Learning to ride a bike is a milestone for any child. It gives your child a sense of victory and pride after they have mastered how to steer to the left or right, when to brake and how to make gradual turns. Riding a bike is a fun and healthy activity for kids. However, bicycling also has its risks, especially for children under the age of 16.
Bike accident statistics
In 2011, the age group 16 and younger accounted for 10% of all pedalcyclists killed and 19% of those were injured in traffic crashes. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) defines pedalcyclists as riders of bicycles (two-wheel non-motorized cycles) and other cycles (tricycles and unicycles) powered solely by pedals. Studies have also found that male cyclists are more vulnerable to bike accidents. In 2010, males accounted for 78% of the fatalities among the age group 14 and younger. During the same year, this age group accounted for 18% of the pedalcyclists who were injured.
What should you do if your child is hit by a car while riding their bike?
In the event that your child has been hit while riding their bicycle, it is important that you know how to handle the situation. Here are the measures you should take:
- Keep calm and set aside emotions. There is a tendency for parents to panic if they see their child having a bruised leg or bloodied face. This won’t help at all. The first thing you should do is remove your child from any additional danger. Get them out of the road, check their breathing and try to calm them down. If available, apply first aid.
- Seek medical attention. Dial 9-1-1 or other local emergency numbers. Notify the authorities of the accident. If the crash happened in your community, ask for help from your neighbors and rush your child to the nearest clinic or hospital.
- Document what happened. If you have your cell phone at the time of the accident, make sure you take photos of the accident scene. These photos can aid the police in making a report. Also, you may get the names of eyewitnesses. The statement of an eyewitness may be able to prove that the driver of the car was negligent, distracted, impaired, turned illegally, exceeded the speed limit or ran a red light.
- Report the bicycle accident to police. It is very important that you inform the police about the accident, even if it is just a minor one. You can use the police report when filing an injury claim or a lawsuit.
- Consult a personal injury attorney. Bicycle accidents involve legal issues and some of these may be complex, which can be handled by an attorney. Regardless of the severity of your child’s injury, it is best to seek legal advice from a Bicycle Accident Attorney, especially when it comes to making an injury or compensation claim. Your attorney will take legal actions for you to collect damages for medical expenses, future medical care, lost wages, pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment or a normal life.
- Comfort your child and protect them from depression. The bicycle accident may not be only painful to your child physically, but also traumatizing. So, make your child feel secured and protected from any harm or danger. Also, observe the behavior of your child. There is a possibility that symptoms of depression may develop months after the accident. If you notice your child experiencing symptoms such as: anger, guilt, loss of interest, sleeping problems, appetite changes or excessive crying, consult a physician or a mental health professional.