Just last week on a sleepy residential street in the city of Kiel, a motorist was on their way to their local job.
At the same time, a young boy was pedaling his bicycle toward school. He might have been excited to get there quickly to see his friends again, or perhaps thinking about what was coming up that day in class. Whatever the reason, the boy darted across the street and in the path of the motorist heading to work.
Nobody heard about this incident because—thankfully—the motorist was focused on driving and slammed the brakes on in time to stop for the bicyclist. While both were shaken by the near collision, they were both able to continue on their way and a young boy was able to go home later that day to his parents.
Nice weather might finally be here to stick around for a few months and bicycles are coming out of garages. Every community in this area does good things for young bicyclists, including bike rodeos, bike giveaways, and ice cream rewards for safe bicycling. Officials encourage bicycling but, more importantly, safe bicycling.
According to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, bicycle crashes—like most crashes—can and should be prevented. Operator error—either by bicyclist, motorist or by pedestrian—is the cause of more than 90 percent of bicycle crashes. Children are particularly prone to error-related crashes. Child errors account for more than 90 percent of all child bicycle crashes. In contrast, 60 percent of adult bicycle crashes are the result of motorist—not bicyclist—error. The most common is a left turn across the path of an oncoming bicycle.
Step number one for all bicyclists, of course, should be putting on a helmet. Every bicyclist wearing a helmet correctly each time they get on a bicycle can help prevent more than 85 percent of head injuries when crashes do happen, the DOT said. And they will happen. More than half of all bicycle crashes are simple falls caused by operator error, bicycle condition, riding surface condition, or other reasons.
Bicycle season is here. Parents cannot emphasize enough to their children the common sense rules for keeping it from becoming crash season.
—Mark Sherry