Bicycle Safety Tips To Protect Your Children In An Accident
Going for a bicycle ride with our children can be a lot of fun. It’s also a great form of exercise. Even better, here in Southern California, we can ride most of the year. However, not everything is fun and games. It’s important to remember that bikes aren’t toys. They usually share the road with cars, buses, pedestrians and other bicycles. And bike riders of all ages, including children must follow bicycle safety rules at all times.
Despite of our best intentions as parents, children still suffer bicycle accident injuries. The sheer number of cars on our roads coupled with hazards like distracted drivers means all bicycle riders are at risk. If the unthinkable has happened and your child was injured in a bicycle accident, call the bicycle accident lawyers at The Dominguez Firm for a free consultation now. You can reach us at 800-818-1818.
Please keep reading for more information on children and bicycle accidents. You’ll also find tips to help protect your children and yourself when you go bike riding.
Child Bicycle Accident Statistics
It’s estimated that up to 70% of children between the ages of 5 and 14 ride bicycles. While this is a great way for our children to get some exercise outdoors, we must also note that bicycles are the second leading cause of injuries for those under 18.
Plus, when it comes to non-fatal bike accident injuries, children between 5-14 and teenagers between 15-19 have the most accident injuries. These two groups account for one-third of all bike accident injuries treated in emergency rooms nationally.
Bicycle Safety Laws in California
- All bicycle riders and passengers under the age of 18 must wear a helmet when riding.
- Bicycle riders may not wear headphones or ear plugs over both ears while riding, regardless of their age. Hearing aids, however, are exempt.
- A rider’s bicycle must be appropriate for their height. This means the rider can stop, start and support their bicycle on one foot if needed without difficulty.
- Bicyclists, regardless of age, must ride in the direction of traffic on the right side of the road.
- Bicycle riders must always yield the right of way to pedestrians.
- Bicycle riders can use handheld cellphones when riding, but this should only be done if absolutely necessary.
- If you live within the city of Los Angeles, your child can ride their bicycle on the sidewalk. This helps small children who haven’t completely developed their motor skills get comfortable with riding without putting them in danger near passing traffic.
Children also learn by example. If you’re darting in and out of traffic and ignoring stop signs, chances are your children will do the same. Not only is that breaking the law, but it can cause any or all of you to be injured in a bicycle accident.
If you live in a city within Los Angeles County, check to see what the laws regarding bicycle riding are for your municipality. They do differ per city and county, especially when it comes to riding on the sidewalk.
Common Bicycle Safety Myths
Let’s dispel some common bicycle safety myths:
My child can ride at night if their bike has lights and they’re wearing a reflective vest.
Never let your child ride their bicycle at night by themselves. Even if they are accompanied by an adult, it’s not a good idea to let them ride past dusk.
I can let my child grow into their bike.
Don’t buy a bicycle that’s too large for your child to handle with the expectation they’ll grow into it. Your child will have difficulty riding a large bicycle. That puts them at greater risk of getting into an accident. Make sure you purchase a bike that conforms to your child’s current height and weight.
My child doesn’t need to wear a helmet if they’re only riding their bike close to home.
Your child should wear a bike helmet at all times. And don’t use a helmet for another sport, such as football either. Note that head injuries are the leading cause of death for children in bicycle accidents. A helmet will offer protection if your child gets into an accident while riding their bike.
Top Bicycle Safety Tips for Your Children (and You)
One example of leading by example is wearing a helmet. Adults aren’t legally required to wear helmets in Los Angeles County, but you should do so anyway. Just like children, one of the leading causes of injuries and deaths for adult cyclists is head injuries. Other safety tips for you and your children when riding include:
- Learn proper hand signals. Many bike riders, especially teenagers are injured when they change lanes without signaling.
- Always be careful around parked cars, especially if there’s someone in one. The sudden opening of a car door can result in major injuries to a bike rider.
- Make sure all brakes are in proper working order. This goes for your bike and your children’s bikes too.
Call the Bicycle Accident Attorneys at The Dominguez Firm
Going for a bike ride with your children can quickly go from being a fun family outing to a nightmare if there’s an accident. If that happens to you or any member of your family, call the bicycle accident lawyers at The Dominguez Firm at 800-818-1818 for a free consultation immediately.
We have the resources and award-winning attorneys to fight for your right to the maximum compensation for your bicycle accident injuries. Plus, we work on a contingency basis. That means we get paid from a percentage of your final verdict or settlement. You have no out-of-pocket expenses to worry about when you hire us. And if we can’t secure any compensation for you, which is unlikely to happen, you owe us nothing. In other words, if there is no recovery, there is no fee! So, call The Dominguez Firm today.