Biking, or cycling, is a popular form of leisure, exercise, and sport performed by adults and children alike. Biking is one alternative method of transport nowadays and often preferred as a low-cost alternative to driving automobiles.
Biking can be achieved in two options – riding a bicycle or riding a tricycle. Safety is one of the considerations in choosing a vehicle for transport. In terms of safety, which of the two vehicles stands out to protect the rider from harm and accidents?
Based on the 2019 crash reports analysis by Ayres & Kensington, tricycles may significantly lower crash risk than 2-wheel bicycles. Tricycles indeed are safer to use than bikes. What are the significant features of the tricycle that made it hit the top spot for safety?
Tricycle Safety Elements
A tricycle or a trike is a gravity-powered three-wheeled vehicle. Many people will agree that riding the tricycle felt safer than riding the bicycle in terms of safety. Tricycles have features that provide stability and control, distribution of balance, easy visibility, steady gear, and smooth climbing ability than its two-wheel counterpart, the bicycle.
Stability and Control
Riding the tricycle offers more stability because it has a broader footprint, an additional body, and three wheels that effectively distribute the vehicle’s weight. Adult tricycles also have dropdown frames that enable ease of getting in and out of the vehicle, even for those with a range of motion problems. Forward motions for brakes are unnecessary since the three-wheels will not tip over easily, minimizing accidents due to loss of control.
The rider will feel secured – once he steps on the pedal, the kids tricycle will do its balanced distribution job. It gives greater control since the rider will significantly focus on steering and pedaling rather than balancing the tricycle. Riding the tricycle provides further confidence to the rider to effectively control the steering.
The tricycle provides better distribution of balance across the vehicle because of its three-wheel and bulky structure. The three wheels adequately distribute the vehicle’s weight from the driver’s seat to the passenger’s seat, providing stability at the same time.
Even if the tricycle is at a full stop, the rider does not need to step on the ground to stabilize the vehicle. The tricycle remains balanced on the ground on its three wheels.
The tricycle’s body, as in recumbent tricycles, is designed to have a low center of gravity. This design allows the tricycle to minimize possible impacts on collision since it is built closer to the ground. The rider will not quickly get off balance because of the tricycle’s ‘balance distribution’ design.
Tricycles, mostly upright types, can be easily spotted across the road due to the tricycles’ bulky design. When another driver sees the tricycle, along with the flags and reflectors in its body, he will do a double-take and avoid the vehicle. The easy visibility characteristic of upright tricycles prevents further collision due to non-visualization of the vehicle.
Also, tricycles are wide enough not to be stuck in between other vehicles in times of traffic or road changes. This attribute decreases the chances of collision to a driver changing roads or crashes in a car door.
Steady gear feature is a unique feature of adapted tricycles. This updated feature helps the rider do forward and backward pedaling and provides direct power transfer from the rider to the wheels. Having this unique tricycle quality increases the rider’s efficiency in controlling and braking the vehicle without adding extra effort. Steady gear further provides safety to the rider.
Due to its broad build, multiple gears, and three wheels, tricycles are stable enough to climb on a steep hill with balance and safety. The tripod design enables the tricycle to remain steady in its movement, even at slow speeds. Tricycle riders can decelerate down the hills without fear of tumbling down the road, minimizing risks for accidents.
Drawbacks in Riding Tricycles
Riding a tricycle is considered safer than riding its two-wheel counterpart, the bicycle, due to the mentioned safety features. However, one might have another take on riding it because of the following drawbacks:
- Statistics show that there are greater incidences of accidents by tricycle riders due to loss of control.
- Tricycle riding is discouraged to children under three years of age because of their inability to maintain balance and coordination, the tricycle’s bulky design, and heavyweight.
- People with balance and coordination problems will also have difficulty riding the tricycle as it has multiple gears for its steering.
- The tricycle also has poor dynamic side stability – the rider must take caution whenever he drives into a corner to prevent toppling the tricycle.
- Visibility can also become an issue in cases of recumbent bikes, as the low built decreases visibility for other drivers along the road.
The tricycle takes its lead over the bicycle in providing more safety to younger riders. It has safety features that protect the riders from potential collisions, overturns, and body injuries. However, the usage of tricycles still has its drawbacks.
The tricycle rider’s overall safety will not entirely depend on its ‘safety features,’ but also on the proper usage of the tricycle, appropriate use of protective equipment, and strict observance of road rules. These vital considerations are necessary to maximize the tricycle’s safety feature and minimize, if not avoid, road accidents and accident-related injuries.