Too many Sacramento kids don't wear bike helmets and drive on the narrow sidewalks, causing seniors and people with disabilities to have to walk on the extreme right or left hand area of the narrow Sacramento sidewalks, where there are sidewalks (or walk in the wet, muddy curbs) competing for space with the fast-moving bikers, which usually are young males, children, or teenagers, or aluminum-can collectors who ride on the sidewalks instead of the bike lanes.
Too many seniors are being bumped into as they make sudden moves to keep hats on during a windy day or make an unexpected turn to enter a supermarket parking lot. Only 11 percent of children involved in bike accidents wear a helmet. And too many youngsters pedaling too fast on bikes are bullying, tailgating, crashing into, or trying to play 'chicken' with frail senior pedestrians, wheelchair users, and those using walkers or canes, who are pushed to a narrow strip of sidewalk to get to the food markets and outdoor malls.
Not enough bikers are using bike lanes when there's a sidewalk, and many seniors, slow walkers, the visually impaired, and hard-of-hearing pedestrians trying to get to shopping areas are having to walk in muddy, wet curbs because there are no sidewalks. Add to that scenario tailgating youth on fast bicycles.
Kids on scooters, skateboards, and mostly bikes are not yielding to pedestrians, especially the sight and hearing impaired pedestrians and slow-moving seniors who must use the sidewalks as nondrivers needing to reach a food market. The accidents between pedestrians and bikers are on the rise. See, "Study: Bikes Hit More Pedestrians Than Previously Thought" and "Recent Pedestrian Struck Stories | abc7news.com." Most dangerous sidewalks for pedestrians competing for space on the narrow sidewalks because the bikers don't use the bike lane include Marconi Avenue, Watt Avenue, Howe Avenue, and El Camino Blvd in the Arden Arcade area of Sacramento.
Too many frail pedestrians are being squeezed off sidewalks by bikers or being hit by tailgaters
Hard-of-hearing seniors and those with impaired vision especially are victimized by the young bikers who don't realize they can't hear or see a bike tailgating them or vying for the same turnoff space to enter a supermarket parking lot. Usually the slow-walking senior is hit from behind by the tailgating biker using the sidewalk, riding right next to or in back of the senior within inches of the slow walker who usually has no idea a bike is right behind the individual. Seniors also get hit or have close-calls as biker and pedestrian move from the sidewalk to the parking lot of a supermarket or outdoor mall in the area.
Additionally, the lack of sidewalks in areas such as Arden Arcade or Carmichael make it difficult for pedestrians. One hot spot for accidents is at bus stops when seniors and people with disabilities walk out of a bus just as a biker rides by and hits or nearly smacks into the person leaving the bus to step on the sidewalk. The issue is that the biker doesn't think ahead when a bus stops and the door opens that someone is leaving the bus and is about to step to the sidewalk.
The biker doesn't slow down when a bus stops and the doors open. The pedestrian is exposed to being hit by a fast-moving bike at the moment the pedestrian steps down from the bus at the stop. It has frequently happened on the corner of Marconi Avenue and Watt Avenue with near misses as pedestrian steps on sidewalk only to experience the fear of a fast-moving bike whizzing by without stopping to let passengers depart from the bus at the stop.
Too many kids on bikes, scooters, skates, or skateboards, don't wear helmets
Only 11 percent of children involved in bike accidents wear a helmet. New education strategies are needed to reinforce the need for bike helmets, especially in low-income and minority communities and among older children
Despite a California bike helmet mandate, only 11 percent of Los Angeles County children treated for bike-related injuries were wearing a helmet, according to an abstract presented Oct. 26 at the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) National Conference and Exhibition in Orlando. Specifically, children older than age 12, and low-income and minority children were less likely to wear a bike helmet.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 33 million children ride bicycles for nearly 10 billion hours each year. Unfortunately, bicycle crashes and bicycle-related head injuries cause 150,000 emergency department visits and nearly 400 deaths each year.
In the abstract, "Race/Ethnic and Socioeconomic Disparities in the Use of Helmets in Children Involved in Bicycle Accidents," researchers reviewed the records of all pediatric patients involved in bicycle-related accidents from the Los Angeles County database between 2006 and 2011. The information included helmet use, age, gender, insurance status and race/ethnicity. Further analysis sought to determine whether helmet use was associated with the need for emergency surgery, morbidity, mortality and length of hospital stay.
There were 1,248 children involved in bicycle-related accidents in Los Angeles County. The median age of these children was 13; 64 percent were male. Overall, 11.3 percent of patients wore helmets, with some ethnic-based differences: 35.2 percent of white children wore helmets, compared to 7 percent of Asian children, 6 percent of black children, and 4 percent of Hispanic children. Researchers also observed differences based on insurance coverage, with 15.2 percent of children with private insurance coverage and 7.6 percent of children with public insurance wearing helmets at the time of injury. Children over age 12 were less likely to wear a helmet.
Overall, 5.9 percent of the injured children required emergency surgery, and 34.1 percent of the children returned to their pre-injury capacity. The mortality rate was 0.7 percent. Of the nine patients who died, eight were not wearing a helmet.
"Our study highlights the need to target minority groups, older children, and those with lower socioeconomic status when implementing bicycle safety programs in Los Angeles County," said study author Veronica F. Sullins, MD, according to the October 26, 2013 news release, "Only 11 percent of children involved in bike accidents wear a helmet."
Regional studies highlighting racial or ethnic and socioeconomic differences may help identify at-risk populations within specific communities, allowing these communities to more effectively use resources, said Dr. Sullins, according to the news release, Only 11 percent of children involved in bike accidents wear a helmet. "Children and adolescents have the highest rate of unintentional injury and therefore should be a high priority target population for injury-prevention programs," Dr. Sullins said in the news release. Also, you may wish to check out another study, "Bicycle helmet use and bicycling-related injury among young Canadians: An equity analysis."
The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 60,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults. For more information, the AAP site.