The Porcupine Health Unit, in partnership with the Timmins Police, will be hosting a “Summer Bike Safety Blitz” on Wednesday, August 2, from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Lions Club Park (McIntyre Community Centre Property) opposite the McIntyre Arena in Schumacher. Children can bring their helmets to be inspected and adjusted as well as their bicycles to participate in an interactive safe cycling activity.
Head injuries continue to be the number one cause of serious injury and death for children on bicycles. “But it doesn't have to be that way!” says Valerie Genier, a Public Health Nurse with the Porcupine Health Unit. “Research shows that a properly fitted helmet can decrease the risk of serious head injury by up to 80%.” She adds that this past school year during the annual bike rodeos health unit nurses inspected 518 bike helmets, finding 471 of them to be unsafe.
According to Genier, most cycling injuries are a result of one of three factors: riding too quickly, lack of experience in controlling the bicycle and lack of protective gear. “During our bike safety events, we talk about all three so children gain the knowledge and skills they need to ride safely,” she says.
She offers the following safety tips to remember when cycling:
• Inspect your bicycle before you ride to make sure it is safe
• Obey the traffic signs and rules of the road
• Signal and look before you turn
• Always wear a properly fitted helmet
She adds that adults need to remember to lead by example and wear a helmet too. Practicing safe cycling behaviour, including wearing a bike helmet, is not something we outgrow. Both adult and children cyclists are at risk for head injuries and we know that children are more likely to wear a bike helmet if their adult riding companions wear helmets too.
The Summer Bike Safety Blitz is also an excellent opportunity to come and enjoy the Timmins Summer Concert Series, a fun family event, which will be taking place the same evening. If you cannot make it out to this event and would like your child’s helmet inspected, you can contact the Porcupine Health Unit at 705-267-1181 or firstname.lastname@example.org.