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Child Bicycle Accidents | Younger Riders At Risk For 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.

Proper riding techniques and safety gear

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. It’s essential to prioritize the child’s safety and well-being. Here are some general steps you may want to consider:

  1. Assess the Situation:
    • Ensure the safety of the child and yourself. Move to a safe location away from traffic or any potential hazards.
    • Check for any immediate dangers, such as oncoming traffic or other potential risks.
  2. Check for Injuries:
    • Assess the child for injuries. Look for any signs of bleeding, broken bones, or other visible injuries.
    • If there are serious injuries or if the child is unconscious, call for emergency medical assistance immediately (dial emergency services in your country).
  3. Provide First Aid:
    • Administer basic first aid if you are trained to do so. This may include applying pressure to stop bleeding or stabilizing any potential fractures.
    • Keep the child calm and reassure them while waiting for professional help.
  4. Contact Parents or Guardians:
    • If the child is not accompanied by parents or guardians, try to contact them immediately. Share details of the incident and the child’s condition.
  5. Document the Incident:
    • If possible, gather information about the accident. This may include taking photos of the scene, noting any potential witnesses, and documenting any relevant details.
  6. Follow Up with Medical Care:
    • Even if the child’s injuries seem minor, it’s important to seek medical attention. Some injuries may not be immediately apparent.
  7. Report to Authorities if Necessary:
    • Depending on the severity and circumstances of the accident, you may need to report it to the local authorities.

Remember, the above steps are general guidelines, and it’s crucial to adapt them based on the specific situation. Always prioritize the child’s safety and seek professional medical help when needed. If in doubt, contact emergency services immediately.


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