BicycleKids fall off bicycles all the time – and then just get back on again with a few scrapes and maybe a loose tooth or two.

For adults, bicycle crashes can be extremely serious: bones have set, bulk has increased and we are travelling much faster than the average seven-year-old – and often among heavy traffic.

More and more deaths on the road have involved cyclists being caught in the blind spot of heavy vehicle drivers and suffering fatal crush injuries.

Wearing a protective helmet and kneepads does always not protect cyclists – and often on busy roads, there is nowhere to steer to safety if an artic gets a bit too close for comfort.

However, in less busy traffic, you may be able to save yourself from broken bones or concussion by knowing how to fall correctly.

Horse riders learn at an early stage what to do if their mount suddenly rears, shies or bolts.

Cyclists, too, can learn how to fall to help prevent serious injury – although it is best to practise on a nice soft surface first and always have a friend to hand when practising in case you have a hard landing and need help.

Regular readers of BikeRadar.com will be well acquainted with stuntman Rob Jarman’s articles on how to fall off a bike safely and more info on his techniques can be found at the website http://www.bikeradar.com/fitness/article/technique-crashing-for-dummies-24316/

But here is a brief rundown (sorry) of Jarman’s tips on how to land safely when your bicycle gets the better of you.

Over the top

Beloved of circus performers, this is the one where you go flying over the handlebars.

Jarman recommends you extend one arm to break your fall, release feet from pedals, tuck head on chest and protect head with other arm and prepare to execute a forward roll, while moving out of the way fast to avoid your bike landing on top of you.

You should land on your back, but extending an arm could mean a broken wrist, of course.

Flung sideways

This is the one where you and your bike part company as it heads in the opposite direction.

Jarman recommends letting go of the bike and releasing feet from pedals and try and aim for a safe area to land – anything sharp or solid should be avoided and you must try and protect your head.

Horse riders are taught to relax when they fall off to avoid broken bones and this is another way to prevent fractures when you are flung from your bicycle and hit the road.

Cornering crash

This is when the bicycle slips away round a fast bend and suddenly you are left without a pedal to stand on.

Jarman recommends turning your upper body in the same direction as your bike is sliding in and then remove your lower hand from the handlebars.

The temptation is maybe to try and put down your lower leg so you land upright over your bike – legs and feet can be applied to the road as a braking mechanism if you have the time, says Jarman, otherwise it may be a shoulder impact with the road you are looking at.

Tangled up in pedals

Pedals and stirrups hold the same undignified dangers for cyclists and horse riders – forget your feet are still in them as you dismount, or mis-time your dismount, and your dignity will not be spared.

Jarman recommends that as you are likely to be in slow freefall and disorientated, your one side (eg shoulder to hip) will bear the brunt of the clumsy dismount.

Cyclists should stay upright for as long as possible while pushing the bike down to act as a safety net between you and the road to avoid a fractured collarbone or pelvis.

Every accident has unique circumstances and whereas some cyclists survive serious road accidents and live to cycle on, others are less fortunate.

Learning how your own bicycle performs can be key – and the better you can handle it, the more quickly you should be able to react.

Always wear protective equipment – and look out for pedestrians, too: riding into a pedestrian at speed can easily cause serious injury such as broken ribs and fractures, so watch out when cycling down roads where traffic is parked and pedestrians might suddenly step out.

You can read more info about stuntman Rob Jarman’s bicycle safety tips at www.bikeradar.com

Publisher and author can take no liability for any injury which result from cyclists or others injured as a result of using the methods and techniques described in this article or by Robert Jarman or BikeRadar.com – tips are tried or recommended to others at the reader’s own risk.