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Disturbing Trend of No Helmets While Biking Endangers Children

Despite laws in Georgia and throughout the country, it may be surprising to know that many American parents fail to require their children to wear protective helmets while riding a bicycle or scooter, or skateboarding.

Those were the findings of a new poll that surveyed 1,300 parents across the country. According to the poll, as many as 18 percent of the parents admitted that their children never wore bicycle helmets while riding a bike. More than 58 percent admitted that their children didn’t wear helmets while skateboarding, and 61 percent admitted that their children never wore helmets while riding scooters.

Bicycling, skateboarding, and riding scooters are becoming more and more popular in Atlanta, not just as a form of recreation, but also as a form of transportation.  These activities, however, also have a high potential for causing serious, or even fatal, injuries to a child.  When a parent allows a child to ride without wearing a safety helmet, this only contributes to the risk of the child incurring serious injuries which can have devastating and often life-long impacts.

Parents need to sit down with their children and explain the basic rules of bicycle safety. Wearing a helmet should be a non-negotiable.  This could be the one thing protecting the child against a possibly severe head or brain injury if they are involved in an accident.

Get your child a well-fitting helmet. The helmet should not be too tight or your child will not want to wear it.  On the flip side, it should not be so loose that it comes off and fails during an accident. To ensure a proper fit, take your child helmet shopping at a bike shop so they can try it on before purchasing. Besides, your child is more likely to wear a helmet that he has picked out for himself.  In order to ensure that you have the right fit, measure your child’s head circumference just above the eyebrows.  Some types of helmets don’t have internal adjust mechanisms that allow you to adjust the helmet according to the shape of your child’s head.  These should be avoided as they won’t allow for your child to adjust the fit as they grow. Most importantly, your helmet must meet federal standards set by the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

It is also important to remember that not all public spaces are safe for children to ride bikes.  In the survey, 42 percent of the parents admitted that their children frequently rode their bikes on streets without bike lanes.  To be safe, children should be riding their bicycles on sidewalks, and avoid streets with no bike lanes.  When at crosswalks, children need to get off the bike and walk it across a crosswalk, instead of riding across it. The poll found that most children rode their bikes across crosswalks, and failed to use proper hand signals while doing so.

Sometimes bicycle accidents occur as a result of a motorist’s negligence. In such cases, parents must weigh all their options for compensation. If your loved one has been injured in a bicycle accident caused by another’s negligence, he or she may be eligible for compensation for their losses. Typically, there are two types of claims that can be filed when a child suffers an injury. One claim is filed by the parents and compensates them for medical costs and other damages. The other claim is filed on behalf of the child and compensates him for pain and suffering as well as any long- term expenses that he may incur. Talk to an Atlanta personal injury lawyer at the Katz Law Firm, and determine your legal rights to compensation.