In the United States, a total of 726 bicycle riders were killed in collisions in 2012. According to the Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center, young children are among the groups most likely to become involved in bicycle crashes. In fact, in 2010, 18 percent of bicycle riders injured in motor vehicle crashes were 14-years-old or younger.
While kids ride their bikes for recreational reasons, many also choose to ride to get to school. In fact, of all bicycle riders surveyed, around four percent of trips involved traveling to and from school. While this may not seem like a lot, it is important to realize that around nine million total bicycle trips are taken every single day in the United States. This means there may be hundreds of thousands of children and teenagers riding bikes to school every day.
Drivers need to be aware of the bicyclists on the road, and bike riders and parents also need to do their part to ensure that no one gets hurt. If an accident does happen, a personal injury lawyer should be consulted for help.
Back to School Bicycle Safety Information
The Pedestrian Bicycle and Information Center data reveals that 48.1 percent of bicycle trips occur on paved roads. Just 13.6 percent of bicycle trips are on sidewalks and 12.8 percent occur on the shoulder of paved roads.
Children who ride to school may not have a long commute, as around 40 percent of trips on bicycles span two miles or less and take just 10 minutes or less. Unfortunately, even a short ride on a paved road can be dangerous.
A total of 3.2 percent of all bicycle trips involve kids 15 and younger, and parents have an important role to play in making sure their children are safe if they are out riding. If kids are commuting to school on their bikes and traveling during rush hour, it is especially important for good safety practices to be followed. Parents Central at SaferCar.gov provides tips for parents including ensuring that children wear helmets and that the helmet fits properly.
One of the most important ways to reduce the risk of a bicycle collision is for kids riding to school to choose a smart route. Safer Car also has details on the 10 Characteristics of a Safe Route which include:
- A low volume of traffic.
- Bike lanes, paths or sidewalks for riding.
- A low speed limit.
- An unobstructed view so bicyclists aren’t blocked by overgrown bushes or trees.
- Traffic signals and pedestrian crossings that are clearly marked.
- Adequate lighting.
- Drivers who follow best practices for safety including following all rules of the road and obeying the speed limit.
- Other pedestrians and bicyclists on the route.
- A Neighborhood Watch.
- Groups of bicycle riders or pedestrians with good role models for safety.
As this list clearly shows, drivers have an important role to play in ensuring that routes are safe. If drivers fail to obey the rules and take steps to ensure they watch for bike riders and respect their safety, the driver can be held responsible for an accident that results.
A Chicago accident attorney can help after an injury. Call Coplan & Crane at 800-394-6002 to schedule your free consultation.