When school ends for the summer, it’s natural to see more children out and about enjoying the weather and their freedom. This usually means an increase in the number of bicycles on New Jersey roads. Because of this, it’s crucial for drivers and kids to be aware of their surroundings and exercise caution to prevent bike accidents. It’s also vital for parents to address proper bicycle safety practices with their kids.
A study done by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that children under 15 years of age accounted for 7% of cyclist fatalities in 2014 and 11% of injuries suffered in a collision.
If a vehicle-bicycle accident occurs, it is important to determine who was at fault. Drivers are often liable for failing to follow traffic laws and neglecting their basic duty to operate their car with the safety of others in mind. The best way to identify what to do next is to consult with a New Jersey personal injury lawyer who has extensive experience in bike accident cases.
What Causes Most Bike Accidents?
There are many factors that can lead to a bike accident involving children, but in situations where a collision takes place with a vehicle, poor visibility is one of the most common causes.
Younger children sit low on bikes and may not reach a driver’s line of sight. If a driver isn’t paying attention or looks away for just a second, he may never see the bike crossing in front of his vehicle. Drivers in the act of turning are also dangerous, as they might not realize a bike is alongside them at the same time. In addition, it’s hard to see bikes at night if they don’t have lights or reflectors.
Safety Tips for Children
Teaching children the rules of the road is a critical step in keeping them safe. Here are some of the most important things to go over with them before they pedal away:
- Obey traffic laws – In New Jersey, cyclists must comply with all the same traffic laws that drivers do. This relates to the use of turn signals, riding on the right side of the road, and adhering to traffic signs and signals.
- Ride on sidewalks when possible – For smaller children, it is typically safer to stick to sidewalks when riding a bike. This will keep them out of the path of vehicles, but they must watch out for pedestrians.
- Ride defensively – Children should be taught to never assume that drivers see them or are going to give them the right-of-way. They should continuously be on the lookout for inattentive drivers, never try to pass a vehicle, and always wear a helmet.
Our compassionate New Jersey personal injury attorneys at Lependorf & Silverstein, P.C., understand that there is nothing worse than seeing your child hurt. We are available to advise you of your legal rights and walk you through the process of filing a bike accident claim to seek restitution. Contact us at (609) 240-0040 to schedule an appointment.