School is back in session for Bay County and many of the other Florida Panhandle counties. Students are transported to and from school either by school bus, car, bicycles or they may walk. It is important for students to be reminded to observe safe habits regardless of their mode of transportation.
Parents work schedules don't always coincide with student school schedules resulting in alternative methods of getting the kids to and from school. Depending on distance, bicycles are often utilized.
In a time where many experts publish statistics of our over-weight youth, riding bicycles can provide the needed exercise for your child but there are many things to consider, such as the distance, the roadways your child will be traveling and whether or not your child will wear the recommended safety gear. Having a helmet hang from the handlebars will not protect their head from trauma in the event of a collision.
In 2008, there were 118 fatalities in the state of Florida involving bicyclists, a slight decrease from the 2007 statistics involving 121 fatalities. These numbers may seem low when considering it includes the entire state, however, it would be devastating if it were your child or loved one.
The number of bicycle related injuries were substantially higher with 4,748 bicyclists and passengers being seriously injured in 2008, a 2.4% increase over the 2007 statistics where 4,690 bicyclists and passengers were injured. Safety equipment, although does not guarantee to prevent injury, can certainly reduce the risk of a serious head trauma in many instances.
It is also just as important for cyclists to observe not only the safe rules of the road but the traffic laws as well. Depending on where you are riding will dictate the appropriate laws to follow. For instance if you are riding on a sidewalk, a bicyclist has the same rights and duties as a pedestrian. While riding in the roadway, you must ride in the same direction as the flow of traffic and ride as far to the right as practicable - meaning within the means and circumstances present at the time.
If you are relying on a bicycle, scooter, Segway or other motorized mode of transportation, make sure you are aware of your safety responsibilities.
If you or a loved one has been seriously injured because of someone else's negligence, please email me or call my Panama City office for a free consultation.