By Harper | 09 April 2021 | 0 Comments

Mountain Bike And Road Biking, Which Is Safer?

Mountains and roads are the most common ways of riding, and there are endless discussions about the two. Let’s take a look today which one is safer, whether it's mountain biking or road biking.
Next, we will analyze the risk factors of road riding and mountain riding from the aspects of riding environment, injury percentage, cause of injury, and degree of injury.
This writing is based on our cycling experience and surveys of the cyclists around us, as well as relevant data and examples. You are welcome to discuss and leave your opinions here.
Riding environment (potentially dangerous)

Mountain biking generally takes place on  XC routes, forest roads or downhill tracks that riders have designed on natural roads. Some areas also have professional mountain bike parks and professional race tracks. Mountain bikes are more affected by the track itself. In other words, the harder the track, the greater the potential for injury to the rider. For mountain biking, rough rocks or rocky sections are the most vulnerable places. For example, 60% of injuries in the ENDURO World Series (EWS) occurred in rocks or rocky sections, 56% of shoulder fractures and 66% of arm fractures also occurred here. In addition, the weather during riding will also be a more influential factor. The slippery road surface will increase the rider’s chance of crashing, which may also cause an injury.
Almost all road riding is carried out on paved roads, and occasionally on "wild roads" (slabs, cobblestones and other road conditions). However, in general, road riding is less affected by the road itself, and the setting of the route has little effect on this. The main impact comes from the road conditions. A bumpy road also increases the probability of a puncture which may lead to crashes and injuries. It is especially dangerous in downhill sections. At the same time, the weather is also a very important factor for road riding. Due to the design of road bikes and other reasons, there will be reduced braking force (rim brakes) and insufficient grip in rainy weather, and crosswinds will also affect This has a big impact, especially when riders are riding models that pursue aerodynamic gains.
Tour de France legend Froome suffered a serious crash due to crosswinds and missed the 2019 Tour de France. He is still recovering. In addition, because road cycling is mostly on paved roads, other traffic participants on the road are also factors affecting road cycling safety, such as retrograde electric vehicles, sudden door opening, pedestrians running over red lights. These are potential threats in road cycling.
Therefore, the potential risk of crashes and injuries faced by road vehicles is higher.
The relationship between injury and competition

Road cycling on the road
Most of the injuries in mountain biking occur in daily training and riding, and the proportion of injuries in competition and pre-race warm-up is not very high. The investigation report on driver injuries released by EWS in 2019 showed that there were 1234 injury records, of which 66.7% (823 cases) were injured in daily training and riding, and the remaining 33.3% were in competition and pre-race warm-up. Of course, the daily training time will be much longer than the race time, but what we want to show is that in mountain riding, the race does not bring about a significant increase in the chance of injury. Of course, due to the difficulty of the route, the familiarity of the track, and the willingness to win under the influence of other factors, the odds will increase slightly. However, the injury is still caused by the driver's error, equipment failure and other reasons, rather than the additional risk brought by the race itself.
It is also same for road riding. Most injuries occur in daily training and riding, and the proportion of injuries in competitions is also not very high. Of course, this ratio will be higher than that of mountain biking, mainly because there are more road races and road riders participate in races more frequently.
According to the survey of the bike friends around, the ratio is about 6.5:3.5. At the same time, road races have a higher percentage of injuries. Taking the drivers who participated in the Tour de France from 2010 to 2017 as an example, 18 of the 1,584 drivers retired due to injuries, accounting for 8.7%. Among them, there are some drivers who insist on participating in the race with injuries, the actual injury rate will be higher, and it is much higher.
In general, the competition will not bring about a significant increase in the proportion of injuries, but it will still be higher than the daily riding. It is more obvious on the highway. Of course, on high-difficulty tracks, mountain riding will have a higher percentage of injuries. For example on 2018, the probability of injury in the Tanlin downhill race was very high. More injuries still occur during daily riding, which requires riders to have good first aid knowledge to protect themselves.
Type of injury

A people in jungle
The most occurred injuries are bruises and swelling,  followed by fractures.
The proportion of serious injuries such as fractures or organ failure is extremely low. Concussion cases are also rare. One is due to advances in technology and protective equipment, and the other is that there are not many opportunities for them to appear. In addition, there will be sports injuries caused by vehicle settings, riding postures, etc., due to the influence of riding time and other reasons, road riding is more prone to sports injuries, and the proportion is also higher.
Frequency of crashes and number of injuries

A MTB Rider
There is no doubt that in terms of the number of crashes, mountain biking has failed. During the riding, due to various reasons, there are countless cases of "in-situ explosions", but the number of real injuries is not many, because there are perfect protective gear, Skilled crash skills, different road conditions and other factors, the proportion of true injuries in mountain biking crashes is very low, and they are often thrilling.
In contrast, the number of crashes for road riding is much lower than that for mountain riding. However, because it is riding on paved roads and there is less protective personal equipment, its injury rate will be much higher. During the riding process, the car crashes, eight achievements mean injury, although in most cases it is Minor abrasions
Degree of injury and impact

Magicshine daily lighting
Once a road rider is injured, the situation is generally more serious than mountain cycling.
Severe injuries during mountain biking usually occur on rocky sections. As the protective gear is comprehensive, even in the face of a serious crash, there are protective gears to resist. The most serious case of a crash is basically a fracture, and death from a crash is rare.
In most cases, road riding is caused by high-speed downhills and serious traffic accidents, which allow the rider to go to the solid ground with flesh and blood, and it is easy to cause open fractures, muscle tears and other extremely serious consequences.
In terms of injury impact, the impact of injury on-road riders is greater than that on-mountain riders. A serious crash is enough to destroy a road rider at the peak. It is very difficult to recover to the high level once, and it will take longer to recover. Such examples are not uncommon in the car world. For mountain bikers, the situation will be better.
Cause of injury

A bike use Magicshine lighting in the dark
Most of the crashes and injuries in mountain biking are caused by the rider's mistakes. Of course, some have unfamiliarity with the route, lack of experience and technology, and so on. Many injuries occurred during the first ride, or when the experience was insufficient.
In addition, factors such as technology and experience, as well as objective factors such as road conditions, the reasons for road crashes include traffic accidents and group crashes such as "man-made car accidents." In comparison, the situation of injuries during road cycling has more possibilities and uncertainties.
To sum up
Generally speaking, mountain biking is safer than road biking. The reasons are as follows:
(1) Mountain biking has better protection
(2) Mountain bike have a higher chance of  bike-control recovery during a crash.
(3) Mountain bike crashes are frequent, but the injury rate is low
(4) Mountain riding is less injured, and recovers quickly, with less impact.

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