Riding a bicycle is a healthier, more fun and eco-friendlier alternative to driving a car, because it keeps you physically active and it helps the environment by reducing transportation emissions and shirking the need for petroleum. But is bicycling a safer alternative to driving a car? This question is open to debate.
Bicycles are particularly popular among children in Pennsylvania and all across the nation. Unfortunately, however, riding a bicycle becomes much more dangerous if you are a child.
Fact: According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 60 percent of all bicycle accident victims who require hospitalization are children.
Our Pittsburgh child bicycle accident attorney from Shenderovich, Shenderovich & Fishman reminds that drivers have a duty to exercise a higher standard of care when around children on bicycles. It is true that motorists in the U.S. are required to exercise reasonable care at all times regardless of their surroundings, but this care increases when children, particularly young children, are around.
Interestingly, children in Pennsylvania and elsewhere in the U.S. are held to a lower standard of care when it comes to riding a bicycle. This means that if your child has been injured in a bicycle accident involving a passenger car, the likelihood of recovering damages is very high.
However, it is not that simple.
In order to recover damages after a child bicycle accident in Pittsburgh or elsewhere in Pennsylvania, the plaintiff (typically, the child’s parents) have to establish that the at-fault driver was negligent due to his or her failure to exercise reasonable care.
As we have mentioned earlier, when children are involved, motorists are held to a higher standard of care. That means motorists have a legal duty to exercise an increased amount of care around children on bicycles (for example, a driver should reasonably expect that children, particularly young children, might swerve into their lane or cross into the street).
Typically, the amount of care increases when motorists are driving in or around schools, school bus stops, residential neighborhoods, parks, and other places where children are more likely to be present.
However, in no way does it mean that motorists are always negligent any time they get into a bicycle accident with a child. If the driver and/or his or her lawyer can prove that the motorist took all precautions and exercised an increased standard of care but was still unable to avoid the collision, that driver will most likely not be found negligent.
In fact, a motorist may argue that the young bicyclist was negligent and that this negligence caused or contributed to the collision. However, what many parents of children who get involved in bicycle collisions seem to forget is that Pennsylvania follows the “tender years” doctrine, under which young children are “incapable” of contributory negligence.
You will need to consult with a Pittsburgh child bicycle accident lawyer to determine whether or not your case meets the criteria to qualify for the “tender years” doctrine. Do not let the negligent driver who injured your child get off the hook. Schedule a free consultation by contacting Shenderovich, Shenderovich & Fishman. Call our offices at 888-98-TWINS(89467).