Bicycle accidents are one of the leading causes of head injuries in children across California and around the country.
Given the temperate climate in much of California – particularly in sunny Los Angeles – children have the freedom to ride their bicycles for much of the year. Whether commuting to school or just riding for the fun of it, bikes are a great way to get around, bond with friends and stay active. Despite all the benefits, though, statistics show that bicycle accidents are a leading cause of serious head injuries in children.
A recent study performed by the University of California Davis School of Medicine (published in the November 2014 edition of the New England Journal of Medicine) shows that falls and car accidents are the two leading causes of head trauma in children. The study involved analysis of more than 43,000 child head injury cases collected from a sampling of hospital emergency rooms around the country, and it shows that bike accidents are the second-leading cause of serious closed head and brain injuries for those under the age of 18.
The presence of proper safety gear, particularly a well-fitting helmet, cannot be underestimated, however, given that kids suffering head injuries were only wearing helmets 20 percent of the time. When this data is extrapolated to the larger population, this could mean that thousands of bike accident-related injuries could be prevented each year if helmets are worn regularly.
An ounce of prevention…
Preventing bike accidents – and their resulting head injuries – could mean a savings of billions of dollars and thousands of lives annually. The Center for Head Injury Services estimates that brain injuries cost upwards of $48 billion across the country each year, and that the average head injury comes with a lifetime medical expense of nearly $4 million (including years of rehabilitation, surgeries, prescription medications and other related expenditures).
Thankfully, there are steps that can be taken both by bike riders (or their parents, in the case of children) – in addition to always wearing a helmet – and by municipalities that can dramatically reduce the likelihood that injury-causing accidents will occur. As an example, bike riders who follow the rules of the road are much less likely to be involved in an serious accident. The blanket term “rules of the road” includes a number of responsible riding behaviors, such as:
- Obeying traffic control devices and signs, including stop signs, yield signs and red lights
- Riding with the flow of vehicle traffic, never against it
- Not riding on the sidewalk
- Using designated bike lanes whenever available
- Using hand signals to indicate direction changes, particularly at busy intersections
- Not weaving in and out of stopped or slow traffic
- Paying close attention to proper biking etiquette in areas of high vehicle traffic, including around schools, near parking lots and in the vicinity of retail establishments
- Wearing bright or reflective clothing and using lights and reflectors to make the bike and its rider more visible
Tragically, the most careful bicyclist in the world can still be prey to an accident caused by an irresponsible, reckless or negligent driver or by another person/business/entity. If you or someone you love has been injured in a bicycle accident in the Los Angeles area, you have legal rights. To learn more about them, and to learn more about possible legal options to secure compensation for your injuries, speak with a skilled bicycle accident attorney at the law offices of Scott J. Corwin today. Our founding attorney, Scott J. Corwin, has more than 30 years of experience in representing accident victims injured in all forms of motor vehicle accidents, including motorcycle and bicycle accidents, in Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Riverside, Orange, San Diego, Ventura and Santa Barbara counties and throughout the state of California.