Discuss Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety with Your Kids Before School Starts
An auto accident can be devastating for any family. When the victim is a child, the injuries can be even more life-changing. Some permanent injuries will never fully heal. Your family has the right to be fully and fairly compensated for a child’s injuries. Negligent drivers must be held accountable for bad driving behaviors – especially when they endanger children. Call (844) 335-3271 to schedule your free consultation with an experienced Los Angeles car accident attorney at Deldar Legal.
Why School Zones Are So Dangerous
There are many things happening all at once in a school zone. Dozens of parents are trying to drop off or pick up their children at the same time. Large buses – with large blind spots – are trying to make their way through the parking lot. And dozens (or even hundreds) of children are trying to make their way to or from the school. Whether they are on foot, bike, or scooter, children can be the most dangerous element in any school zone.
It can be easy for an adult to forget how confusing traffic can be for a child. Unlike adults, children do not have the benefit of years of experience sharing the road. They do not always know who has the right of way. They cannot anticipate another driver’s moves the way an adult with years of driving experience can. In addition to this lack of experience, children are impulsive. They are more likely to run out into the street or make sudden movements without warning. These are typical childhood behaviors, but they can be dangerous – or even lethal – in a school zone. This is why it is so important to talk to your children about school zone safety before the school year starts. Teach them the basic safety rules of looking both ways and never running into the street. You should also help them understand the traffic safety tips that adults use every day, such as making eye contact with other drivers to be sure they see you. By demonstrating the rules of the road, you can help prepare your child to safely navigate his or her school zone throughout the upcoming academic year.
How to Stay Safe in School Zones
The National Safety Council has specific recommendations for safe driving habits in school zones:
- Don’t block the crosswalk when stopped at a red light or waiting to make a turn. This can force pedestrians to go around you, which could put them in the path of moving traffic.
- In a school zone when flashers are blinking, stop and yield to pedestrians crossing the crosswalk or intersection.
- Always stop for a school patrol officer or crossing guard holding up a stop sign.
- Take extra care to look out for children in school zones, near playgrounds and parks, and in all residential areas.
- Don’t honk or rev your engine to scare a pedestrian, even if you have the right of way.
- Never pass a vehicle stopped for pedestrians.
- Always use extreme caution to avoid striking pedestrians wherever they may be, no matter who has the right of way. (Remember: small children do not understand the rules of the road. They will not always know who has the right of way.)
- The area 10 feet around a school bus is the most dangerous for children. Stop far enough back to allow them space to safely enter and exit the bus.
- Be alert! Children often are unpredictable. They tend to ignore hazards and take risks.
The Council also has recommendations for how to safely share the road with bicycle riders:
- When passing a bicyclist, proceed in the same direction slowly. Leave three feet between your car and the cyclist.
- When turning left and a bicyclist is approaching in the opposite direction, wait for the rider to pass.
- If you’re turning right and a bicyclist is approaching from behind on the right, let the rider go through the intersection first. Always use your turn signals.
- Watch for bike riders turning in front of you without looking or signaling. (Children especially have a tendency to do this.)
- Be extra vigilant in school zones and residential neighborhoods.
- Watch for bikes coming from driveways or behind parked cars.
- Check side mirrors before opening your door.
Drivers must work extra hard to stay safe in school zones. Children are more vulnerable than most, and the law expects drivers to use reasonable caution to react to heavy school zone traffic. Drivers must also be prepared to react to unpredictable movements of children who do not understand the rules of the road. Negligent drivers who fail to do so are legally obligated to compensate a child for all the damages he or she sustains in a school zone accident. This includes all medical bills and projected future medical expenses. It can include compensation for permanent disfigurement, whether it is small (like a scar) or large (like an amputation). Expenses related to the accident can also be compensated. If, for example, your child misses a significant amount of school, you might need a tutor to help your child keep up with his or her class.
The largest component of most personal injury awards is pain and suffering. This can be hard to prove with a child victim. Children do not always understand pain and injuries, and they might not have the vocabulary to thoroughly describe their discomfort. Insurance companies will sometimes use this circumstance as an excuse to reduce the amount of compensation they offer for pain and suffering. It is important to be represented by an experienced Los Angeles car accident attorney who understands how to represent child victims.
Experienced, Aggressive Personal Injury Attorneys to Protect Your Family’s Legal Rights
If your child has been injured in an accident, don’t fight the insurance company alone. Let an experienced personal injury attorney fight for the compensation your child is legally entitled to. Call Deldar Legal at (844) 335-3271 or contact us online. Our experienced personal injury lawyers handle auto accident cases out of Riverside, Los Angeles, and San Jose. We fight hard to protect a child’s right to compensation for injuries sustained in a bus, bicycle, or pedestrian accidents. We have helped many California families protect their legal rights, and we can help your family, too.