bikers in the April 2013 print edition of Silent Sports magazine. To order a copy, call 715/369-3331. To avoid missing future issues, subscribe by calling 888/706-4045.