You always worry about your children suffering even the tiniest of injuries. A bump or a scratch after a fall from a bike can break your heart, so you can’t bear to think about what would happen if she or he had a run-in with a car at an intersection.
Unfortunately, many parents who don’t want to acknowledge the risk of their child’s bike crash may only be making an accident more likely. Children who are warned about the risks of an accident and who are taught how to avoid danger are less likely to suffer serious injuries. It is vital for parents and children to work together to improve bike safety.
In order to keep children safe from serious accidents while riding their bicycles, parents should take the following precautions before the first summer rides:
- Size it up. Kids grow at incredible rates, and last year’s bike might not be a great fit for this summer’s rides. Have your child stand over the bicycle and adjust the seat height so his leg is slightly bent when fully extended. Ensure that the handlebars are at a level height with the seat, and that there are one to two inches of space between your child and the top bar of the bicycle’s frame. Lastly, make sure all tires are inflated and that the brakes are working properly.
- Check their helmets! Helmets are the simplest and most effective safety measure for children on bicycles. Helmets may not prevent an accident, but they greatly reduce the risk of traumatic brain injuries. However, many children remove them after leaving the house. Ensure that your child knows why he has to wear a bike helmet, and make sure the helmet is properly fitted for his head each year.
- Make them visible. One of the most common defenses after a driver strikes a bicyclist is that the driver “didn’t see” the bicyclist. Offer your child a biking jacket in a bright color that has reflective binding to make him as visible as possible in all levels of light, and make sure there are reflectors on the wheels, handlebars, and seat of the bike. Restrict night riding by only allowing children to ride after dark in emergencies.
- Teach about eyes and ears. Riding a bicycle is an early opportunity for children to learn about the dangers of distracted driving. Make sure your children do not wear headphones or talk on the phone while riding their bikes. Also make sure that your children wear their glasses (if they need them) and sunglasses on bright days to stay alert to potential road hazards.
- Practice control. It is important for all riders to be able to control their bikes in a variety of conditions and terrains. Hazards such as potholes, broken glass, leaves, puddles, and dogs can throw a rider off course in an instant, so ensure that your child keeps his hands on the handlebars at all times. Instruct children to carry their cargo in their bike basket or in a backpack, and never ride with an extra passenger.
- Teach about street riding. If your child is old enough to leave the sidewalk, he must know the rules of riding in the road. Take a ride with your child to show him how to stay on the right side of the road, riding with (not against) the flow of traffic. Keep as far right as possible, and show him how to use hand signals and obey stop signs and road rules. Show your kids how to make eye contact with drivers to make sure they are noticed, and how to carefully approach hidden driveways and blind intersections.
Can I Hold a Neighbor Accountable for a Low-Speed Bike Crash?
If your child was struck while riding his bike in your neighborhood, you could hold the driver accountable for the costs of your child’s injuries. The easiest way to determine if you should file a suit is to have an injury attorney examine the facts of your case. Call Wayne Wright LLP today at 800-237-3334 to have us answer all of your legal questions. Your case evaluation is free, and you will not pay us anything unless we win your case.