Today, children aren’t biking and walking to school as they did in the past. In fact, in 2009, only 13% of students aged five to 14 walked or biked to school compared to almost 50% several years ago. Safety, time, weather, distance, and convenience are considered barriers to biking or walking to school.
Unfortunately, accidents still happen. With school being back in session, now it’s time for parents to teach their children how to stay safe when biking or walking to school. At Fetterman & Associates, PA, our bicycle accident attorneys can help if you or your child is involved in an accident caused by a negligent driver or another issue.
Learn more about helping your child stay safe when biking or walking to school here.
Helping Your Child Stay Safe when Walking or Biking to School
Does your child bike to school? If so, there are a few tips to help you keep them safe. It’s up to you, as a parent, to ensure your child can get to school and return home safely on their bicycle. The safety tips you should teach them include:
They Should Always Wear a Helmet
Bicycle helmets help to reduce the possibility of a brain injury. When getting your child a bike helmet, ensure it fits snuggly but not too tight. The brim should be around an inch to an inch and a half over your child’s eyebrows. It may be wise to invest in other safety gear, too, such as knee and elbow pads. This is something a parent will have to determine for their child and their needs.
Teach Them the Motor Vehicle Laws They Must Follow
It’s important for anyone riding a bicycle, including children, to follow all motor vehicle laws. This includes stopping for stop signs, yielding to stop signs, using signaling turns, and more. They should also travel with the flow of traffic to stay safe.
Make Sure They Wear Bright Colored Clothing
If your child wears bright-colored clothing, they are more likely to be seen on the road. It’s also wise to teach your child to make eye contact with drivers when they cross the street.
Remain on Sidewalks as Much as Possible
If your child is biking to school, and bikes are permitted on the sidewalks, they should stay there as much as possible. If there are no sidewalks where they ride, the child needs to walk or bike toward oncoming traffic so they can see what is coming toward them.
Teach Them to Look Both Ways When Crossing the Street
You must teach your child to look both ways – a few times – before they cross the street. They should also teach your child to continue to look left and right as they cross the road.
They Need to Remain Alert
You must ensure your child remains alert while biking to school. This means they should not wear headphones or use their smartphone. If your child doesn’t stay alert, it means their eyes and mind are not on the road or traffic around them.
Use Crosswalks When Possible
It’s important to use crosswalks for crossing the street. Also, ensure they know they should never attempt to cross the street between parked cars.
Work to Find the Safest Route to School for Your Child
The safest route to school is one that has a bike path separate from the road or sidewalks. Even if this is something that makes the route longer, it will be better for your child in the long run.
If your child has to ride on a path where vehicles are moving, selecting a road with minimal traffic is even more important. Be sure to study the traffic patterns in the afternoon and morning to find the best route for their trip. Also, look for areas for them to ride where drivers are accustomed to paying attention to bicyclists.
Try to find a path that avoids intersections. These are often the most dangerous for bike riders. It’s best to find a route with minimal intersections. If intersections have to be along the route, ensure separate crossing signals are for those on bicycles.
Ensure the route your child will follow has minimal distractions, good lighting, few pets, sidewalks with minimal clutter, and no criminal activity. When you find a route like this, your child will feel safer and more confident. They will also be able to focus more on their ride to school.
Make sure you travel the route at least once per week to see if any potential hazards may impact your child’s route. Danger zones to watch for include low dips, cracked pavement, and similar issues.
What to Do After Your Child Is in a Bicycle Accident?
If your child is in a bicycle accident on their way to or from school, you may focus on ensuring they receive the care they need. However, it’s also important to take other steps.
Use this information to ensure you take the right steps after your child is involved in a bicycle accident:
Avoid Moving the Bike
If your child is in a bicycle accident, you must move them out of the way of traffic to ensure they aren’t injured. However, make sure you leave the bike in place. You need to keep it in the same position it was in after the accident. This will help the police figure out how the accident occurred.
Seek Immediate Medical Care
Getting your child to the emergency room or another doctor is important if they are involved in a bicycle accident. This is a step you can’t afford to miss. Sometimes, there may be hidden injuries that only a doctor can find with testing. Sometimes symptoms of hidden injuries don’t appear right away, so getting these tests right away is a must.
To help protect your child’s health and the ability to recover compensation from the at-fault party, it’s best to have them checked out by a doctor within 48 hours of the accident. Doing this will also help you avoid disputes with the insurance company regarding the cause and seriousness of the injuries.
Contact Our Legal Team for Help
If your child is involved in a bicycle accident as they go to or from school, it’s important to get in touch with our bicycle accident attorneys at Fetterman & Associates, PA. We have provided legal representation for clients for several years, ensuring they get the legal representation they need to recover the compensation they deserve.
The first step is to contact our law firm and schedule a free consultation. We can discuss your claim and help you recover the compensation you deserve. A lot goes into preparing a personal injury claim, so it is wise to get in touch with us immediately.