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Portland Shows Strong Upward Trend in Bicycling: Treatments for Cyclist Injuries

There’s no denying it -- here in Portland, people love to ride their bicycles. Whether for fun or commuting to work, folks are on two wheels more than ever in the city of roses and bridges, riding enough to get Portland crowned America’s Best Bike City in 2012. Cycling has only grown since then, with more than 18,000 cyclists taking part in the Bridge Pedal in August and thousands riding in the buff for the World Naked Bike Ride in June. Of course, with 319 miles of bikeways and bicycle use in the city growing more than 300% in the past 25 years, cycling injuries are bound to happen.[1] Cyclists can prepare by properly fitting their helmets and taking courses on how to ride safely in the city, but if an end-over-end or any kind of accident happens, Portland has a network of quality urgent care facilities to treat many types of cycling injuries.

 

Treating Training Injuries and Road Rash

Overdoing it on a bike can happen to all of us, from amateurs riding for general fitness to athletes training for grueling road or trail races. Cyclists who may be overtraining or just overworking themselves will often experience symptoms including, but not limited to:

●Muscle strains

●Joint strains

●Dehydration

●Decreased appetite

●Lack of energy

●Trouble sleeping

The mistake many cyclists make is to assume that these symptoms are a result of poor fitness, when they actually signal that you are pushing yourself beyond your body’s ability to recover. Any fitness expert or trainer will advocate for providing enough time in a training or fitness schedule for rest, and to not push to longer distances or harder workouts too quickly. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, you can visit an urgent care center that specializes in treating sports-related injuries to make sure you’re not putting yourself at risk of more serious injury or of not being able to ride in your event.[2]

In fact, urgent care centers can treat a wide variety of cycling injuries. Often, people assume that an injury must be “urgent” to visit the center, but urgent care facilities can quickly treat minor injuries, scrapes, abrasions, and bruises from accidents. One of the most common cycling injuries is called road rash, typically a long swath of abraded, broken skin due to sliding along pavement or asphalt after an accident. Because road rash often involves broken skin and bleeding, these injuries can be susceptible to infection; it’s best to let a professional see that your injury is safely cleaned and disinfected, and treated with the right antibiotics and wraps so that it heals properly and quickly. At an urgent care center, you can address cycling injuries like road rash quickly and without an appointment.[3]

 

Getting Help Fast for Cycling Injuries from Accidents

Of course, not all cycling injuries are minor. When an accident involves a collision with a car, a pedestrian, another cyclist, or a street feature, injuries tend to be more serious, and can include fractures, sprains, and more significant abrasions.

The city of Portland has been tracking accidents and locations since 2003, and data shows that during the past 10 years, the most common places for bike-related collisions are:

1.The inner Northeast and Northwest Broadway corridors on both sides of the Broadway Bridge

2.On either side of the Hawthorne Bridge, a few blocks inland in both directions

3.Capitol Highway, specifically at the intersection with SW Vermont

4.All intersections along outer Division, though these are likely lower volumes

5.The very bike-unfriendly Northeast Glisan at its intersections with I-205 and 122nd Ave.[4]

If a cyclist sustains an injury in these areas or anywhere in greater Portland that is serious enough to require a nearby health facility that can treat the injury immediately, the nearest urgent care center is a good bet.

 

When to Seek Care for Cycling Injuries

For many who have sustained a bike injury, the desire tends to be to shake it off or just deal with the situation at home. Dr. Prentice Steffen, chief medical officer for Slipstream Sports of the Garmin-Sharp team, told Bicycling magazine that the injury may be severe enough to warrant medical care if any of the following points apply:

●There is any question of a head or spinal injury

●The injured party cannot take a deep breath without discomfort, which may indicate broken ribs, bruised lung, collapsed lung, etc

●The injured rider feels any pain in his or her stomach, which could indicate a rupture

●There is any possibility of a broken bone.[5]

Cycling for leisure and commuting can be glorious on a summer day in Portland or year-round thanks to all the cycling infrastructure throughout the city. Unfortunately, injuries happen, and it’s best for bicyclists in Portland to be prepared and understand injury treatment options before hopping on two wheels. Many riders will be lucky enough to avoid injury altogether, or suffer only minor scrapes where a nearby urgent care center is a nice convenience. If, however, you go over your handlebars or are involved in a more serious accident, visiting an urgent care center can be a crucial course of action.

We have Legacy GoHealth Urgent Care centers in many locations throughout the city, everywhere Portlanders might ride. For more about treating cycling injuries in Portland, stay up to date with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

 

[1] [1. “Bicycles in Portland Fact Sheet,” https://www.portlandoregon.gov/transportation/article/407660; “America’s Best Bike City: Portland, Oregon,” May 20, 2012, http://www.bicycling.com/rides/advocacy/americas-best-bike-city-portland-oregon

[2] [2. “How to identify and avoid overtraining,” http://cyclingtips.com.au/2013/08/how-to-identify-and-avoid-over-training

[3] [3. “Bike Crash Injury Care,” July 8, 2013, http://www.bicycling.com/training/health-injuries/bike-crash-injury-care; “Emergency Care vs. Urgent Care,” http://fairhealthconsumer.org/reimbursementseries.php?id=19

[4] [4. “Portland has mapped every reported traffic injury from 2004-13,” April 21, 2015, http://bikeportland.org/2015/04/21/portland-mapped-every-reported-traffic-injury-2004-13-139742

[5] [5. “Bike Crash Injury Care,” ibid.]

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