Safety

Helmets must be worn

To learn more about the importance of wearing a helmet and to keep up with current head protection technology, please visit the Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute.

Despite our nagging, members of many stunt, BMX, and mountain racing teams and other professional riders, bike messengers and athletes may appear, ride or race without helmets. We don't think it's a good idea, but they are experienced, professional cyclists and they know the risks. They are also adults, so we respect their right to choose. Despite the intransigence of these riders, we strongly advocate the use of helmets on every ride. Wearing a helmet is perhaps your single best defense against a major medical catastrophe while riding, so buckle up!

Seriously consider a neck brace

 GT has long urged the use of helmets. We have recently become aware of neck braces, designed for mountain biking and motocross riding, fitted between the rider and helmet, that can decrease the risk of paralysis, spinal cord and neck injuries. As the manufacturer clearly states, these braces cannot prevent all injuries. We urge riders, particularly riders into challenging and risky riding, to investigate and consider neck braces. One of these might save your life or keep you out of a wheelchair.

Warning Concerning Freeriding, Freestyle

Freeriding, freestyle, hucking, dirt jumping, pump tracks, jumping doubles, ramp riding, pool sessions, street, mountaincross, downhill, slalom, stunt riding. It seems that everywhere you look, from the X-Games to the Red Bull Rampage, on 26", 29" or 20" wheels, riders are grabbing big air and sticking sick drops. And it sure looks fun.

But what the videos and bike magazines and ads don't always tell you is that extreme riding takes an amazing amount of skill. Some of the riders you see are well-paid pros who have gradually built up their skills through endless hours of practice, and who have also had their share of stitches, concussions and busted bones (and bikes). Others are daredevils who have chosen to accept or ignore the risks. Would you allow a lawyer to say that you are so weak in the head, and have such poor judgment that you copy those you see in the media without thought of the serious risks?

The stakes are high if you screw up. Realize too late that you aren't up to the challenge, and you run the risk of major injury or even - say it with me - death, paralysis. In short, extreme riding carries a high degree of fundamental risk, and you bear the ultimate responsibility for how you ride and what you attempt to pull off.

Do you want to avoid these significant risks? Then do not ride this way.

Product Limitations

Problems of pilot error aside, hard-core riding also beats the heck out of your equipment. Although we build and test our bikes to make them tough, there's no way that we can guarantee they'll survive your umpteenth six-foot drop. For starters, there is no industry "jumping" standard. The many circumstances of takeoff, landing, speed, rider technique, etc. are unique. The judgment, lack of judgment or insanity of a rider that may ride a GT bicycle cannot be completely predicted, so it's flat-out impossible to predict how anyone's equipment is going to hold up.

Let's get another thing straight. Buying a Freeride bike, or any design bike, does not make you any better. Do not confuse the built-in capabilities of equipment with your own capabilities, which must be learned.

Keeping your bike and all its components in good working order is critical, and it's up to you to maintain and inspect it. Even so, your sweet rig isn't going to last forever. Nothing does, particularly bikes and parts that are built to minimize weight and then subjected to abuse. GT frames carry a lifetime warranty, but that's to cover issues with workmanship and/or materials. See the GT Warranty. It doesn't mean that they're going to last forever. They're not. It certainly doesn't mean that the bicycle will last forever or can in any way protect you from injury.

In Conclusion

GT has long urged the use of helmets. We have recently become aware of neck braces, designed for mountain biking and motocross riding, fitted between the rider and helmet, that can decrease the risk of paralysis, spinal cord and neck injuries. As the manufacturer clearly states, these braces cannot prevent all injuries. We urge riders, particularly riders into challenging and risky riding, to investigate and consider neck braces. One of these might save your life or keep you out of a wheelchair.

If you're going hard-core, be smart about it, eh? Always wear a full face helmet, state of the art neck brace, full body armor including spine protector, arm and leg pads, full-finger gloves and protective clothing. Choose a bike that's right for you, your riding and terrain, and check it often for signs of fatigue or other trouble. (Your GT dealer can help you on both fronts.) Read the GT Owner's Manual. And most importantly, ride within your ability, know your limitations. Practice. Stay in control, and carefully, gradually expand your limits - but ride within them.

Consider professional instruction. Just like for risky sports like automobile and motorcycle racing there is instruction available.

Read your Owner’s Manual

Warning: All GT bicycles are shipped with an Owner's Manual. It is important to your safety and to maximize the performance of your GT that you read the Owner’s Manual and any other documents that were shipped with your bicycle. If you suspect that you do not have all of the instructional materials that should accompany your bike, double check with your retailer and call GT at 1-800-THEBIKE.

Warning: Catalog and web site product descriptions and marketing materials are not instructions. You must read and follow the Owner’s manual and any written instructions that accompany any products.

Inspection and Service

It is important for your safety that your GT bicycle is regularly inspected and serviced. Your authorized GT retailer must be involved in inspection and service.

Lights and Flashing Lights must be used

Warning: Reflectors are not a substitute for proper lights. It is your responsibility to equip your bicycle with all state and locally mandated lights. Riding at dawn, at dusk, at night or at other times of poor visibility without a bicycle lighting system which meets local and state laws and without reflectors is dangerous and may result in serious injury or death.

Warning: If you ride your bike before dawn or after dusk, your bicycle must be equipped with lights so that you can see the road and avoid road hazards, and so that others can see you. Traffic laws treat bicycles like any other vehicle. That means you must have a white front and a red rear light operating if you are riding after dusk. Your bike dealer can recommend a battery or generator powered lighting system appropriate to your needs.

Warning: The two previous warnings urge you to use lights. GT also strongly urges you to use a flashing light or strobe. Most of us at GT who ride at night or in conditions of lower visibility use flashers. They can save your life.