Over a month ago the Be Well Barton County team I have been working with brought flyers promoting the Bike or Walk to School day event on May 7th. In order to get the word out it seemed fitting that I should include a bicycle safety message and do it in person. Contacts were made with each elementary school principal and the dates were set. John and I arrived at each school on our tandem bike that we literally ride everywhere.
During our short presentation I reviewed important hand signals that bicyclists should use to let traffic know where you are heading. We talked about riding with traffic, paying attention to the traffic signals and stop signs, and walking your bike across a busy street. I also talked about the importance of wearing a properly fitted bicycle helmet when you are riding a bike. The generosity of the Optimists, Rhonda Knudson Agency, Golden Belt Bicycle, the Barton County Health Department and Wal-Mart helped our project out and we took two helmets to each school in Barton County to be given away. We also reminded the kids to wear brightly colored clothing so they are more visible when riding their bikes.
We did have to reschedule our visit to Lincoln elementary last week. You see on our first attempt we had a large dog jump over a chain link fence, chasing us for half a block before getting in front of our wheel and putting us down. It seemed ironic to call the school and say, “We need to reschedule our bike safety visit because we have had an accident.” The fall is a reminder of how careful we must be and how quickly an accident can happen.
The bruises are healing and our check up of the school bicycle racks on May 7th showed 100+ kids rode their bikes to school Wednesday. Several principals indicated a higher than average number of students walked to school that day as well. This is a positive start to a program I would like to see repeated until walking or biking to school becomes a healthy habit.
Donna Krug is the Family & Consumer Science Agent with K-State Research and Extension – Barton County. You may reach her at (620)793-1910 or email@example.com