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Sunday, 29 June 2014

NSW ramps up bike safety education for kids and teens

An Aboriginal Bike Safety Program targeting children and teens has run in 12 locations in NSW, ensuring our next generation of riders understand the fundamentals of safe cycling.

Almost 70 children have been through the free program, which included four hours of practical bike skills training, a free bike maintenance check and tips on where to ride in the community.

The aim of the program was to promote helmet and bike safety among young riders and was funded by the NSW Roads and Maritime Service (RMS). The programs were delivered via the AustCycle accredited Teacher network and each location had a bike mechanic on hand to make sure all bikes were safe and roadworthy.

Ar’e Abera, AustCycle accredited Teacher who ran the Griffith program, said the day was fun, educational and productive.

“We had 19 kids register for our program, the youngest was four years old and the ages ranged up to about 15 years,” Abera told AustCycle. “We also had about 7 parents stay and watch.”

“Every child participated, none complained and all the parents got involved when we played games. When the kids received their free helmets they got so excited, it was like they were opening up a present on Christmas Day!”

According to the RMS, evidence shows that wearing a helmet can reduce the risk of brain or head injury by up to 60% in the event of a crash, and because of this, teaching children the importance of a properly fitted helmet was a large focus of the program.

To demonstrate why everyone should be wearing a helmet when they ride, instructors conducted the “watermelon test” where a watermelon is dropped with and without a helmet.

Gareth Watkins, General Manager for AustCycle, said participants very much enjoyed this practical demonstration, and said each child was given a free helmet, supplied by the RMS, to further encourage safe riding behaviours.  

“It has been a fantastic program and a great way to teach children practical bike skills and improve awareness around roads and traffic,” Watkins said.

“It has been exciting to be part of such an important community project that helps Australian children understand the importance of road safety and we look forward to being involved in more programs like this going forward.”

To find out more about AustCycle or safe cycling, please visit AustCycle’s website www.austcycle.com.au

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