Children Face Serious Risks of Bicycling Accidents in Alabama

According to the Journal of Trauma Injury, Infection, and Critical Care, child pedestrian injuries in Alabama and elsewhere throughout the country are affecting far too many of our young residents.

Pedestrian-car accidents are the second-leading cause of death for children between the ages of 4- and 15-years-old. Roughly 20 percent of children ages 5- to 9-years-old, who were killed in traffic accidents, were pedestrians that were hit by a vehicle. These statistics are very alarming, especially as the school year kicks off and more and more young students are expected to be out on our roadways walking to school or bicycling to school.

Our Birmingham accident attorneys understand that more than 39,000 children are injured in these types of accidents every single year. Parents are urged to talk with their young students about the dangers of walking to school — talk with them about safe pedestrian habits that can help them to stay safe each day while traveling to and from by foot or by bike.

Most school-aged children involved in pedestrian accidents are killed while walking home after school. About 40 percent of child pedestrian accidents occur from 3:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Nearly 80 percent of these accidents happened at areas other than intersections. Mid-street crossings account for roughly 70 percent of the injuries sustained by child pedestrians under the age of 10.

The National Safety Council offers these bicycle safety tips to your little pedestrian:

  • Never allow children that are 10-years-old or younger to walk to school alone.
  • Make sure your child always uses a sidewalk.
  • If there’s no sidewalk available, make sure they walk facing traffic.
  • Remind your young pedestrian to always cross the street at a street corner or at an intersection.
  • Make sure your child knows to look both right and left before stepping off the curb to cross the street.
  • Instruct your child to continue looking right and left as they’re crossing the street.
  • Tell your child to walk, never run, across a street. Running makes them more likely to trip and fall.
  • Make sure your child knows to never run out in front of a parked car. Oncoming traffic may not be able to see your child.

We also understand that a number of students will be using their bicycles to get to and from school every day. Students that will be riding a bike are also urged to be cautious near our busy roadways to help to avoid an accident with a motor vehicle. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that bicyclists that were under the age of 16 accounted for nearly 15 percent of all of the bicyclists that were killed on our roadways.

To help keep your little bicyclist safe, talk to your child about the following safety tips:

  1. Always wear a helmet. Children under the age of 16 in Alabama are required by law to wear a helmet when riding a bike.
  2. Only the width of two fingers should be able to fit between your eyebrows and the bottom of your helmet.
  3. Get familiar with the rules of the road and get plenty of practice in so you’re more confident and comfortable on our roadways.
  4. Always ride on the right side of the road. Ride in a single-file line and in the same direction as traffic.
  5. Wait for a driver to signal the go ahead before crossing the street.
  6. Wear bright colors if you have to ride when the sun’s not out.
  7. Equip your bicycle with reflective tape and lights to make yourself more visible to drivers.

Talking with your child about safe traveling habits can help to keep them safe on their journey to and from school each day. We would like to wish everyone a happy and safe school year!

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