Can your mood truly affect how you ride a bike?

According to a road rage trend study performed by AutoAdvantage in 2009, Washington, DC is ranked the fourth least courteous city in the United States. Michael Bush, an official who helped gather the data for the study, stated that, "Oddly, in Washington, D.C., you're four times more likely to have somebody drive into you on purpose than anywhere else on the planet."

This puts a strange spotlight on how anger and frustration can cause an otherwise rational person to become completely irrational when emotions take over. However, this reaction isn’t limited to just drivers. Pedestrian and bike rage can affect your judgment and physical reactions just as dangerously.

Have you ever noticed your face getting hot, your hands sweating, or your heart beating faster when you ride your bike downtown and other people get in your way, or drivers won’t let you cross? This isn’t just a reaction to the warm weather and exercise—it’s a physical response to anger, which, unfortunately, not only can affect how you control yourself and your bike but can put you in danger.

How the Physical Effects of Anger Affect Your Riding Abilities

Anger and frustration are emotions that help alert us to certain perceived injustices. However, the body actually responds to these emotional alerts by producing chemical reactions in the brain, increasing adrenaline and causing physical responses throughout the body to help motivate you to take care of the situation. Some of these reactions include:

  • Shaking in hands and feet, caused by a surge of adrenaline
  • Increased fight-or-flight response that affects judgment and may cause you to carelessly peddle at dangerous speeds
  • Poor balance caused by shaking or the need to release adrenaline
  • High heart rate and shortness of breath that can lead to blurred vision, fatigue, and distracted biking

Unfortunately, these physical reactions affect not only your body, but also whatever your body is doing at the time. If you’re trying to control a bike, that control can be lost very quickly and the unruly responses can take over, increasing your chance for an accident.

It’s extremely dangerous to ride a bike while angry. Therefore, if you find yourself getting upset and flustered as a result of an annoying situation, or notice physical changes such as blurred vision or shaking, either pull your bike over immediately until the effects wear off or employ some relaxation techniques to calm down. Not only will these procedures counteract the anger responses, but you’ll be able to focus more clearly in order to avoid any further dangers.

Need more information or legal advice pertaining to a bike-related accident or injury? We’re here to help answer your questions, put you on the right track toward an injury claim and give you peace of mind. Contact us today for a free consultation.

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