Knee, Elbow Protection


New Member
Sep 13, 2015
I just started cycling (as a sport that is, I rode bikes for transportation years ago), and am a casual cyclist.

Last Saturday I went cycling the second time on a trail, and already had an accident. I happened when I tried to pass someone on the left, ended up going too close to the edge of the concrete trail, and got off of it. It was really close, to the point I thought I'm not going to go off, so I tried to get back in, and that was a mistake. I fell first and the guy I tried to pass crash into me. The crash wasn't bad, since the guy had time to brake, but I lost some skin on my knee and palm due to the fall, my bike also had some scratches.

It wasn't really serious, but was pretty nasty looking, and very unpleasant. As of now I'm still trying to do everything with left hand only, and I can foresee that I'll be partially disabled for may be a week. It's too much trouble for a hobby.

This made me think if I should wear some protective gears, such as knee and elbow protection, and gloves. I started reading this forum to see what other, more experienced people are doing, but looking at pictures of you guys cycling, I find nobody wears them, or may be just the gloves. Is it that these are not very useful for you guys? I do realize that my mistake is avoidable, and an experienced cyclist probably would very really had such accidents, so for them knee and elbow protections are probably useless most of the times.
Sorry for the repost. The browser returned some error when I tried to post, so I though it wasn't posted.
I think you need to pass other riders more safely. All the body protection you'd be wearing is not going to protect the riders you cause to crash.
I admit that I'm inexperienced (as I stated, this is my second ride on trail), but I'm not reckless. I went too far to the left for the exact reason that I don't want to interfere with the person I tried to pass. He didn't suffer from visible injury since he was slower than me to start with, and he was able to apply brake to significantly reduce his speed. I apologized to him.

I can also see I may have falls on my own, such as at turns. I have a scar on my elbow which was the result of a fall when I was teenage. It was because I made a turn at higher speed than the friction allowed. There is also danger of falling when interfered by pedestrians. I'm not thinking of gearing up so that I can be safe at expense of other people. I have read many posts on this forum, and arguably, the consensus is that cycling is a dangerous sport (rewarding, but dangerous). At least for now I'm not a hard core cyclist, and I think I may be willing to sacrifice performance for better protection.

The reason I ask the question here is that I really want to know what more experienced cyclists think about wearing protective gears, or why they don't wear them.
I tried protections for my kids just to give them confidence and I am happy to say they have used them only once. I don't think protections are necessary to ride a bike.
I try to wear clothing that will offer a little bit of protection, but that typically doesn't include elbow or knee pads. I never really wore them much so I never got used to them or felt like I needed them. I think as you gain a bit more experience you'll find that most accidents are easy to avoid.

That said, if wearing some extra protective gear makes you feel more confident, go for it! Overcoming that fear of falling is huge and way easier when you know you're going to be protected. You might find that after a few months of riding and getting accustomed to sharing the road with other cyclists, you won't feel the need for elbow or knee pads anymore.
What do you call the cushion pads for the knee and elbow? I had never used that or should I say I never had the intention because for me, riding is an art and if you crash then that's part of the game. But I understand that some accidents really happen particularly when you lose control because of exterenal interference like another rider. All I can say is just be careful next time and learn how to merge with the environment - the oncoming traffic, the vehicles at your back and also the other riders.
+1 to oldbobcat. I agree with what he says.

Stay away from other bicyclists entirely until you have a lot of experience. Even then, stay away from other bicyclists. That is the best way to not have a crash, a long stay in the hospital and maybe a lawsuit too. I usually do not go out on the local trails (which form the East Coast Greenway) on Saturdays or Sundays or on summer evenings because they are full of pedestrians and other cyclists and it is just way too easy to hit someone. I go elsewhere.

Check into the protection equipment available. I'm not sure what can be done to fend off a tree branch which is pointed exactly at the right location to punch through your knee at the moment you impact it. So find really easy, safe terrain and ride on it for a while.


Wearing any elbow or knee guards while cycling is overkill, and uncomfortable I should add. Since you're still new to cycling, it's best to ride slowly and carefully. Once you get the hang of things, you'll be glad that you never bothered with any knee or elbow protection, which would just take the fun out of cycling.