One teen was killed and another seriously injured recently in Waldoboro, after a box truck struck the pair as they were stopped in the southbound lane speaking to some pedestrians.
According to authorities, the refrigerated lobster truck struck the back of the bicycle ridden by the 15-year-old, who was thrown from the bike, landing on the shoulder. His bicycle then struck his 14-year-old friend, who suffered a leg injury. The older boy was flown by helicopter to a nearby trauma hospital, but later died of severe head injuries. The 24-year-old driver of the truck insisted he did not see the boys until it was too late to stop.
While the investigation is ongoing, our Bangor bicycle accident lawyers hope this tragedy will spark an ongoing discussion between parents and children regarding safe bicycle riding practices. The lesson will be especially important as the school year begins, with many children in early fall choosing to ride their bicycles to school.
Riding in the darker, early morning rush hour poses special hazards, though some teens are likely mature enough to do so – if they learn how to follow the rules of the road and operate a bicycle safety in traffic.
This is critical because, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Association’s 2013 report, the number of fatal bicycle accidents nationwide has been on an upward trend. In 2011, nearly 700 bicyclists were killed and another 48,000 injured in motor vehicle traffic crashes. These figures represented a nearly 10 percent increase from the previous year.
While Maine has historically had a relatively low number of bicycle fatalities, mostly due to the general lack of ridership during colder months, that is fast changing. The Bicycle Coalition of Maine hosts riding events well into the fall, including rides intended to promote safe bicycle travel routes to and from schools.
Just last month, an 11-year-old boy was airlifted to a trauma hospital in Portland with serious injuries after he was struck by a pickup truck while riding his bicycle. The sixth-grader was traveling downhill on his bicycle with a friend. Witnesses say the boy’s bicycle brakes appeared to not be working, and he was unable to stop as he barreled toward the intersection and into the path of the ruck. The boy’s mother later told reporters he was expected to survive.
Young riders especially must be equipped with the proper gear, functional equipment and a working knowledge of what they should wear and how they should behave on the roadway.
Maine’s Department of Transportation offers the following tips to promote child bicycle safety:
- Wear a properly-fitted helmet.
- Make sure the bicycle is adjusted to the child’s fit, with 1 to 2 inches between the rider and the top tube for road bikes.
- Before riding, make sure the brakes work and the tires are properly inflated.
- No matter whether it’s daytime, dusk, dawn, nighttime or inclement weather, one must make sure they are properly seen. Wearing bright, neon or fluorescent colors and reflective lights, tape or markings can be invaluable.
- Always keep at least one hand on the handlebars, with other items such as books, in a backpack or bicycle carrier.
- Avoid riding in the dark, if at all possible. It’s always harder for drivers to see cyclists at night.
- Be predictable. Ride in a straight line and signal your moves to others.
- Always remain alert. That means not only watching for hazards, but listening too. Avoid wearing headphones when riding.
If you have been injured in a bicycle accident, contact Peter Thompson & Associates at 1-800-804-2004 for a confidential consultation to discuss your rights.
Teen dead after truck-bicycle accident over weekend, Aug. 4, 2014, Associated Press
More Blog Entries:
Bangor Injury Lawyers Must Often Fight for Uninsured Motorist Coverage, July 17, 2014, Portland Bicycle Accident Lawyer Blog