With the rising temperatures of summer quickly approaching, many of us are eager to get outside and get active this season. To take advantage of the summer sun and enjoy the fresh air, there are many fun recreational activities happening in our communities that we are able to get involved in; however, we often forget to consider that many recreational activities can come with a risk. Some of these activities include bicycling, boating, scuba diving, going to amusement parks, and attending concerts. In order to make the best choices and take the proper precautions, it is vital to know the most important summer safety tips during your summer of fun!
According to the CDC’s Transportation Safety Department, “Bicycle trips account for only 1% of all trips in the United States. However, bicyclists face a higher risk of crash related injury and deaths than occupants in motor vehicles.” Alone, bicycling may feel like a simple, harmless outdoor activity that is safe for people of all ages with little to no risk, but there are various risk factors involved based upon the demographic. For example, the population most susceptible to death during or after a bicycle accident are adults between the ages of 50 and 59. Along with this, men are 6 times more likely to die from bicycle accidents than women. Among deaths that occur from bicycling accidents, “37% had alcohol involvement either for the motor vehicle driver or bicycle rider”.
Adults are not the only ones who like to get out and go biking, as children find this outdoor activity fun and engaging as well. Unlike adults, children and teens between the ages of 5 and 19 “have the highest rates of nonfatal bicycle-related injuries”. Although children are statistically at a reduced risk of death due to a bicycling accident, they are still at risk of injury while biking.
Biking Safety Measures
To prevent your chances of being involved in a bicycling incident, the precautions and safety measures put into place by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration can help reduce the number of fatal and nonfatal bicycle related injuries. Some of the safety tips listed on their website are as follows:
- Put on a helmet that fits YOU
- Every bike ride begins with putting on a helmet. But it is equally important that you ensure a proper fit so your helmet can best protect you
- Be prepared before heading out
- Ride a bike that fits YOU
- Wear your protective gear
- Ride defensively (focused and alert)
- Drive with the flow, in the same direction as traffic.
- Obey street signs, signals, and road markings, just like a car.
- Assume the other person does not see you; look ahead for hazards or situations that may cause you to fall, such as rocks, potholes, grates, and train tracks.
What better way to celebrate summer than setting sail on your favorite boat or watercraft? This aquatic recreational activity is fun for the whole family, but it can become quite the hazard if proper precautions are not put in place.
According to the United States Coast Guard, there were a total of 4,168 boating accidents reported in 2019. There are several risks involved that need to be accounted for when out on the water. Common causes or aspects of boating accidents, both fatal and nonfatal, include the following:
- Driving under the influence
- Distracted driving
- Equipment failure
In order to ensure your safety, as well as the safety of other boaters and passengers, it is important that:
- A proper inspection be made to the watercraft on a regular basis,
- The driver or operator is made aware and educated on safety instructions and protocols,
- An accurate stock is taken of any alcohol involved or consumed on the watercraft,
- The operator is aware of any obstructions in the waterway.
Leading Causes of Boating Deaths
The vast majority of boating accidents involve alcohol. “Alcohol use is the leading known contributing factor in fatal boating accidents; where the primary cause was known, it was listed as the leading factor in 23% of deaths”. Fatalities can include severe personal injury and even death. According to the American Boating Association’s report from 2019, “Where cause of death was known, 79% of fatal boating accident victims drowned. Of those drowning victims with reported life jacket usage, 86% were not wearing a lifejacket.” Wearing a lifejacket while boating or using a personal watercraft can lessen the chance of serious injury or death when involved in an accident.
One of the most important aspects of boating and watercraft safety is the operator of the vessel themself. The operator possessing the proper safety training, along with paying careful attention to the water, is very important to ensure their own safety and passenger safety. Negligence from an operator or lack of proper safety protocol training can have fatal consequences if an accident is to occur. The top 5 primary contributing factors in accidents are:
- Operator inattention,
- Improper lookout,
- Operator inexperience,
- Excessive speed,
- Alcohol use
Where instruction was known, 70% of deaths occurred on boats where the operator did not receive boating safety instruction. Only “20% percent of deaths occurred on vessels where the operator had received a nationally-approved boating safety education certificate” (American Boating Association). According to the United States Coast Guard’s reports from 2019, in reports where length of the vessel was known and indicated, the data showed that 8 of every 10 boaters drowned when involved in an accident while using a vessel or watercraft that was less than 21 feet in length.
Boating Safety Tips
Boating and the use of watercrafts is an extremely fun way to enjoy the summer weather, but it can become a very daunting experience if the proper precautions are not considered. In order to prevent injury this summer while out on the water, some of these tips and protocols provided by our attorneys at Monsees & Mayer can help you to have a fun and safer experience while on a boat or watercraft:
- Take a boating safety course
- Know the navigation rules
- Wear a life jacket
- Watch out for obstacles
- NEVER boat under the influence
- Be aware of passenger safety
- Be aware of the weather
Another exciting summer activity is scuba diving! Our own Tim Monsees loves to dive into the beautiful waters of the ocean and discover the abundant sea life of his diving spots each year. This adventurous sport definitely comes with risks if the diver is not educated on staying safe and cautious while underwater. Diving can become a fatal recreational activity in various ways – some of which you may not have considered. Some of the most common contributing factors to diver fatalities and injuries are:
- Poor overall diver health
- Procedural errors
- Environmental issues
- Defective equipment
- Unsafe water conditions or visibility
- Improperly filled or maintained tanks
- Nitrogen narcosis
- Dive boat errors
These contributing factors can result in debilitating or even fatal injuries, such as disability, brain injury, air embolism, lung expansion injury, paralysis, loss of limbs, scarring, and death. Incidents such as these can be avoided through the proper training, safety education, diving practices, and instruction.
Tips To Avoid Diving Accidents
According to the Divers Alert Network (DAN), here are seven tips to avoid diving accidents:
- Dive within the limits of your training
- Get the right gear
- Take a refresher course
- Get rescue certified
- Practice safety skills
- Work with your physician to maintain the best medical condition for diving
- Stay within your personal safety envelope
These safety tips are provided to help divers get back into the water with the necessary education and consideration. Along with the tips provided, the best sources of information for industry standards and expectations for properly trained and staffed scuba diving operations will come from one of the major scuba diving organizations, such as the Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI), National Association of Underwater Instructors (NAUI), and Scuba Schools International (SSI).
One of the most exciting group activities for the summertime is to take a trip to an amusement park — a place you can have fun with the whole family! Here in Kansas City, people love to experience the summer at Worlds of Fun and Oceans of Fun. Just southeast of here, Silver Dollar City in Branson is a beloved destination for thrill-seekers, and over in St. Louis, Six Flags is a wildly popular place to visit! In almost every corner of Missouri, there are amusement parks with a multitude of attractions and recreational fun.
From rollercoasters to water rides, carousels, and slip-and-slides, there are many opportunities for fun…and unfortunately, for injury. This summer is the best time to learn how to have fun AND stay safe on our vacations and stay-cations right here in Missouri.
When at an amusement park, it is important to know the potential causes of injury you may encounter. According to NOLO Legal Encyclopedia, the most common causes of injury at amusement parks are:
- Mechanical failure of the ride
- Improper operation of the ride
- Passenger misuse
- Failure to follow instructions
- Even the inherent nature of the ride
This set of causes is often debated depending on the agency who set the regulations and safety standards for the rides and attractions. “Government regulation of an amusement park ride depends on whether the ride is categorized as fixed-site or mobile.”
Fixed-site rides are permanent fixtures that do not travel from one location to another. Examples include the rides at Disneyland and Six Flags.
Mobile rides travel from site to site, such as those you find at county fairs and carnivals.
The CPSC regulates mobile amusement park rides. However, the CPSC has no authority to regulate fixed-site rides. This exclusion from regulation is extremely important to know and it is commonly referred to as the ‘Roller Coaster Loophole.’ Some states (approximately 28) regulate and conduct safety inspections of fixed-site rides. The remaining states rely on insurance companies or third-party inspectors to check on amusement park safety and compliance with state and local regulations. This is why it is best to contact an attorney to review your claims for personal injury to determine the best course of action for your case.
Amusement Park Injury Risks
In order to be aware of the risks and potential injuries while visiting an amusement park, NOLO lists some common injuries that result from amusement park accidents:
- head, neck, and back injuries from bumper car rides or from being whipped around on spinning rides and roller coasters
- death as a result of falling or being thrown from a ride
- stroke from trauma to ligaments in the neck
- traumatic brain injury from G-forces and stresses imposed on the brain by extremely rapid speeds or from detached objects hitting the rider’s head
- brain aneurysms from roller coasters or other fast rides
- lacerations, broken bones, and torn ligaments, and
- drowning on water slides, “lazy river” rides, or other water rides.
In order to keep you and your family safe this summer, it is important to be aware of any preexisting medical conditions that may be triggered or worsen depending on the type of ride or attraction you would like to participate in.
Click HERE for a great infographic demonstrating amusement park fatalities over the past 10 years.
There are many fun events and activities to participate in this summer. There are quite a few safety tips, precautions, and facts to know about being active during the summer, but “the more you know” is the safest way to go!
Injured in a Recreation Activity
Every accident is different. Only some recreational accidents form the basis for a personal injury case. Our firm’s personal injury attorneys can help you understand your rights and options. Contact us today for a free case evaluation.