Meade County Sheriff’s Department teaches bicycle safety to local children

EARLENE BOHANNON

Submitted Article


• Each year about 100 children are killed and 245,000 are injured as a result of bicycle-related accidents.

• Children ages 14 and under are five times more likely to be injured in a bicycle-related crash than older riders.

• Among children ages 14 and under, more than 80 percent of fatal bicycle-related crashes are associated with the bicyclist’s behavior, including riding into the street without stopping, turning left or swerving into traffic that is coming and/or running a stop sign.

Armed with these sobering facts, and the consideration that with the arrival of the Spring Season comes more child based outdoor activities, the director of Doe Valley’s Children’s Services joined forces with the Meade County Sheriff’s Department to do their parts to arm the children of the Doe Valley Community with enough insight and proficiency to perhaps avoid becoming one of the aforementioned statistics.

At 4 pm on Thursday, April 15th, nineteen children ranging in ages from 3-11 years were greeted by Sheriff Phillip Wimpee, Chief Deputy Ray Whited and Detective Danny Knell in the parking lot of the Doe Valley Swim and Tennis Club for a class on Bicycle Road Safety.

During the course of the afternoon, children were taught the critical importance of helmet safety, why it matters that their bicycles “fit” properly, seat and height adjustments, how to brake properly, universal hand signals, slowing when necessary, how to avoid obstacles in the road and basic bicycling etiquette. Skill levels ranged from beginner riders just learning to use training wheels to older more skillful riders who had more confidence in riding.

What was clearly evident from all three men involved was the gentle patience and desire to educate the children on bicycle safety. They paid the same attention and took the same great effort with each child regardless of age or skill level. At once the children were relaxed and comfortable with the Officers. They laughed and teased but maintained perfect professionalism. Every child present felt special and attended to and learned what was intended to be taught.

When thanked for taking the time away from his regular duties to come out to work with these children, Sheriff Wimpee stated, “They’re ALL my kids. Doesn’t matter who they are—if they live in Meade County, Kentucky, I love them and want them to be safe. Anything I can do to make sure that happens is a good thing and is a good day well spent as far as I’m concerned”.

Earlene Bohannon, Director of the Summer and AfterSchool Care Camps for Doe Valley also stated, “…with the influx of new families and increased neighborhood traffic within the community, it’s more important than ever to educate and arm the children with basic knowledge of bicycling rules and how to watch for traffic as they are riding and playing.”

Bohannon was particularly glad that the Officers reviewed bicycle fitness with the children, “Sometimes a parent is not aware that their child has outgrown their bicycles or their seats or handlebars are no longer fitting well—now the children understand this is an important part of bicycling safety and will, hopefully, let their parents know when these things need to be attended to.”

The children were awarded certificates of participation, pencils, booklets with coloring pages and candy at their dismissal.

If you would like to schedule a Bicycle Safety Class with the Meade County Sheriff’s Department, please contact Detective Knell or Chief Deputy Whited at (270)422-4937.

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