When you live in a land of mountains and active people as we do in British Columbia, you’re going to find a lot of mountain bikers. Unfortunately, that also means there will be a few accidents and injuries along the path. Reducing injuries is what the Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) “Shred Safe” campaign is all about.
VCH serves nearly a quarter of the BC population – from Greater Vancouver, up the Coast, and into the Sea-to-Sky territory. That’s a big chunk of land with lots of mountain bike trails. According to VCH’s Dr. John Carsley, over 100 bikers in the region needed major emergency surgery last year.
A lot of the injured bikers come from Whistler, Squamish, and North Vancouver – no real surprise since all of those areas are popular with mountain bikers. However, the “Shred Safe” campaign is aimed at reducing the number of mountain bike injuries across all communities.
The campaign message focuses on how to reduce injuries:
- always wear a helmet
- know your trail
- mind your speed
- ride with care and caution
- make sure your bike is well-maintained
But there are some other pieces of advice that you may not always think of when thrashing the trails. Dr. Annie Gareau works in the emergency room at the Whistler Health Care Centre. She’s a biker herself and has seen a lot of injuries resulting from the sport.
One of the biggest culprits in Dr. Gareau’s mind? Bikers push themselves too hard – riding and grinding through the trails until they are too tired. Fatigue leads to accidents. Hunger and dehydration also play significant roles in mountain biking injuries. If you haven’t properly fueled and hydrated your body, you run the risk of losing concentration.