A new bike may be at the top of your child’s holiday wish list. One of the first things you can expect your child to want to do after opening it is to take it out for a ride. To protect them against bicycle accidents and the serious injuries that can occur as a result, follow some simple safety tips before giving them this gift.
Preventing Bike Accidents Among Children
A bike provides children with hours of enjoyment, keeps them in strong shape, and provides a means of transportation for visiting friends or going to local parks and stores. Unfortunately, it also puts them at risk for serious injuries. According to statistics from the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT), as many as 800 bicycle accidents occur each year in our area, many of which involve children.
Children tend to be more daring and impulsive than adults, while also having a shorter attention span and fewer reasoning or judgment skills. This is a dangerous combination when they are flying around on two wheels, particularly on busy neighborhood or city streets. For parents, making them aware of the dangers and teaching them the basics of road safety can help to prevent potentially tragic bike accidents. Important things they need to know before riding include:
- Their responsibility in traffic: While they have a right to the road, they need to remain on the side, bike in the direction of traffic, and yield to vehicles when attempting to cross busy streets and intersections.
- How to signal properly: Bike hand signals for making turns can be found in the Oregon Bicyclist Manual. Make sure they know these and use them at all times.
- Basic bicycling safety tips: Inform them of the dangers of riding in parking lots, alert them to watch out for vehicles pulling out of driveways, and make sure any area they are riding in is age-appropriate.
Make Sure Your Child Has the Appropriate Safety Gear
A bicycle makes a great gift for a child, but there are some accessories you need to purchase to go along with it. A safety-approved helmet is at the top of the list. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), it can reduce their risk of serious facial, head, and brain injuries by as much as 75 percent. In addition to a helmet, additional items that can help keep young bicyclists safe include:
- Knee and elbow pads, to protect them in the event of a wipeout;
- A bicycle bell or horn, to alert pedestrians on sidewalks or roads;
- Bike head and tail lights, which increase their visibility in traffic;
- A basket, so that they can carry important items while still keeping both hands on the wheel.
Contact Our Portland Bike Accident Attorneys
At the Johnston Law Firm, P.C., we provide the trusted legal guidance you need to get the compensation you deserve when bicycle accidents do happen. Call (503) 546-3167 or contact our Portland bike accident attorneys online and request a consultation today.