NHTSA Kicks-Off National Bike Month/Praises Youth Efforts to Promote Safe Bicycling
May 10, 2000
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, May 10, 2000
Contact: NHTSA, Cathy Hickey, (202) 366-9550
To further promote safety on the nation's roadways, Rosalyn G. Millman, the Acting Administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) today joined more than 100 youth from the Washington, D.C. area and beyond to kick-off National Bike Month. She made the announcement during Earth Force's "Get Out Spoke'n!" Youth Bicycle Summit on Capitol Hill.
In 1998, traffic crashes killed 761 bicyclists and injured an additional 53,000. Bicyclists under age 16 accounted for 30 percent of all bicyclists killed and 44 percent of those injured. Bicycle helmets are the single most effective countermeasure to death or serious injury in the event of a crash and are 85-88 percent effective in mitigating head and brain injuries. The current national average for helmet use is only 20-25 percent.
"I am thrilled that so many young people are promoting safe cycling," said NHTSA Acting Administrator Rosalyn G. Millman. "These young people will help us ensure that every rider always wears a helmet and follows the rules of the road."
According to NHTSA estimates, universal helmet use by children ages 4-15 would prevent 135 to 155 deaths annually. It is also estimated that every dollar spent on bicycle helmets for children ages 4-15 saves $3 in health care costs.
At the summit Millman praised the youth award winners from around the country (see attached list) for their contributions to improve bicycle safety and to promote bicycling as a healthy and environmentally friendly alternative to driving.
Millman also provided the following 10 safety tips:
Additional information on bicycle safety is available on NHTSA's website at www.nhtsa.dot.gov/people/injury/pedbimot/bike
Get Out Spoken! Recognition Award Winners 2000
Not Just Your Ordinary Bike-to-School Day, Colonia, New Jersey
Adele Ellis's sixth-graders at the St. John Vianney School in Colonia, New Jersey, are working to make the Township of Woodbridge a better place to bike. The students surveyed the school and found that many students and teachers lived within bicycling distance to the school. Further investigation found that the county maintained the areaman's few bike paths and that the township owned no bike paths. They contacted local officials and wrote letters to their newspapers. Thanks to their work the City Council will soon announce where the first township-owned bike path will be built. That path will bear the students' group name for their efforts. To raise more awareness they organized a bike-to-school day on May 3. They were joined that day by a state senator, who bikeed with some of the students to school and presented them with a Senate resolution for their work. The mayor, who was out of town, sent a video-taped presentation congratulating the students as well as a Proclamation that was presented by three township council members.
Erie Bike Force, Erie, Pennsylvania
Eighteen young people involved in Glinodo Earth Force in Erie, Pennsylvania, collected hundreds of surveys and assessments that indicated safety is a major concern when it comes to bicycling in the area. They have been holding events, making presentations and partnering with other local government agencies, organizations and student groups to get the word out about safe bicycling. They will also promote the issue through web pages being built and maintained for them by Go Erie, their local paper's web site. The site, which should be up and running by late spring, will have resources such as links and games that encourage safe biking.
Pedaling in Paradise, Cape Coral, Florida
When the Sanibel School realized it had a limited budget for field trips because of transportation costs, they thought bicycling would be the answer. The students had two problems to tackle before the bike field trips could begin: addressing legitimate safety concerns and providing everyone with an appropriately-sized bicycle. To make the existing, narrow paths safer, they successfully convinced city officials to widen the paths as part of construction projects on storm drains. The students have been visiting city hall this spring to gain support for two new bike paths that they have proposed where student traffic is high. Through a grant the school was able to purchase 30 bicycles, helmets, safety vests and baskets. The students created a checklist with requirements that must be met before they can bike to a field trip destination. Thanks to their work, the students of Sanibel School will be able to enjoy more natural resources their barrier island has to offer.
Get Out Spoken! Honorable Mentions 2000
Have-a-Bike, Mount Kisco, NY
Girl Scout Junior Troop 2080 of Westchester/Putnam knew outgrown bicycles were sitting unused in garages throughout the community. They launched Have-a-Bike to collect and repair the bicycles and pass them onto children who could not afford to buy a bike of their own. They collected more than 80 bicycles to date and took repair classes to fix the bikes themselves. They are working to have helmets donated to their cause. With the help of two local social service agencies, they plan to give correctly-sized bicycles, a helmet and safety information to children in need.
Rack Your Bike, Treasure Island, CA
Students at the Learning Academy, a San Francisco charter juvenile justice high school, consulted local experts and surveyed the community about bicycling issues. They found that local citizens were concerned about not having enough bike racks on the island. They are working on identifying areas where bike racks are needed and which entities could cover such costs. The students are also working to organize a bike rodeo to promote bike safety for Treasure Island Elementary School.
More Bikes for All, Sheridan, CO
The students of Sheridan Middle School surveyed other young people and found that many want to ride bikes but do not have access to them due to limited family resources. Sheridan is an economically depressed town outside of Denver. The students worked with local police departments to repair the abandoned bicycles in police possession. Students from Sheridan Middle and High Schools along with Americorp volunteers spent two weeks fixing the bikes. They received a donation of 60 bicycle helmets from St. Anthony's Hospital Trauma Services Unit. The students developed a bike safety class, which 60 Sheridan children attended. Their success was celebrated with a community bicycle ride through Sheridan and an awards ceremony.
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