It’s a sure sign of spring when neighborhood streets and sidewalk traffic is jammed with kids on bikes, their flowered baskets and suped up BMX models. Kids love bikes, but travelling at high speeds, lack of control over the bike when learning and neglecting to wear a helmet contribute to the risk and a cycling accident can be the end result for this popular spring pastime.
Who is at most at risk of a cycling accident?
Much has been written about the safety of our urban cyclist and cycling accidents and commuters, but children between the ages of 1 and 14 have the highest incidence of hospitalization due to bicycle injury. (Canada injury compass 2015.) Speed loving, stunt driving 10 – 14 years olds have the highest rate of hospitalization, followed by kids 5 – 9 years old leaving the little ones 1 – 4 with the lowest rate of injury. Not surprisingly, boys are injured far more often than girls. In 2010 – 2011 670 boys were hospitalized compared to only 195 girls. (CHIH’s Hospital Morbidity Database 2010 – 2011) Also notable is that the types of injuries sustained varied between age groups. 1 – 10 year olds were more likely to be injured due to loss of control and speed or distraction, whereas children aged 10 – 14 were injured doing stunts, tricks and biking on rough terrain. This age group was also involved in accidents with other motor vehicles. In all of these cases, there were head injuries which could have serious consequences short and long-term. Traumatic brain injuries are the leading cause of severe injury to kids on bicycles.
How to avoid a cycling accident
As with any sport or childhood activity, the best way to avoid treatment is through prevention. Make sure that your child always wears a helmet. Helmet use reduces the severity of injury by 80%. Parents should also wear helmets both for their safety and to model positive behaviour in their children. If you would like more information on insurance claims involving a cycling accident, we would be happy to provide you with a free consultation.