When riding a road bike at high speed, for instance in the Tour de France, I have heard that the severity of injuries tend to be decreased as speed increases, as this allows the cyclist to "roll", and somehow this decreases the chance of breaking bones for example. This seems contrary to my basic knowledge of physics and momentum, so, is it true?
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Does the chance of serious injury when road biking decrease with speed?
No. Risk for serious injury increases with increasing speed. If a vehicle crashing at relatively low speed has a high risk of serious injury, I cannot imagine how increased speed would yield decreased risk of serious injury.
The reason slow crashes can sometimes hurt the most is that you don’t have any momentum in your body to roll or spin out of it - instead, you hit the ﬂoor square on and your elbow and hip take all the impact..
Perhaps the cited technique gives you a chance (if any) to avoid serious injury. However, this does not mean that increased speed decreases risk of serious injury.