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Child Bicycle Accident Liability

Liability is often a contested issue when a child's bicycle riding leads to or results in an accident. Whether you live in a bustling area like Los Angeles or a more rural part of the country, knowing the ins and outs of bicycle safety is essential.

This article discusses the reasons bicycle accidents occur and the consequences of those accidents. The article also offers five biking safety tips for children.

Why Do Bicycle Accidents Happen?

Often, bike accidents happen when a motor vehicle driver doesn't notice a cyclist on the road. Cyclists, especially young bicyclists, can be harder to spot due to their smaller size.

Road conditions, like potholes or wet surfaces, can also play a part. Sometimes accidents result from a failure to understand traffic laws or rules of the road. At other times, an accident occurs due to a motorist's failure to respect stop signs or the rights of those in bike lanes.

The Consequences of Bicycle Accidents

Bicycle accidents can lead to serious injuries. From head injuries, which can result in traumatic brain injuries, to other wounds that demand medical attention, the aftermath of an accident can be tragic. Such injuries often mean a visit to the emergency room and accumulating medical bills.

In worst-case scenarios, fatalities occur. If a loved one has been a victim of a wrongful death due to a bike accident, contact an attorney to discuss your options.

Who Is at Fault?

Determining liability in a bicycle accident case can be complicated. State law specifies a duty of care. This means everyone, including motorists and cyclists, must act responsibly on the roads. If a cyclist accident happens because a motor vehicle driver neglects their duty of care, the driver could be at fault.

But sometimes, a cyclist swerves unpredictably, fails to use hand signals, or breaks traffic laws. That makes the determination of liability for any resulting accident more complex. In that instance, it's not just the motor vehicle driver who might be at fault. Rather, both the driver and the cyclist could share the responsibility for the accident.

Suppose a child is riding a bicycle near a park, practicing new skills. An adult on a bigger bike is cycling nearby. They are trying to send a text on their phone and paying little attention to their surroundings. As the child tries to make a sudden turn without signaling, the adult, distracted by their phone, doesn't have enough time to react and prevent a collision.

In this situation, both the child's unexpected turn and the adult's distraction played a role in causing the accident. If both cyclists made road errors, they could share responsibility for the accident.

Determining who should pay for damages, medical bills, and other costs becomes more challenging when both parties are at fault. This shared fault can affect how much compensation someone might receive after an accident. This is why it's important to follow traffic rules, whether driving a car or riding a bike. You and your child can avoid these complicated situations.

Five Bicycle Safety Tips

To prevent unfortunate incidents like the ones mentioned above, teach your child the tips below.

1. Ensure Young Children Understand and Follow the Rules of the Road

Just like drivers need to know traffic rules, young bicyclists should, too. This means understanding:

  • When to stop
  • When it's safe to go
  • How to properly yield to other vehicles

Children who learn these rules early on are better prepared to stay safe when sharing the road with cars.

2. Use Bike Lanes Whenever Available

Bike lanes are special sections of the road designed just for bicyclists. They give cyclists their own space, away from cars and trucks. By using bike lanes, riders reduce the risk of colliding with larger vehicles, making their journey safer.

3. Always Wear Helmets To Prevent Head Injuries

The head is one of the most vulnerable parts of our body. Helmets are designed to protect your head during a fall or crash. Even a minor accident can lead to severe head injuries without a helmet. A helmet is like a seatbelt for the brain—teach kids to wear their helmet every time they ride a bike.

4. Use Hand Signals Before Turning or Stopping

Other drivers and cyclists can't guess what a rider plans to do next. Hand signals act like turn signals on a car. They tell everyone else on the road if a cyclist intends to turn or stop. When cyclists signal, others can adjust their actions and reduce the chances of accidents.

5. Stay Vigilant About Road Conditions

Roads aren't always smooth. They can have potholes, wet patches, or gravel. These conditions can make a bike slip. By paying attention to the road ahead, cyclists can spot and steer around these hazards early.

Seek Legal Help

If you or your child has suffered bicycle accident injuries, consult with a bicycle accident lawyer. A bicycle accident attorney understands personal injury law and can guide you through your personal injury case. They can help you with your personal injury claim.

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