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Child Bicycle Accidents | Younger Riders At Risk For Severe Bike Accidents

Younger Riders At Risk For Severe Bicycle Accidents

While bicycle riding is a fantastic outdoor activity that gives young
people a needed source of exercise and transportation, there are risks
involved when they share the road with other motorists. Those who ride
in urban areas are even at more risk, according to statistics revealed
by the U.S. Department of Transportation. However, by using safe
riding techniques and the correct protective gear, these young riders
can reduce the chance of being involved in a severe or fatal accident.

Young Rider Fatalities

Although technically the deaths for young riders have decreased over
the last thirty years, so have the overall amount of bicycle deaths.
This can be attributed to several factors, including more riders using
helmets (virtually no one used helmets thirty years ago) and parents
being more protective of children riding alone or longer distances.
This is shown in the statistics from 2008 for Highway Safety that
shows that the majority of children are killed on minor roads such as
residential streets and none were killed on major highways.

However, even though only 13% of all bicycle
fatalities
in 2006 involved children under 14-years of age, this
is still one of the most frequent causes of injury deaths for
children. Young riders, from 4 to 44, make up 84% of the bicycle
injury accidents. 51% of bicycle fatalities in 2006 were riders 35
years and older, though it could be inferred that younger riders are
more resilient and since the accidents happen on minor roads, the
impact speed may be less.

Urban Accidents

In the statistics released by the U.S. DOT, the majority of bicycle
fatalities were in urban areas, attributing to 69% of the total
deaths. These happened at non-intersection portions of the road 71% of
the time. However, for non-fatal accidents, the majority happened at
intersections.

Urban riding has many more motorists, traffic intersections and lanes
of roads for young riders to contend with. There are certainly more
risks involved and no young person should be on these roads without
the proper instruction or gear.

Preventing Bicycle Fatalities

With freedom comes responsibility, which all young bike riders need to
understand to stay safe on the roads. Many accidents happen due to
bike rider error, especially in young riders. In a study done on 3,000
bike crashes with motor vehicles, it was found that bicycle riders
were at fault for the accident about 50% of the time. However, younger
riders were at fault the majority of the time while older riders were
less likely to be at fault, bringing the average for all to the 50%.

Traffic safety knowledge is imperative for young riders who want to
use the urban streets. They must be trained and understand the traffic
laws, including but not limited to, turning signals, right-of-way and
to make sure they ride with traffic, not against.
Helmets and reflective gear are also important in preserving these
young peoples lives. 31% of all bicycle accidents
happen at dusk, between 5pm-9pm, when visibility can be poor. Helmets
are the most important gear that anyone riding a bike, young or old
can wear. In 2008, 91% of the fatalities were riders that were not
wearing a helmet.

With proper riding techniques and safety gear, young riders can still
enjoy the love of biking and keep their risk of injury on the lower
end of the scale.

Thanks to Jonathan Rosenfeld, a Chicago personal injury
lawyer
for his efforts in this post. Jonathan is the founder of
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers and represents injured cyclists across
Illinois.

Resources:

http://www.iihs.org/research/fatality.aspx?topicName=bicycles&year=2008#Ageandgender

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