For most children in California and across the country, learning to ride a bicycle is a rite of passage. However, riding a bicycle could place children at risk of bicycle accidents. Because children can be expected to behave unexpectedly, drivers are often held to a higher standard in accidents involving young people.
Drivers are always expected to "exercise reasonable care." However, the care that a driver is expected to demonstrate when there are children in the area -- or it is likely that there are children in the area -- is higher. For example, it can be expected that there will be children near parks, schools, school bus stops and in residential neighborhoods. Because of their young age, drivers should consider the possibility that a young child might run across the street or became frightened by an approaching vehicle.
On the other hand, children are held to a lower standard of responsibility, or carefulness, when riding bicycles. These conditions do not, however, mean that a driver involved in an accident is automatically liable. But an accident involving a child cyclist and adult driver may necessitate additional scrutiny.
For most parents, knowing that their child suffered injuries in a car accident is devastating. Often, the child will need extensive medical interventions as a result. In many cases, a child may never be able to fully recover from his or her injuries. Because parents may also be required to miss work if a child is injured in such an accident, the family may face a precarious financial situation. As such, they may choose to consult with an attorney in California who has experience with cases involving bicycle accidents.