Bicycles are one of the favorite gifts children love to receive. It exposes them to a whole new world of fun and a different way to move from one place to another. However, bicycles are a lot more exciting and exhilarating. They could also expose riders to accidents, especially when proper safety precautions are not taken. Hale Law has represented clients in several bicycle accident cases and offers some insights into bicycle accidents involving children.
How often do bicycle accidents involving children occur?
Children are at risk of serious injuries when riding bicycles, especially when appropriate safety measures are not observed. The National Safety Council, Stanford Medicine, and National Center for Injury Prevention and Control report approximately 254,000 bicycle-related accident injuries annually. About 100 children are also killed by bicycle-related accidents yearly.
The alarming statistics raise concerns about the rights of cyclists on the road and how safe the mode of transportation is.
What are the common injuries in child bicycle accidents?
Child bicycle accidents can happen within the home or outside on the streets. Irrespective of where the accident occurred, common injuries may include the following;
Fractures: fractures are characterized by bone breaking due to unusual impact force. Considering that a child’s bone isn’t as strong and mature as an adult’s, the chances of fractures are even more pronounced. Kids may suffer bone fractures resulting from falls. This fracture may affect parts like the skull, shoulder, arms or legs, neck, etc.
Traumatic Brain Injury: Traumatic brain injuries can either be mild or severe. They can also be temporary or permanent, depending on the severity. Traumatic brain injuries are often caused due to blunt force to the head. This force may either cause the brain to shift or leave bruises. A TBI’s chances increase when children aren’t wearing a safety helmet or wearing it correctly.
Spinal cord injuries: Spinal cord injuries often result from falls at high speed or contact with a solid surface. Such injuries may leave the victim with a temporary or permanent disability, depending on its severity.
Lacerations: Lacerations are surface bruises resulting from friction or grazing. This injury can leave severe scarring, depending on its extent and how sensitive the skin is.
Bicycle accident prevention is one of the best ways to keep children safe. Doing this requires taking necessary precautions like;
Wearing a safety helmet: Most head and brain-related injuries can be prevented when children wear their helmets correctly when riding a bicycle. Parents and guardians should ensure that the correct safety helmets are purchased and used correctly each time the bicycle is in use.
Safety helmets can reduce the risks of serious injury by up to 85%.
Ride the right bike size: Bicycles are in sizes. Using the right bicycle size ensures that riders have adequate leg space and handling of the bicycle when in motion. Using a size too small or big or using an unusual bicycle style can increase the chances of an accident.
It is important to ensure the right safety precautions by purchasing and using the right bicycle size for each age range. Parents and guardians should also ensure that proper safety and operational training is offered to riders.
Safety checks: Bicycles have many moving parts that can be compromised. It is important to perform a thorough safety check on bicycles before they are used extensively, especially in the outdoor space. Parents and guardians must ensure that bicycles are fully functional and have all their safety features fully operational before each use. This can significantly reduce the chances of accidents and improve safety.
Proper supervision: a lot of bicycle accidents can be prevented with intentional supervision. Parents and guardians should pay more attention to their children when using bicycles. They can easily detect problems and correct them before accidents occur.
Be aware of the surroundings: Bikers should be taught the right safety rules and regulations, especially when riding on the roads. Awareness of the surrounding areas can significantly increase their chances of staying safe on the roads.
Follow road rules: Traffic rules are in place to keep all road users safe. Some of the traffic routes to keep in mind include;
- Use bike routes and bike lanes.
- Ride with traffic and never against traffic.
- Always stop and check for traffic lights before proceeding, especially in corners and intersections.
- Act like a car when riding on the road. Also, keep a safe distance between your bike and the next car.
- Use proper hand signals to alert other road users.
Who is responsible for a children’s bike accident?
While necessary precautions, as highlighted above, are recommended, accidents do happen. Anybody could be held liable for a child’s bike accident, depending on the accident and the situation surrounding it.
In instances of children’s bike accidents on the road, the driver may be held liable for damages. Parents whose children have been involved in bicycle accidents on the roads or another person’s premises can speak to an injury lawyer for professional help.