Safe Kids Pima County and Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild joined students, parents and teachers at Whitmore Elementary Wednesday morning to raise awareness about bike safety, particularly since more children ages 5 to 14 are seen in emergency rooms for injuries related to biking than any other sport.
The Mayor joined Safe Kids Pima County, founded in 2006 and led by Tucson Medical Center, in fitting more than 50 students with free bicycle helmets at Fort Lowell Park. Tucson police officers escorted the children and parents as they rode their bikes to school.
“You want to be safe, right?” the Mayor asked the crowd. “Then always ride with a bike helmet and always look both ways before you cross,” he advised.
Jessica Mitchell, Safe Kids coordinator, said too many children still don’t wear helmets. “By giving each child his or her own properly-fitted helmet, along with life-saving education, our hope is that we can help build bicycle safety habits from a young age.’”
Tucson was one of hundreds of communities across the United States where Bike to School Day was celebrated as part of National Bike Month. Other Safe Kids members include Tucson Police Department, Drexel Heights Fire, LifeNet, DeMont Swim School and Pima County Health Department.
Other safety tips to consider:
- Tell your children to 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. Stop at all stop signs and stoplights.
- Teach your children to make eye contact with drivers before they cross the street to make sure drivers are paying attention and are going to stop.
- When your children are riding at dusk or dawn, make sure they use lights – and make sure their bikes have reflectors as well. It’s also smart to have them wear clothes and accessories that have retro-reflective materials to improve visibility to motorists.
- Actively supervise children until you’re comfortable that they are responsible enough to ride on their own.
For more information, visit www.safekids.org