Parents who live in communities in Pennsylvania and around the country worry about the safety of their children now more than ever. But they also know that part of a well-rounded upbringing involves having opportunities to sports and other outdoor activities that can involve a measure of risk.
Unfortunately, with the rising incidents of reckless or impaired driving, and accidents involving speeding since 2020, bicyclists who are riding in bike lanes, on the side of the road, or crossing the street are more vulnerable. Children are no longer always safe biking in their neighborhoods, and when a motor vehicle accident does occur involving a bicyclist, it is often severe.
Rules of the road and preventive measures
According to government sources, a little over 2%, or 846, of motor vehicle fatalities were bicyclists in 2019. This number represents an overall decline of 16% since 1975. Among younger bicyclists, the percentage has gone down quite a bit, but among cyclists over 20, it has increased dramatically. Over three-quarters of these accidents occurred in an urban area.
But these figures do not reflect the number of injuries from such accidents. Because the most serious injuries or death happen when the bicyclist was not wearing a helmet, this is one of the most important safety tips that bicyclists can follow when they are going out on the road. There are other measures that can reduce the likelihood of an accident, such as:
- Making sure the bike is in top form
- Wearing reflective vests or bright clothing, and having front and rear lights on the bike
- Obeying street signs and signals, and watching for drivers before entering an intersection
- Not riding distracted
- Watching and waiting for cars coming out of alleys, driveways or side roads
- Slowing down when coming up on an intersection
What to do if your child has been injured
For a parent whose child has been in a biking accident, it is important to remain calm and focus on immediate care. There are a number of steps to take that will help not only with medical attention for the injured child but also to establish the chain of events that will be vital in pursuing a negligence claim. Right after the accident:
- Check for injuries and try to make the victim as comfortable as possible. If there are potential head or spine injuries, do not move the accident victim. Then call 911.
- Do not leave the scene, but exchange information with the driver for insurance purposes as well as to file a police report.
- Call the police and file a report.
- Take pictures, speak to any witnesses who saw the accident, and be sure to get their information for future reference.
- Call the insurance company.
In Pennsylvania, if the accident was caused by the reckless, impaired or distracted actions of the driver, in addition to filing an insurance claim, it is also possible to pursue a negligence suit to recover both economic and noneconomic damages.