Bicycles have been a very popular mode of transportation in California. The age group of 5 to 14 use bicycles the most, and the same age group gets into more accidents.
The bicyclist is highly impacted in an accident because the force between the bicycle weighs less and does not offer any protection like cars. Drivers are often held responsible when a tragic bicycle accident involves a child. Motorists are supposed to slow down when they see a child on a bike, and they must show extra caution in any area where a child is expected to be.
Liability is when a person, company, or entity owes the plaintiff compensation for damages caused. It normally occurs for failed obligations or failure to act. Bike accidents have been a serious and frequent risk for young children riding through busy streets.
According to the reports of the Consumer Product Safety Commission, about 300 children are killed, and more than 400,000 children go to hospital emergency rooms each year due to bicycle injuries.
Determining fault in a child bicycle accident
Most of the responsibility to prevent accidents falls on drivers because young kids might not know how to act safely in a dangerous situation.
When looking into who is at fault for a serious bike accident involving a child, investigators or insurance assessors consider a few things:
- How old and experienced is the child?
- Was something blocking the driver’s view of the child?
- Where did the accident happen? If it was where drivers should expect kids, like a park or school zone.
- Was the driver paying attention?
- Whether the driver was breaking any other traffic rules?
- Did the driver try to avoid the accident by braking or swerving?
Not every time a child gets hurt on a bike means the driver’s to blame, but drivers have a bigger responsibility when kids are around. Investigators keep that in mind when deciding who is responsible for what happened.
The driver’s duty of care
When drivers are in accidents involving children on bikes, the law usually leans heavily toward the child, especially if they are hurt. But it is not just about feeling sorry—the law expects adults to be extra careful around children. Drivers are legally bound to operate their cars safely to prevent accidents and injuries to anyone on the road. That means knowing what’s around and following all the traffic rules. If drivers do not do this and cause harm, they can be held responsible for their careless actions.
Different kinds of carelessness:
- Drunk Driving
- Distracted driving
- Ignoring traffic rules
- Not checking before opening car doors and more.
Drivers must be extra careful around kids, so there are speed limits and rules for school zones. But even outside those zones, where there are not signs, drivers should still be super careful in areas where kids might be around—like parks, playgrounds, and neighbourhoods. They have got to be ready in case a kid suddenly shows up on the road.
Who is at fault when the child is responsible?
If it is shown that the driver was not negligent, then the blame falls on the child. But children cannot pay for any damage. When a child is found at fault, their legal guardian faces the consequences.
According to the law, a child under 3 years old cannot be considered at fault. But since most kids start riding bikes after that age, any child older than three can be seen as responsible. Until they turn 18, their parents are held liable for the child’s actions.
Comparative liability in California child bicycle accident
In certain cases of child bike accidents in California, they use “comparative liability, ” which means a driver might be held responsible for a part of the blame in a crash involving a child on a bike. It makes the driver’s car insurance accountable for a share of the child’s medical bills and other difficulties.
For instance, if a driver did not slow down near a park where kids often ride bikes and are assigned 50% blame, the child might suddenly roll into the street. But the crash might have been avoided if the driver had been going slower.
When they figure out how much money to settle or award, the driver’s insurance company would only cover the percentage of fault assigned—like 50%. Even so, this can mean kids and their families still get enough money to help after a bike accident.
Seek help from an experienced bicycle accident lawyer
Children recovering from a driver’s mistake deserve full support. Do not let insurance companies avoid responsibility. A personal injury lawyer can secure maximum compensation for your child’s recovery needs.
Contact a California bicycle accident lawyer with JG Winter Law. We provide free consultation if you need clarification about any legal procedure related to your child’s accident. Contact us online or dial 1.844.734.2626.
Preventing measures of children’s bicycle accident
There are several crucial measures to consider to keep children safe while they ride bicycles. By implementing preventive methods, we can reduce the risk of accidents and protect our children from potential harm. These measures include ensuring proper safety gear, supervising their rides, and maintaining optimal bicycle conditions. The preventive methods are:
- Helmet always: Wearing a helmet can reduce the risk of head injuries. Ensure the helmet fits tightly and correctly on your child’s head. Look for helmets that meet safety standards and replace them if they have been in a crash or damaged.
- Avoid riding in the dark: Low visibility increases the chances of accidents. Encourage your children to ride during daylight hours or in well-lit areas. If riding in the dark is necessary, ensure they have proper lights and reflective gear on their bike and clothing.
- Supervision: Younger children, especially, need supervision while riding. Be nearby and attentive, especially when they are learning or riding in areas with traffic.
- Proper fit and maintenance: A bike that fits well and is well-maintained is safer to ride. Ensure the bike is the right size for your child’s height and that the brakes, tires, and other parts are regularly checked and maintained. Properly inflated tires, working brakes, and a well-functioning chain contribute to safe riding.
What to do if a child falls off a bike?
If your child takes a fall off a bike, first comfort them and check for any injuries. Apply a cold compress or ice pack to any bumps or bruises. If your child is awake and alert, you can give them acetaminophen or ibuprofen for pain relief. Allow your child to rest as much over the next few hours.
What are bicycle-related injuries in children?
According to the Nationwide Children’s Hospital report, the most common type of bicycle-related injury in children is bruises and cuts.
What ages have the most injuries from bicycles?
National Center for Biotechnology Information states that children between 5 and 14 are at the highest risk for bicycle-related injuries.