According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), a total of 677 cyclists were killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes in 2011. The 14-and-younger age group accounted for 9% (59) of those fatalities.
And from SafeKids.org:
- More children ages 5 to 14 are seen in emergency rooms for injuries related to biking than any other sport.
- Helmets can reduce the risk of severe brain injuries by 88% yet only 45% of children 14 and under usually wear a bike helmet.
- Every two minutes, a child is treated in an emergency room for an unintentional cycle-related incident.
- 289,473 children ages 19 and under were seen in emergency rooms for injuries from riding bikes in 2011.
- 112 children ages 19 and under died while riding a bike in 2010.
A bicycle is a vehicle, not a toy. This is why it's so important to teach your kids bike safety as they enjoy their increased independence.
Despite the sobering statistics cited above, it's not all gloom and doom. Deaths among bicyclists younger than 16 have actually decreased by 86% since 1975. In 2008, this age group accounted for about one-seventh of all bicycle-related deaths as compared to two-thirds in 1975.
But no matter how you look at it, this is no time for complacency.
Use Your Head... Wear a Helmet!
New Jersey's Bicycle Helmet Law
Young people under the age of 17 are required to wear an approved helmet when cycling, roller skating, inline skating or skateboarding.
School or community groups interested in the police department's bike safety program are invited to contact the Support Services Unit at 973-989-7021 for further information.