Warm weather is just around the corner, and with it, plenty of children wanting to take out their bicycles. But before letting their children go for a ride around the neighborhood, parents should take easy precautions to make sure their children stay safe and do not suffer a serious head injury. The Children’s Safety Network notes that 196 children under the age of 15 die each year as a result of bicycle-related brain injuries, about 8,900 are hospitalized, and 344,000 are treated and released from emergency departments.
Prevention starts with simply wearing a bicycle helmet. Although parents report that 85% of children who own bicycle helmets wear them, only about 15% of children aged 14 and younger wear helmets.
The Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute also notes that using a bicycle helmet significantly reduces the risk of a serious head injury as well. Wearing a bicycle helmet prevents 52% to 60% of bicycle-related head injury deaths and also prevents 68% to 85% of nonfatal head and scalp injuries. These head injuries can be very severe. Serious head injuries as a result of bicycle accident can include permanent disabilities affecting a child’s ability to work once they become an adult and can also result in life-long medical treatment and expenses.
Sometimes the impact on a child’s life is so severe that a lawsuit might be necessary to recover expenses paid to treat a child’s head or brain injury and save their life, or to recover expenses incurred when a child or adult dies as a result of a bicycle-related accident. The Illinois personal injury attorneysat Levin & Perconti have experience representing those injured in bicycle accidents as a result of the negligence of a vehicle’s driver. For example, our Chicago wrongful death lawyers reached a $2.3 million settlement on behalf of a bicyclist who was killed when a driver crossed the center of the road and hit the bicyclist. Through our experience, we have come to see the devastating affects that bicycle accidents can have on an individual or family. We strongly encourage readers to always wear a properly-fitted helmet when biking. Additionally, we suggest that before you hit the road this Spring, you review Illinois bicycle laws so that you understand how to operate your bicycle safely on Illinois streets, roads and bike trails.