Bicycles, Minors, and Major concerns
Abrams Landau lawyer Doug Landau has represented many children who have been injured by negligent drivers. The Herndon Virginia Trial Lawyer notes that many bicycle accidents each year involve those under eighteen years of age. In an earlier blog, the 2006 Virginia Bicycle Crash statistics were cited; one of those 12 fatalities and 835 injuries was to a child under the age of five (https://www.dmv.virginia.gov/webdoc/safety/crash_data/crash_facts/crash_facts_06.asp).
While an experienced road cyclist or triathlete may recognize the peculiar hazards presented to bicyclists, younger riders may not have the background to know how to anticipate danger and react according to the TriathlonTrialLawyer. Landau points out that children may lack experience riding on the road, may overreact, may be easily distracted and lack appreciation of dangers on the street. Understanding that kids do not always appreciate the dangers of the road, experienced cyclist and triathlete Doug Landau counsels that drivers should treat a child riding a bike on the road just like a ball that rolls out onto the travel lanes: be hyper vigilant and expect the “unexpected.” Motorists, confronted by youthful cyclists, should use their “defensive driving” skills in order to avoid impact and injury.
In addition to the basic duties owed to bicyclists, motorists owe a heightened duty of care to children. As the Virginia Supreme Court noted in the case of Endicott v. Rich:
“Where the driver of a motor vehicle sees, or should see, a child in or near a street or highway he must exercise that degree of care not to injure [the child] that a person of ordinary prudence would exercise under similar circumstances, taking into consideration what is common knowledge- that the actions of children are erratic and unpredictable and that a child may act thoughtlessly and upon childish impulses.”
In other words, in determining the level of care that must be exercised, Herndon Virginia Trial Lawyer Doug Landau reminds us that motorists must take into account that “kids will be kids.”