A 9-year-old boy was killed while riding his bicycle at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Lodge in April. The boy was killed after the bicycle he was riding struck the left side of a passing Disney bus near the campground. Although wearing a helmet, he died instantly when he was run over by the rear tire of the bus.
The bicycle, a Mongoose “Outer Limit” dirt bike, was in an “unsafe condition,” according a report by the Florida Highway Patrol which investigated the accident. According to the report, the bike’s front tire was under-inflated and the rear tire had “no measurable air pressure,” the report states.
The Disney bus driver, who was not charged with any traffic citations, claimed he saw the boy operating his bicycle normally just before the impact.
This tragic case highlights the importance of total bike safety. Not only should young children wear helmets, but parents also need to vigilant as to other factors such as the operating condition of the bicycle and driver visibility. Tires should be checked (preferably with a tire gauge) before riding and if they are low, they need to be inflated. Brakes as well as other bicycle components should be examined periodically. Lastly, the bicycle’s reflectors and lights should be operational so that they are visible in low light. Every little bit helps — the child’s clothing should be bright enough not to blend in with the roadside.
While we will probably never know what the precise cause was for this horrible accident, a young child riding a bicycle on the road is always exposed to traffic. We must always try to stay one step ahead.
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