Some people like the sudden rush in the adrenaline, so they like to go for the risky sports or tasks. Mountain biking is simply one of those badass activities. As a thrill seeker like you, I like the mountain biking too. And I must admit, there is nothing like more exciting than this.
The sport is becoming more and more popular around the world. And it’s getting popularity in an unimaginable rate. Hence, the increased mountain biking injuries too.
The reason I have written this article is to let you know some common hazards of mountain biking. When you are finished reading this, you will understand why wearing your MTB MIPS helmet and body armor can’t fully protect you from various hazards I am about to mention.
If you are already a professional mountain biker, you know what I am talking about. I am not sure you will learn anything new from here, However, if you are just having thoughts on this thrilling cycling, this article will help you understand the inherent risks of such activities.
Common Mountain Biking Hazards
Let me start by telling you an interesting fact. Among all the injured downhill cyclists, women accounted for only 25%, but among all the injured downhill cyclists, men accounted for nearly 86%.
What does it tell you?
Do you think women are more professional in mountain biking? No, the stat does not mean that. It simply means, women take a good training and study the trail a lot before go in there.
In a study it is found that within just a 5 months cycling season, almost 2,000 injuries happened to 900 riders. Some of these injuries were life-threatening (almost 12%).
Another fun fact for you: whereas 1 out of 1,000 skiers has the risk of being injured in downhill skiing; 1 out of only 10 cyclists has the same risk. I just mentioned these facts to let you know that mountain biking has a really high risk of different hazards.
Don’t get confused; this is not a scenic enjoyment tour. It literally means riding your bicycle on the up and down raw roads of the mountain where rocks are everywhere. Unless you go for the same trail (which is very rare), you would never know what you are gonna face there.
Here is brief list of such common hazards of mountain biking:
- Collision with fixed or moving objects like rocks.
- You may slip and fall.
- Heavy objects may fall on you.
- Exposure to extreme weather.
- Physical or mental injury or trauma.
Now that you have a general idea what potential dangers await you, let’s go in-depth discussion. The very first source of hazards is the terrain itself. The terrain by nature is very rude to everyone.
It’s full of uncertainties and you have to ride on it’s bumping trails. Don’t forget the loose gravel too. Not just the dangerous heights, you should be afraid of the steep slopes and tight curves as well.
As I mentioned at the beginning, you might think wearing a mountain bike helmet and other safety gears will solve all the problems. But that’s not entirely true. Yes, the helmet will protect your head pretty good, but your body is still at danger.
Don’t get me wrong, but some people call wearing the helmet is a moot considering all these hazards.
MTB Fair Warning
Don’t make mistakes comparing the mountain biking with any other sports where you have to worry about only your elbows and knee injuries. This is not just another biking sports where if you fall and have a head injury or concussion.
As you already have the general ideas of how deadly the injuries can be; you should know that some of such accidents ma even lead to death. So, this is not just for the fain-hearted people.
Probably you are thinking I am discouraging you from the thrilling experience of it, but I am not. I am just telling you to pre-training yourself for it. And by training, I mean rigorous training.
Remember those stats where I mentioned women have lesser rate of such accidents? That’s because they take huge training first. This is exactly what you have to do.
Let’s talk why some MTB hazards may lead to even death. Some injuries may lead to spinal damages which ultimately may lead to you to become in a vegetable state.
Even if you wear the helmet, falling from the trail may break your neck and spine. Those incidents often lead to death or at least make you permanently disable.
Worst Part of Mountain Biking
Did you know the worst part of mountain biking? Usually those terrains are isolated and pretty rough. If any injury happens, probability is there will be no one there to help you.
Now, imagine there is no way of communication to others as well (when you are out of luck, this happens!). You will not treat MTB as a thrilling sport then, it will become part of your own survival.
Again, I am not discouraging you. I am merely talking about some scenarios that have already happened to many bikers.
Yes, it is for the boldest people, so you have to have great courage to participate in the MTB to satisfy your thrilling needs. You can only face the intimidating terrain with your experience and courage.
MTB As Business
Mountain biking is now becoming a part of growing and profitable business of ski resorts too. During the summer, lots of ski resorts employ professional mountain bikers as a part of renewable income.
So apart from satisfying their thrilling needs, many people are taking it as a mean to their livelihood. But do not get tempted so easily. Higher pays come with higher risks too which I have already discussed. Do not go in there unless you are fully prepared.
In Salzburg, Austria; the Paracelsus Medical University performed a study where it is found that in 72% cases MTB hazards happen due to the riders’ error and in 31% cases bad trail conditions were responsible for such hazards.
There are several other hazards in MTB like collision with other riders, pedestrians, other vehicles, and so on. Of course, most of these hazards are natural but some of them are men-made too.
Some people like to do jumps and other stunts as part of their show-off. Often these stunts lead to painful experiences. When we are speaking of stunts, let’s watch a video from Redbull.
While it’s true that you need a great deal of courage in MTB, it’s foolish to become dauntless. A little fear is good in everything. It can help you keeping you safe on the mountain.
It’s relatively depend on you whether you want to keep the risks of mountain biking hazards high or low. As long as you are fully aware of your limit and skill set, you can keep the level of MTB risks at a minimum.
Speed plays a great role determining the level of risk. The gravity will tempt you to speed up from the top to the down of the mountain. It will resist you to use the brakes. And when you let the gravity do that, there is a higher chance of becoming the victim of such deadly MTB hazards.
From the top to bottom of your body is fully exposed to such all of those hazards mentioned above. Lots of bikers already died and many of them are permanently paralyzed and living on the wheelchair.
There is risk to every sports. No indoor or outdoor sports are free of associated safety hazards. Even if you go to physical exercise to do some arm and leg stretch, injury may happen anytime. You like to play football or basketball; you may hurt yourself.
The only problem with mountain biking is that it is riskier than all of those above-mentioned activities. Becoming fully aware of such hazards and taking proper training can keep you safe and may save your life.