The state law of Georgia requires that all bicycle riders under age 16 wear a helmet. The helmet used must meet the American National Standards Institute standards. Helmets sold at reputable bicycle shops will typically meet these standards, but helmets meeting standards will also be labeled clearly.
A helmet reduces the risk of head injuries by 45% if used correctly. It is not enough to simply grab a helmet off the shelf, though. The helmet must fit properly in order to most effectively reduce the risk of head injury. Safe Kids Georgia offers tips on helmet fitting and general bicycle safety for kids.
Protecting Your Child
The best course of action is, of course, to prevent accidents and injuries to begin with. Requiring everyone in your family to use a helmet when riding bicycles will help to prevent head injuries, even in case of an accident. Additionally, requiring children to ride their bikes on the sidewalk or in designated bike lanes can help to protect them. Modeling safe riding practices such as cycling with traffic and using clear hand signals can also encourage children to behave responsibly.
Finally, ensure that your child is wearing light colored, reflective clothing and has a bicycle outfitted with the required reflectors and lights, even if cycling in the daylight.
Convincing children and teens to wear helmets can be difficult and frustrating, but it is absolutely necessary. In fact, it is against the law to allow your child under the age of 16 to ride without a helmet. If you knowingly allow your child to ride his or her bicycle without a helmet, you could be charged with a crime. However, this charge would not apply if the child made the decision to remove the helmet after leaving your supervision.
No matter how careful you are, accidents do happen, particularly in situations in which your child must share the road with motor vehicles. If your child is in an accident while riding his or her bicycle, liability will depend on a few factors. You will want to know:
Georgia uses modified comparative negligence, which means that you cannot collect damages if you are 50% or more at fault for the accident. For example, if you allowed your child to ride without a helmet or other protective gear in the middle of the street, it is unlikely that you will be able to collect any damages related to head injuries unless a driver was acting extremely recklessly. This is because your decisions already placed the child at risk.
Contact an Attorney
If your child has been injured while riding his or her bicycle, contact the attorneys at Jonathan R. Brockman, a Personal Injury Law Firm today. Whether or not your child was wearing a helmet, we can assist you in recovering damages.