Many children get new bikes as gifts over the holiday season. Bicycling can provide your child with plenty of exercise and hours of enjoyment, but it is important as parents to make sure they follow certain safety precautions. Children of all ages need to be aware of the risks regarding bicycle accidents and the serious injuries that can occur as a result. They also need to be aware of ways they can protect themselves when out on the road.
Children and Bicycle Accident Risks
Bicycling is a favorite hobby for most children. It gives them a sense of freedom, allows them to visit nearby friends and explore places throughout the neighborhood. For many parents, it also provides a fun family activity that everyone can enjoy. Unfortunately, it can pose certain risks, particularly for young riders. Bike accidents are common in Portland and children are among those most likely to be impacted in these crashes.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), bicycle accidents leave nearly 500,000 people suffering from serious injuries each year. Young children and adolescents are among those most at risk and account for one-third of all bike accident victims. Due to their smaller size, the injuries children suffer in bike accidents tend to also be more severe. Places these accidents are most likely to occur include:
- When crossing driveways throughout their neighborhood;
- When riding bikes in parking lots or near store entrances and exits;
- At intersections, particularly those that do not have traffic signals or crosswalks;
- On roads with increased traffic and areas with higher speed limits.
It is important for parents to make children aware of the risks when riding and to establish safe parameters for them, depending on their age. Require them to let you know where they will be and to check in frequently when bike riding. Prohibit them from going anywhere near highways, bridges, or other dangerous areas.
Educate Your Child on Bicycle Safety
Parents should explain to children that a bike is more than just a ‘toy’. It is actually a type of vehicle. As such, children need to be cautious and aware of their responsibilities as a bicyclist. This includes being respectful on the road and adhering to all traffic signals. They also need to wear the appropriate safety gear. This includes a safety-approved helmet and protective pads. Other bicycling safety tips recommended by Bike Portland include:
- Keep the bike in good condition;
- When riding, be aware of your surroundings and expect the unexpected;
- On sidewalks, give pedestrians the right of way;
- On the road, ride with traffic flow;
- Learn hand signals and use them when stopping or making turns;
- Avoid distractions, including earbuds which can block car horns or other sounds that indicate an impending crash.
Reach Out to Us Today for Help
Bicycle accidents can happen despite all your precautions. When they do, the Johnston Law Firm, P.C. is here to help your family hold at-fault drivers accountable. Call (503) 546-3167 or contact our Portland bicycle accident attorneys online to request a consultation today.