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Bicycle riding is booming as COVID-19 continues. As a fellowship-trained orthopedic hand and upper extremity surgeon, Dr. Joshua Ratner of The Hand & Upper Extremity Center of Georgia is offering a safety guide for cyclists and mountain bikers throughout the region to help our communities stay safe and avoid injury. Patients in need of specialized bone, joint and muscle care are encouraged to call (404) 255-0226 to schedule a safe appointment with Dr. Ratner in Atlanta at 980 Johnson Ferry Road NE, Suite 1020; in Alpharetta at 3400A Old Milton Parkway, Suite 350; or in Cumming at 2000 Howard Farm Drive, Suite 310. Telemedicine appointments are also available for remote consultations.

“Dedicated to the health and safety of our community, we’re happy to see so much outdoor activity and a boom for bike riding, from mountain biking and traditional bicycling to electric cycling,” says Dr. Ratner. “This trend is fantastic for mental and physical health, especially as COVID-19 continues, and when cyclists go out and ride, we want to make sure they know about the potential for injury and take the necessary precautions.”

Before your next bike ride, refer to this safety guide from The Hand & Upper Extremity Center of Georgia: 

  • Gear up properly. Wear and buckle your helmet. Avoid loose and overly bulky clothing that can get caught on your bike or obstacles on your path. For mountain biking, wear the correct footgear and use pads, body armor and gloves.
  • Pay attention to your bike. Do not wear headphones or use your phone while you're riding. Make sure that your bike is the right size for you and that you regularly check the gears, brakes, tires and lights (if you ride after dark) to ensure everything is in working order.
  • Ride the right trails the right way. Do not ride trails that are beyond your riding ability. Even if you are an experienced rider, you should get off your bike and walk portions of a new trail in areas where there are drops or where there appear to be large obstacles in the path.
  • Follow road rules. While riding on roads and/or streets, follow municipal rules for cyclists where applicable, using your arm to signal turns, using bike lanes when possible, obeying traffic lights and riding defensively so you can react quickly.
  • Take extra caution for longer bike rides. Do not overexert yourself, and take breaks to avoid overuse injuries or increasing your risk of a fall. You should also wear sunscreen, drink a full bottle of water for every hour that you are riding and pay attention to the weather so you are not riding in dangerous conditions. 

“People who are just getting into biking, as well as experienced riders who are putting in more miles, have increased risk for injury,” adds Dr. Ratner. “Fractures, muscular issues and joint problems should be addressed by an orthopedic doctor promptly; however, if you have a head injury, internal trauma or a bleeding wound that will not stop bleeding, you will need to have someone take your to an emergency room immediately.”

Dr. Ratner is a board-certified orthopedic surgeon with fellowship training in the upper extremity as well as microsurgery. He specializes in providing patients of all ages with surgical and nonsurgical care of the elbow, hand and wrist as well as orthopedic trauma and sports medicine care. His areas of expertise include pediatric hand surgery, congenital hand surgery, brachial plexus reconstruction, microsurgery and peripheral nerve surgery. Dr. Ratner is available to see patients at The Hand & Upper Extremity Center of Georgia’s offices in Atlanta, Alpharetta and Cumming.

To learn more about orthopedic safety or to schedule a safe appointment with Dr. Ratner, call (404) 255-0226.