David Byrne, front man and co-founder of the Talking Heads, is also an avid bicyclist. In 2010 he wrote “Bicycle Diaries,” tales of riding his bike in far-flung places, from Sydney to San Francisco. But one evening in New York, while pedaling back from an art opening (he doesn’t own a car), he slipped and broke two ribs. It could have been worse. A recent study found that the mortality rate among cyclists ages 35 to 54 has tripled in the past 40 years, from 0.11 to 0.31 per 100,000 riders.
Conversely, over the same period, the mortality rate for kids plummeted. The older set apparently needs to brush up on bike safety. True, more people are biking for exercise and to commute to work than ever before, but that’s no excuse. Older bicycling adults remain at elevated risk.
So, while you may have heard this before, we’ll say it again: Wear a helmet! (Middle-agers need to protect their brain! And you want to show, not just tell, your kids how important helmets are.) Dress in bright/reflective clothes. Always have -- and use -- a bell, and put a light on both the front and the back of your bike. Obey all traffic laws. When riding with friends, stay single file and to the right on bike paths. Don’t ride with headphones and NEVER text or use your cellphone when pedaling. Be aware of what’s happening around you! Bet your kids know these rules by heart. Now it’s your turn.
Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of “The Dr. Oz Show,” and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Wellness Officer and Chair of Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, tune into “The Dr. Oz Show” or visit www.sharecare.com.