HURRICANE — A child riding a bicycle was injured after being struck by a vehicle near Hurricane Intermediate School early Wednesday morning after a driver failed to check for traffic before pulling out onto the street.
Shortly before 8 a.m., officers and emergency personnel were dispatched to 1325 S. 700 West on an incident involving a child that was struck by a vehicle.
Officers arrived to find the bicycle under a white Chevrolet Suburban and the child nearby with minor injuries, including scrapes, abrasions and a small cut on her head. When the ambulance arrived, EMTs checked the child, but she was ultimately transported to the hospital by a family member.
“The child didn’t suffer any life-threatening injuries and was not transported by ambulance — thankfully,” Hurricane Police Officer Ken Thompson told St. George News.
According to a witness, the child’s jacket was torn and appeared to have been pulled when it possibly caught on something when the incident took place.
At the time of the incident, the Chevrolet driver was pulling out of the school parking lot to turn right on South 700 West heading east.
“She looked left to see if there were cars coming,” Thompson said of the driver, “but failed to look to the right to see if there were any pedestrians before she pulled out onto the street.”
The child riding a bicycle was struck by the vehicle as it pulled out of the parking lot, causing the bike to become wedged underneath the SUV.
The driver immediately called 911 to report the collision while a school resource officer who witnessed the incident ran over to assist.
The bicycle that became wedged under the SUV during the incident was extensively damaged, and once it was pulled from underneath the vehicle, it was handed over to one of the child’s parents. The SUV sustained minimal damage and remained operational.
Children’s underdeveloped perceptual abilities and child pedestrian safety
According to the Centers for Disease Control, 1 in every 5 children under the age of 15 who were killed in traffic crashes in 2016 were pedestrians.
Another recent study revealed that being struck by a car is the third leading cause of death for children 5 to 9 years old, and kids up to age 15 make up a “disproportionate number of pedestrian casualties worldwide.”
Several factors come into play in these types of incidents, and experts say that one contributing factor is that children are easily distracted and don’t always pay attention. They are also smaller, making them more likely to sustain fatal injuries when they are hit.
Additionally, a recent study showed that a child’s ability to detect an automobile’s approach requires perceptual abilities and calculations that are underdeveloped in children. Research also showed the faster the car is moving, the less likely the child will see it.
The study showed that kids are three times as likely to get hit by a car going 25 mph or faster. Not only do speedy drivers need more reaction time, but it appears that young pedestrians simply can’t see the cars coming in the first place.
Along these lines, Thompson provided recommendations to St. George News that he said are not specifically related to Wednesday’s incident but are meant to increase child safety when walking or riding their bikes.
With school in session and the sun rising later each day, it is important to watch for children making their way to school.
“Watch for kids in the crosswalk, and especially watch for them outside of the crosswalk,” he said.
Children don’t always use the crosswalks, he said, which is why it is so important to be cautious and always aware of foot traffic, particularly traffic created by smaller feet.
For parents, Thompson said with the darker mornings, he recommends using a high-visibility reflective tape or other decals that can be affixed to the child’s clothing, backpacks, shoes or bicycle, which will increase their visibility and make it easier for motorists to see them as they make their way to school.
He also recommend installing a light on the child’s bicycle.
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