PEDALING THIS LABOR DAY?
The Journal of the American Medical Association published research this Tuesday that might be of particular interest to those of us planning on some Labor Day biking. If the report had simply stated that biking accidents are on the rise, who’d be surprised, given the increased number of bikers of all ages across the country (the result of what some are calling “the Lance Armstrong effect”). But thanks to the celebrity crashes this year of rock star Bono, 55, injured while biking in New York City, and Secretary of State John Kerry, 71, breaking his femur while enjoying a ride in France, researchers are sitting up and taking notice.
According to urologist Benjamin Breyer, lead author of this study and researcher at University of California (San Francisco), “the biggest spike [of bicycle accidents] is an increase in the proportion of injured riders over age 45”—i.e. GenXer and Boomer bicyclists (USA Today 9-2-15). And perhaps not surprisingly male riders dominate the statistics (many suffering urethral damage from their accident). Data collected by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission from 100 emergency rooms across the nation (comparing 1998-1999 with 2012-2013) indicate: bike injuries rose from 96 to 123 per 100,000 adults (28% increase); hospitalizations resulting from injuries jumped from 5.1 to 11.2 per 100,000 adults (120% increase); and the “share of injuries occurring in people older than age 45 increased from 23% to 42%” with hospitalizations of this older group increasing from 39% to 65%.
The statistical point? If you’re male and over the youthful age of 45 and you ride a bike, be careful. In fact be careful whoever you are!
How can we keep safe? “Basic safety precautions are absolutely essential, Breyer says: Wear a helmet and reflective gear, have lights for night riding, and drive defensively” (http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2015/09/02/436662737/as-more-adults-pedal-their-biking-injuries-and-deaths-are-spiking-too). Because the good news is that biking remains an exhilarating and effective outdoor exercise sport that’s hard to beat for all ages and both genders.
And by the way, if you’re a biker in Portland, Oregon, or Madison, Wisconsin, or San Francisco, or Berrien Springs, Michigan—you are blessed. Because these are among some progressive communities in this nation making provision for biking lanes and rider safety. (Kudos to our village fathers who opened the new biking/walking lanes along Kephart Avenue just a week ago here in Berrien Springs!)
Biker, walker, driver—whoever we are and whatever our means of transportation, the good news of Labor Day for me is the quiet assurance that when it comes to our salvation the Labor has already been done. The God who created us on the sixth day and then rested on the seventh day is the same God who redeemed us at Calvary on the sixth day and then rested in the tomb on the seventh day. “It is finished.” Because it really was, and it still is. The infinitely heavy lifting has been done—the divine labor completed. And we can rest—all of humanity—in the “blessed assurance” that He is ours and we are His.
So this holiday let’s give thanks to God for His blessed Labor Day. On the sixth day. Both times. So that on the seventh day we can rest in Him. Every time. He pedals. We ride. In peace. Amen.