ROCKPORT, Maine –Â Bicycling is the most popular outdoor activity for American kids (Outdoor Foundation). In 2009 alone, nearly 30 percent of all U.S. children aged 6 to 17 rode a bicycle â€” nearly 15 million individuals.
A growing number of parents recognize the incredible potential of bicycles as a fun and fit present for their children. In fact, nearly 20 million bicycles were purchased in the U.S. in 2010, with a large number sold in December alone. But, with so many kids out pedaling, parents need to know how to keep their kids safe. For safe cycling, the Knox County Community Health Coalition and the Bike Coalition of Maine recommends:
â€¢ Review of safer routes in your neighborhood including back streets and trails.
â€¢ Wearing brighter colors, a properly fitted helmet, and avoiding loose clothing (loose shoe laces, pant cuffs or pack straps) are also important for safety.
â€¢ Utilize bike rodeos such as Kiwanis events held each every spring and support Bicycle Pedestrian Safety Education offered in our schools.
â€¢ Kids and parents review key biking rules such as always riding with traffic, stopping at stop signs, and signaling and looking before making turns
Another important step parents can take to keep their kids safe is to contact Senator Collins and Snowe as well as Representative Pingree and urge them to support continued dedicated funding for biking and walking. Congress is working on the next federal transportation bill which supports programs, like Safe Routes to School and Transportation Enhancements â€” programs that fund sidewalks, crosswalks, bike paths, safety education programs and more.
The Camden Rockport Bicycle Pedestrian Committee and the the Rockland Trial Committee are examples of local groups who have utilized this funding. Local towns have also made use of this federal funding. All continue to look for opportunities to expand walking and cycling in the Midcoast.
Biking and walking make up 12 percent of all trips in the U.S. and 14 percent of all roadway fatalities â€” but biking and walking only get 1.6 percent of federal transportation dollars. Dedicated funding for bicycle and pedestrian projects â€“less than two cents of every dollar-is a time-tested, popular, and effective approach to improving public health and safety, and addressing the epidemic of obesity that costs the U.S. more than $215 billion in lost productivity and health care costs every year (Brookings Institution). By continuing the modest, cost-effective spending on biking and walking, our elected officials can ensure that children on bicycles and walking will have safe, accessible streets and roads and sidewalks.
Parents interested in getting involved in the effort to make biking and walking safe and comfortable in Knox County, can find more information by calling John Sommo at 236-6313×3.
Contact Name: John Sommo
Telephone Number: (207)236-6313