In New Mexico, and other jurisdictions throughout the country, children are often the victims of collisions between vehicles and bicycles. This is the case because children and their bikes tend to be small relative to the roads that they ride on, and can easily be lost in the mirrors and blind spots of the drivers who encounter them. Children also generally do not have the same capacity for risk aversion as adults, and as such, may inadvertently put themselves in dangerous positons when they are out enjoying bicycle rides.
Since, by their nature, children tend to be less careful than adults, the standard that they are held to in bicycle accident cases tends to be lower than that applied to adults. While adult bicycle accident victims are expected to act reasonably, very young children are often considered incapable of exercising care and avoiding dangerous situations. Known as the “tender years” doctrine, very young kids rarely are found to have contributed to their own harm in bicycle accident cases.
Older children may still be found to be too juvenile to be responsible for their own actions. Individuals with case-specific questions about children’s potential liability in bicycle accidents may wish to consult with personal injury lawyers in their communities. Additionally, individuals who cause accidents between their vehicles and children on bicycles can be held to higher standards than other drivers as they should exercise heightened caution when in the presence of children.
In some cases, adult victims of bicycle accidents can see their damages reduced due to their own contributory or comparative negligence. While this is generally not the case for child victims, readers of this post are encouraged to seek out specific answers to their personal legal questions as this blog offers only information and not legal advice.