For many Connecticut children, riding a bicycle may be a frequent activity in the warm summer months. While bicycling often promotes physical fitness and independence, there may be risks as well. Bicycle accidents frequently cause injuries, and these may consist of anything from minor cuts and scrapes to serious traumatic brain injuries.
A CBS News report indicates that from 2006 to 2015, 2.2 million children between 5 and 17 years old received treatment in emergency rooms for bicycle-related injuries. That means there were approximately 25 cases every hour. Children from age 10 to age 14 accounted for almost half of the reported injuries. Over 10% of the total number of incidents were traumatic brain injuries, a sign that many children were not wearing helmets.
The Connecticut state government and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration provide a list of essential bicycle safety tips for children and adults. It is vital for bicyclists of all ages to wear a helmet that fits properly. The fit of the bicycle is also important. Children may risk injury when riding a bike that is too large or too small for them. It is not always easy for drivers to see children on bicycles. Wearing brightly colored clothing and using reflectors and/or lights may help prevent vehicle collisions.
Laws in all states count bicyclists who ride on roadways as vehicles. This means that bicyclists have the right to be on the road with other vehicles, but they also must obey applicable traffic laws. Bicyclists must yield to traffic, obey lane markings and signal before turning. If a child is not old enough to properly follow traffic laws, he or she may be safer staying on sidewalks or bike paths. Parents may protect their children by modeling essential bicycle safety protocols.