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National Center for Safe Routes to School Holds First-ever National Bike to School Day to Promote Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety
Safe Kids President Kate Carr and NHTSA Administrator David Strickland Join Students from 12 Capitol Schools In Lincoln Park for Event’s Official Launch
Washington, D.C. – Safe Kids Worldwide President and CEO Kate Carr joined representatives from the National Center for Safe Routes to School, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Administrator David Strickland and D.C. school children from 12 Capitol Hill schools at Lincoln Park today to raise awareness about bicycling and walking safety during the inaugural National Bike to School Day.
The first-ever event, which takes place during National Bike Safety Month, was organized by the District Department of Transportation and supported by the National Center for Safe Routes to School, the Capitol Hill Public Schools Parent Organization, Safe Kids and Bell Sports. More than 100 elementary and middle school children from 12 Capitol Hill schools participated at the event in Washington, D.C. while thousands more students took part in 700 similar events in 49 states across the country.
"More children ages 5 to 14 are seen in emergency departments for injuries related to biking than any other sport," said Kate Carr, President and CEO of Safe Kids Worldwide. "Bike to School Day is the perfect opportunity for community members, parents and students to come together to have fun while learning how to keep kids safe."
Safe Kids, with support from long-time sponsor Bell Sports, held an on-site helmet fitting station to educate students and parents on the correct way to wear a helmet. In Washington, D.C., children under age 16 are required by law to wear a helmet at all times while riding a bicycle. Participants also received "National Bike to School Day Pioneer" medals, and learned about additional measures for staying safe before hopping on their bikes and heading to school.
"Each year, an average of 127 children ages 14 and under die from bicycle-related injuries and more than 254,000 nonfatal bicycle injuries occur," said Carr. "Helmets can reduce the risk of severe brain injuries by 88 percent; however, many children simply don't wear them. We have a simple saying, 'Use your head. Wear a helmet.'"
"Only 15 to 25 percent of children 14 and under usually wear a bicycle helmet," said Bell Sports Vice President Candi Whitsel. "Bike to School Day is a great way to show kids that it's important to stay active but it's also important to wear a helmet."
Safe Kids also reminds parents and caregivers to:
- Make sure the helmet fits and your kids know how to use it correctly, every time. A helmet should sit on top of the head in a level position, and should not rock forward and backward or side to side. The helmet straps must always be buckled. Safe Kids recommends kids take the Helmet Fit Test.
- EYES: Put the helmet on your child's head and have him/her look up. Your child should see the bottom rim of the helmet.
- EARS: Make sure the straps form a "V" under your child's ears when buckled. The strap should be a little tight but comfortable.
- MOUTH: Have your child open his/her mouth as wide as possible. Does the helmet hug his/her head? If not, tighten the straps.
- Make sure the bike is the right size for your child. For a bike, a child should be able to sit on the seat and touch both feet to the ground. As the child develops more confidence, the seat can be raised so that he or she can just touch the toes of both feet and only one foot to the ground.
- Make sure the bike is in good repair. It's important to make sure reflectors are secure, brakes work properly, gears shift smoothly, and tires are tightly secured and properly inflated before each ride.
- Remember, bike helmets should only be worn for biking and for other sports like skateboarding and rollerblading. Kids should not wear bike helmets on the playground (where the straps can get caught on equipment and cause injury) or for activities that require specialized helmets (such as skiing or football).
- Model and teach proper bicyclist behavior. Ride on the right side of the road, with traffic, not against it. Stay as far to the right as possible. Use appropriate hand signals and respect traffic signals, stopping at all stop signs and stop lights. Children should only ride or skate in good weather and during the day. They should stay on sidewalk paths – not roads – until age 10.]
- When in doubt, get help. The sales staff at any bicycle shop or outdoor recreation store should be able to provide expert advice on fitting and adjusting bikes and helmets.
About Safe Kids Worldwide
Safe Kids Worldwide is a global network of organizations dedicated to providing parents and caregivers proven and practical resources to protect kids from unintentional injuries, the number 1 cause of death to children ages 1 to 14 in the United States. Throughout the world, almost a million children die of an injury each year, and every one of these tragedies is preventable. Through innovative research, education and advocacy, Safe Kids works with an extensive network of more than 600 coalitions and chapters in the U.S. and in 22 countries to reduce traffic injuries, falls, burns, poisonings, drownings and more. Since 1988, Safe Kids has helped reduce the U.S. childhood death rate from unintentional injury by 53 percent. But we have much to do. Join our effort at www.safekids.org.
About Easton-Bell Sports, Inc.
Easton-Bell Sports, Inc. is a leading designer, developer and marketer of innovative sports equipment, protective products and related accessories. The Company markets and licenses products under such well-known brands as Easton, Bell, Riddell and Giro. Its products incorporate leading technology and designs and are used by professional athletes and enthusiasts alike. Headquartered in Van Nuys, California, Easton-Bell Sports has 29 facilities worldwide. More information is available at www.eastonbellsports.com.