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A proper seating position is important for safety

By Adam Marsal

Driving isn’t the same as riding. But when it comes to both things, it’s always good to be properly seated. It makes your commuting not only more comfortable, but safer.

Now it may seem that we’re talking about math for school, but you’d be surprised how many people do it wrong. Let’s have a look how to sit in the car and on a bike’s saddle properly. You will enjoy both activities more and more importantly – you will be safe.

Sit on your bike correctly

The set up for a road bike will be different for each person as each individual has a unique size for our arms, legs, torsos and any other part of our body. As such, what is comfortable for one cyclist may not be so for the next when it comes to road cycling. But still there are some general rules.

We’ll start with adjusting the braking levels on you handlebars. On the first picture they’re too high so the breaking will be very uncomfortable for your wrists. On the last picture the levels are too low so when you need to stop your bike, you’ll have to be very fast with your fingers to grab them. The correct adjustment is in the axle of your forearm.

Stretch your legs

People usually ask, how high their seat post should be. It’s very simple. Sit on the saddle and put your heel on the pedal. If your leg is stretched out in you knee, the height should be all right.

Now have a look on the right position of your foot on the pedal. First rule says that the tip of your shoe should point directly forwards. Any other possibilities are wrong and may cause you serious problems.

The other thing is the front part of your sole should press against the pedal and not the heel.

Behind the wheel

Properly holding the steering wheel of your vehicle is an important safety precaution to observe every time you get behind the wheel. Drivers who use the correct technique to hold the steering wheel of their vehicle are less likely to have an accident and will be able to use their vehicle more efficiently.

Seat distance

The seat should always be positioned with regard to the pedals. Press the brake pedal fully with your right foot and fully depress the clutch. The distance should be adjusted so that with fully depressed pedals, your knees remain slightly bent (about 120 degrees). If the knee straightens, you are too far back. If it’s bent close to 90 degrees, it’s too close.[cite align=”right” width=“38%”]”A fully extended leg puts you in risk of severe injuries”[/cite]A fully extended leg results in the knee locking-up. This reduces the leverage and feel of the pedals, increases effort, and puts you in risk of severe injuries to the feet in a collision – the straight knee will be fractured whereas the bent knee would fold down. Furthermore, the bone would project the shock up to the pelvic and lower spine. A knee excessively bent (when the driver sits too close) at an angle of about 100 degrees, does not support the body effectively and results in bad blood circulation. It can also hit the under-dash in a collision.

Seatback position

In the second step adjust the rake of the seat. This should be as parallel as possible to the steering.

After adjusting the seat, check the adjustment in the following manner: If your wrist only touches the face of the wheel, or you can only put the heel of the palm on the wheel, you are too far back.

This will make you lean forward somewhat when you steer. If you can touch the top of the wheel with your forearm or touch the top of the wheel with the wrist with the hand bent, you are too close to the wheel. Everything except the right position can lead to serious steering troubles if you come to a tricky situation.

How to hold the wheel

The technique for proper placement of your hands on the steering wheel of your vehicle is often described in terms of how the placement of your hands relate to the numbers on a clock. This technique is known as ‘quarter to three’.

If you hold the steering wheel some other way, you can loose the control of the car when getting into some troubles and your hands can be broken very easily if the airbags are released.

There are many other things that could be said, but those are the basic ones. It’s nothing difficult, but it can save you many problems.