Commuting to school via bicycle is a popular option for many children and college students. In fact, according to the Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center, about four percent of bicyclists say they ride in order to commute to-and-from school. With around nine million bike trips every day occurring in the U.S., this means there are a significant number of people on the roads riding to and from class. Unfortunately, bike riding can be dangerous business, especially for young people.
Drivers need to be aware that their may be more kids on the road now that school is coming back into session. Parents also need to help ensure that their children are making smart choices and following best practices for safety when they commute via bicycle. If an accident does occur, victims and their families have legal rights. A personal injury lawyer can help.
Bike Safety an Important Issue
Kids who ride their bikes to school may face serious risk of injury or death in a motor vehicle collision. In fact, while just 3.2 percent of bicycle trips involve children who are aged 15 or younger, around 18 percent of total bike accidents that caused injury in 2010 affected someone under the age of 14.
Parents can do their part to try to keep kids from getting hurt on their bikes. Parents Central at SaferCar.gov provides information and advice for parents. Parents are urged to ensure that their children wear helmets while riding and that those helmets are properly fitted to the child.
Helmets cannot prevent all injuries or fatalities so the goal should always be to reduce the risk of a collision occurring. Choosing a safe route is one way to reduce the danger and 10 Characteristics of a Safe Route have been identified including:
- Selecting a road where there is a low volume of traffic.
- Choosing a road that has bicycle lanes, or at least sidewalks or paths for bicyclists.
- Selecting a road where the speed limit is low.
- Ensuring that the route does not have overgrown bushes or trees that obstruct the driver’s views of the bicycle rider.
- Selecting a road where there are pedestrian crossings and where there are traffic signals.
- Ensuring that the route has sufficient and adequate lighting so bicyclists can be seen by drivers.
- Choosing a route where there are multiple pedestrians and bicycle riders.
- Looking for an area where there is a neighborhood watch or other safety group to look out for people who violate the laws.
- Looking for an area where there are pedestrian or bicycle rider groups led by safe role models.
- Selecting a route where drivers are generally responsible and respectful of all parties on the road, and where the drivers generally obey the speed limit and other rules of the road.
Unfortunately, bicycle riders cannot predict the behavior of drivers, although driver actions are fundamentally important to safety. Drivers need to be aware there may be kids commuting to school and should take extra precautions to pay attention and be safe.
Missouri accident victims should contact the offices of Tolbert Beadle and Musgrave LLC at 1-800-887-4030.