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Elementary Schools Celebrate National Bike Month
May 22, 2012
A dozen local elementary schools in Solano County are participating in National Bike Month in May with bicycle rodeos, "walk and roll" events and bike helmet safety assemblies.
School staff, students, parents and volunteers are supporting bicycle safety rodeos organized by Solano County Health and Social Services, Public Health, Health Promotion and Community Wellness staff.
Students are encouraged to ride their bikes to school and participate in after-school bike rodeos where they will pedal along monitored bicycle courses that test their skills and teach safety lessons. Besides learning cycling safety, students will have their helmets checked for proper fit and their bikes inspected for hazards such as worn brakes and wobbly seats.
National Bike Month encourages healthier communities by promoting physical activity. The process of creating safe ways for children to walk and bike to school requires participation by families, schools and communities. The benefits include reduced traffic congestion, less air pollution and healthier children who are knowledgeable about traffic safety rules.
“Coordination between schools and parent volunteers is important to the success of the bicycle safety program,” said Tracy Nachand, Health Education Specialist with Solano Public Health. “Without parent and community volunteers we would not be able to offer these rodeos. We provide the training and tools to organize parents and children into “walking and biking school buses” so students travel safely in groups supervised by caregivers.”
The bike and helmet safety program is vital because Solano County ranks high in the numbers of youth under 15 years old and adults injured in walking or bicycling collisions with vehicles.
Initial surveys of seven schools showed that very few students rode bicycles and even fewer wore safety helmets with correctly buckled chin straps.
Solano Public Health Division is working with elementary schools throughout the county, providing assemblies and bike rodeos and organizing walking and bicycling “school buses.” During the summer, Solano Public Health staff will continue efforts to organize “walk-and-roll buses” for the beginning of the school year and promote the bicycle safety program that includes a drivers' awareness campaign.
To learn more about the bicycle safety and helmets, or volunteer at bicycle rodeos contact Nachand at (707) 553-KKID or visit the Solano County website: http://www.solanocounty.com/depts/ph/hpe/default.asp and click on Programs, then, Safe Routes to School or Bicycle Helmet Safety.
Solano County Health and Social Services is funded by a grant from the Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to provide bicycle safety programs, encourage proper helmet use and enforcement of the helmet law through local police departments.