During the summer months, riding bikes provides children with hours of fun while helping to keep them physically fit. Young bike riders can be found on neighborhood streets in Portland or traveling to and from local parks, playgrounds, and stores. Unfortunately, motorists are not always as considerate of them as they should be. Bicycle accidents in Portland are a common occurrence and children are among those most at risk. Parents need to be aware of the dangers and the steps they can take to keep children safe.
Bicycle Accident Risks
According to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), close to 500,000 bicycle accidents occur each year throughout the U.S. and young riders are among those most at risk. Children are more likely to be involved in bike accidents than any other age group and injuries they suffer account for nearly a third of all hospital emergency room visits.
In the majority of cases, bicycle accidents involving children are a result of reckless behavior on the part of motorists they encounter on the road. Dangerous driving behaviors that put them at risk include:
- Speeding and going too fast for conditions, particularly in neighborhoods and at parks or other places children typically congregate;
- Running red lights and not coming to a complete stop at intersections, where young bicyclists may be passing through crosswalks;
- Not looking for bicyclists who may be in their lane before opening car doors or making turns;
- Distracted driving, such as making cell phone calls or sending texts;
- Driving under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or medications;
- Drowsy driving, which mimics the same effects as driving impaired and increases bicycle accident risks.
Protecting Children Against Bicycle Accidents
As parents, you cannot always be there to protect your child. This is particularly true when they are out riding bikes. However, there are precautions you can take to help reduce their risks. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recommends the following:
- Make sure your child is aware of general traffic safety rules, such as using crosswalks and stopping for traffic signals;
- Set limits on where they are permitted to ride based on age and bicycling abilities, avoiding areas with high traffic or speed limits;
- Make sure their bicycle is properly maintained and in good working order at all times;
- Use reflective tape and lighting to increase their visibility;
- Teach them hand signals, so they can alert motorists of when they intend to make turns;
- Make sure they wear closed-toe shoes and an approved safety helmet at all times when riding;
- Encourage them to use pads and other safety equipment, which can protect them in the event a bicycle accident happens.
Let Us Help You Today
If a bicycle accident does occur, reach out to the Johnston Law Firm P.C. right away. We can help you hold at-fault motorists accountable so you can get the compensation your child needs to recover. Call (503) 546-3167 or contact our Portland bicycle accident attorneys online to request a consultation today.