Learning to ride a bike is still an American right of passage for a young child. The freedom bike riding brings to kids also needs some common-sense parenting to avoid unnecessary accidents and injuries.
With all we know about brain injuries these days, the use of a helmet while not required is a good idea. A proper fitting helmet can’t prevent all injuries but it can prevent many. Some experts estimate that up to eighty percent of all brain injuries could be avoided with helmet use.
Particularly for street riding, stressing the importance of proper riding technique is another simple way to reduce the risk of accidents. Teach your child to keep both hands on the handlebars at all times, unless he or she is signaling the intention to turn. Tricks and stunts may be fun for those adventurous kids who like to explore the limits of their skills or to try with their friends. But stunt riding on streets is a bad idea for kids. Backpacks or bike baskets can carry the items a child might otherwise carry in their hands for transport.
Unsurprisingly, the most common types of bike accidents for children are falls, collisions with stationary objects, collisions with pedestrians, and collisions with other children riding bikes. And most of them are not very serious at all. But the vast majority of these accidents can be avoided by paying attention to one’s surroundings. Of course, kids are kids. But children should not be allowed to use Ipod/MP3 players, or talk cell phones while they are riding in traffic.
Only when you are confident that your child will remember to look both ways before entering or crossing a street, ride with the flow of traffic, and signal before turning, should you allow him or her to ride without an adult present. There is no magic age at which a child can ride safely without an adult present. As with many things it depends upon his or her individual maturity. We know that experts tend to agree that children should be at least ten years of age before being allowed to travel even short distances without an adult.
Be especially vigilant about allowing your younger child to ride alone during the evening hours. Reflectors and brightly colored clothing can help, but children are always going to be less visible to drivers because of their small size.
Protecting Your Legal Rights
As a parent, there’s nothing more stressful than watching your child get hurt. If your child is injured in an accident caused by a negligent driver, the experienced personal injury attorneys at Holzer Edwards can help you obtain reimbursement for your child’s expenses and any rehabilitative care that is required. Please call us at (208) 386-9119 or toll-free at (888) 490-0992 for a free consultation.