Manhattan’s new bike share program, CitiBike, is making it easier for many to get around town. But it’s no fun going around town and then winding up in the ER. We don’t mean to sound like your mother, but it’s important to remember some basic safety pointers if you’re about to hop on a CitiBike anytime soon.
Dr. Robert Gotlin, director of orthopedic and sports rehabilitation at Beth Israel Medical Center, says he’s already seen people in his office for sore knees as a result of not riding the right way. He says knee strains are common, especially if you’re not used to biking, haven’t stretched beforehand, and/or have your seat at the wrong height. If the seat is too low, he says, “this adds stress to the knees.”
If you’re ready to ride, go through this checklist before you hop on:
- Check the tires and hand gear to make sure everything is working properly.
- Stretch: Touch your toes; bring one knee to your chest, then switch.
- Level the seat height with the “bump” on the outer side of your hip.
It’s also important to be properly dressed for a bike ride. It’s not safe to ride in dresses, high heels, open-t0e sandals and wide-bottom pants, Gotlin says. When you’re riding, don’t wear headphones or check your phone — this can distract you and lead to an accident.
And obviously, some other basics to keep in mind: Wear a helmet (bring your own), pay attention to traffic and know the rules of the road (you know hand signals, right?) Happy riding!