How to Make Your Child Wear a Bicycle Helmet

Every child who rides a bicycle to school or anywhere else, must wear a bicycle helmet. That is the single most important piece of advice that any California bicycle accident lawyer would offer parents.

Unfortunately, bicycle helmet usage rates, which should be 100% among children, are not always so. Many children resist wearing a helmet for a variety of reasons, and parents simply go along. Children don’t like helmets because they consider them uncomfortable or uncool. Parents need to be stricter about getting their children to wear bicycle helmets every time they ride.

Not wearing a bicycle helmet increases the risk of brain injury if the child is involved in an accident. The risk of brain injuries is present when an adult bicyclist is involved in an accident, but the risk of severe injuries may be greater when it is a child involved in a crash. That’s because young brains are still growing, and may be much more vulnerable to the damaging effects of a sudden blow to the head, which often results in a bicycle accident. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, children account for some of the highest rates of injuries in bicycle accidents. They account for close to 60% of all injuries in bicycle accidents.

Introduce your child to helmets early. A young child, who has begun wearing helmets, is likely to develop a habit of wearing helmets, and will continue wearing bicycle helmets as he grows older.

Get your children to help pick out a helmet. The helmet must be properly fitting. Let your child pick the color or design that he or she wants to.

It also goes without saying that you as an adult should model appropriate behaviors, and wear a bicycle helmet while riding.

Alcohol May Be a Much Bigger Factor in Bicycle Accidents Than Believed

According to a new study, widespread underreporting of alcohol as a factor in fatal accidents mean that the actual number of fatal collisions that involve drunk driving, could be much greater than we currently believe.

That information came from researchers who analyzed data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System. Information on drunk driving from the system was then compared with the information on death certificates.

The researchers found in the analysis that between 1999 and 2009, approximately 3% of all death certificates mentioned drunk driving as the contributing factor in the accident fatality. However, from highway data, the researchers found that 21% of people killed in the accident were legally intoxicated at the time of the accident.

According to the authors, the reason for this discrepancy in statistics is possibly because alcohol is very often not mentioned as the contributing factor in death certificates, because the blood-alcohol test results have not come in at the time of compiling with certificate. Typically, it can take between 3 to 5 days to file a death certificate after the death has occurred, but it can take much longer for blood-alcohol test results to come in.

That means that there are discrepancies in the accumulation of data involving drunk driving accidents, and this discrepancy is possibly hazardous because it fails to provide accurate numbers about alcohol-related accidents.

Bicyclists are some of the most vulnerable victims of drunk drivers. An intoxicated driver may not be in a position to look out for upcoming vehicles, let alone bicycles which have a much narrower frame and are easier to miss. Intoxicated drivers typically drive at excessive speeds or drive rashly, increasing the risk to bicyclists unlucky enough to be sharing the road with them.

Bicycling and Brain Injuries

It’s no news that the bicyclist who is not wearing a helmet is at a much higher risk of suffering serious, and possibly even fatal brain injuries.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2010, there were 800 bicyclist fatalities across the country in bicycle accidents, and more than 510,000 bicyclists bicycle accident-related injuries. Every year 26,000 bicycle injuries comprised of traumatic brain injuries.

These are some of the most serious injuries facing bicyclists, and a helmet can be a bicycle bicyclist’s sole chance of minimizing the risk of such injuries. Brain injuries are not only disabling and debilitating injuries, but also some of the most expensive injuries. An average brain injury victim can go through millions of dollars in expenses over a lifetime of care.

According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, there has been a 30% increase in the number of hospital emergency room visits that are linked to traumatic brain injury. The findings were seen over a four-year period, and the researchers believe that the increase in the number of emergency room visits is possibly the result of greater awareness about the dangers of brain injuries, especially milder injuries like concussions.

You can minimize your chances of suffering a brain injury in a bicycle accident. Wear a helmet every time you bicycle. If there are other people in your family who bicycle, make sure that they are all helmeted too. The helmet must be properly fitted, and must meet federal safety guidelines.

Children must be protected against these injuries, because their brains are still growing, and may be much more vulnerable to the long-term effects of injury. If your children refuse to wear a helmet, get them involved in the process of buying a helmet.

Take care to avoid being involved in an accident. Ride with the traffic flow, and not against it. Make sure that you’re aware of all traffic signs and signals, and follow all traffic rules stringently. Learn the correct hand signals and use these correctly.

What to Do When You Have Been Involved in a Bicycle Accident

It’s a situation that almost every bicyclist finds himself in sooner or later. Everybody has stories of crashes that they have been involved in, and if you’re lucky, you’ll walk away from these accidents with barely any injuries.

If you are involved in an accident, the first thing to do is avoid panic. Check yourself for injuries, and make sure that you are safe. Wait for paramedics to arrive at the scene, and get medical help for your injuries. If you’re able to, call 911 immediately. If, however, you are injured so badly that you cannot call 911, ask someone nearby to call 911 for you.

When police arrive at the scene of the bicycle accident, make sure that they take a report. It’s really important to get a police report of the accident. Many bicyclists make the mistake of walking away from the scene of an accident if their injuries are not very serious. Bicycle accidents are entirely preventable, and if you do not file a police report, then there is no record of the accident at all.

Try to get contact information from witnesses at the scene of the accident. The police doesn’t always get contact information from witnesses.

If you can, try to get photographs of everything, including the damage to your bicycle.

If the other motorist leaves the scene of the accident, note down the license plate number. Leaving the scene is almost always a sign of guilt.

If however, the other motorist has remained at the scene of the accident, exchange contact information with him, and note down his name, address, phone number, license number, and the date and location of the accident.

When you get back home, try to note down as many details of the accident as possible- these details will be handy later.