Adults are not the only ones who can enjoy the freedom and thrills that motorcycles provide. Some motorcyclists with families routinely invite their children to ride along, and many children are eager to accept the invitation.
A motorcycle crash can cause catastrophic injuries to an adult rider. Motorcycle accidents involving children can easily be deadly. Even if the motorcyclist is experienced and cautious, a careless motorist or other motorcyclist can cause a crash, injuring yourself and your child.
Motorcycle Injury Statistics
Unlike the driver and passengers in a car who enjoy some measure of protection from the frame of the vehicle, a motorcyclist and any passengers on the bike are not protected by the frame of the motorcycle during a crash.
Young riders are especially at risk of suffering serious injuries in a motorcycle crash. Statistics provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety show that:
- In one recent year, 93,000 individuals were injured in motorcycle crashes and nearly 5,000 were killed.
- 80 percent of all Indiana motorcyclists killed in motorcycle accidents were not wearing helmets at the time of the crash.
- Over 125 of all individuals killed in motorcycle crashes were children under the age of 19 years of age.
In another study, 60 percent of motorcycle riders hospitalized were under licensing age. All of these data reinforce the conclusion that your child is at risk of injury every time he or she rides a motorcycle.
Tips to Protect Your Child from Injury While Riding on a Motorcycle
Unfortunately, you cannot entirely eliminate the risk of being involved in a motorcycle crash. There are steps you can take, however, that can protect your child from serious injury while riding on a motorcycle. These include:
- Ensure your child wears a properly fitted helmet at all times. Traumatic brain injuries can cause lifelong disabilities to your child, impacting his or her development, academic performance, and ability to make friends and hold jobs. A properly fitted helmet is one of the best ways to protect your child from serious head injuries in the event of a crash. Your child will most likely outgrow his or her helmet rather swiftly, but the small investment of purchasing a new helmet for your child periodically is worth knowing your child is as protected as he or she can be from serious head injuries.
- Purchase safety equipment for your child, including a belt or harness. Just as you should purchase and wear protective clothing to protect your skin against cuts, lacerations, and “road rash” in the event you are thrown from your cycle, you should purchase similar and well-fitted protective clothing for your child. Jeans and boots offer decent protection if you cannot afford dedicated safety clothing. Do not let your child ride with shoes that have shoelaces as shoelaces can easily become entangled in the chain, leading to catastrophic injuries. In addition, consider purchasing a belt or harness to help keep your child from falling off the motorcycle. A belt is worn around your waist and it allows your child to have a better grip on your waist while you are riding. For young children, a harness can be used to attach the child to your back. With a harness, your child does not need to worry about remembering to always hold onto you. Your child will fall off the motorcycle only if you fall off of the motorcycle.
- Teach motorcycle safety to your child. Constantly teach your child motorcycle safety: how to approach the motorcycle, how to get on a motorcycle, how to ride as a passenger on a motorcycle. Children may need to be reminded regularly about these safety rules, but with time your child will remember these rules.
- Always ride with your child behind you. If you ride with your child seated in front of you, your child is more likely to fall off of the bike. Not only this, but controlling your bike can be significantly more difficult. When your child is riding behind you, a harness can be used to ensure your child remains on the motorcycle or your child can hold onto a specially designed belt. Most motorcyclists who ride with their child in front of them must use one of their hands to hold the child. This obviously decreases the motorcyclist’s ability to control the bike and increases the likelihood of a crash.
- Ride responsibly. You should ride your motorcycle defensively. Be alert for other traffic and assume that drivers of motor vehicles are not able to see you. Do not speed and obey all traffic signs and signals. Do not drink and ride. Alcohol has been found to be a factor in a significant number of fatal motorcycle crashes.
What Can I Do if My Child Is Injured in a Motorcycle Crash?
If your child is injured in an Indiana motorcycle crash, your child’s wellbeing and health should be the most important consideration on your mind. Seek immediate medical treatment for your child’s injuries, especially if you suspect your child may have suffered a head injury or traumatic brain injury. Follow any ongoing treatment directions and appointments for follow-up examinations made by your child’s doctor.
As soon as possible, contact the Indianapolis motorcycle accident lawyers at the Sevenish Law Firm to discuss your options for filing a motorcycle injury lawsuit. We will conduct a prompt and thorough investigation into the facts of your crash and determine if you may be entitled to compensation for the losses and expenses you suffered as a result of your injuries and your child’s injuries. If you may be entitled to compensation, we will aggressively pursue monetary damages on your behalf while working with so you that you understand every step of the legal process. We understand motorcycle injury law, and have been helping Indiana motorcyclists and their injured children since 1985. Contact the Sevenish Law Firm for experienced legal assistance today.