Child missjudges dangerous situation

May 2019

Examples of accidents & crash tests

Mistake due to young age

Sequence of events:
Three children on bicycles were crossing a tree-lined rural road to get to the bicycle path on the opposite side. Another 5-year-old boy also wanted to cross the road. The boy detected the car coming from the right when he reached the lane in which it was traveling. He tried to push the bicycle back and the handlebar got twisted. A collision occurred with the car.

Persons involved in the accident:
Driver of a car and a boy pushing his bicycle

Consequences/injuries:
The child suffered serious injuries from the accident and died in the hospital later.

Cause/problem:
The accident site is in a tree-lined area. Due to the dense and closed canopy of trees, there was alternating light and shadow. As a result, the driver’s vision was seriously impaired. Under these conditions, people wearing low contrasting clothes are difficult to detect. Although the child detected the danger of the approaching car, he made the wrong decision because of his age. Instead of walking the short distance to the right side of the road, he turned around. In the rush, the bicycle handlebar got twisted, delaying the child’s flight reflex even more.

Avoidance measures, mitigation of consequences / strategy for road safety measures:
Due to the difficult light/dark visual limitations, the driver could not prevent the accident. A non-video based automated emergency braking system with pedestrian or cyclist detection would probably have prevented this accident.

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