Small City Teaches Big Lessons in Bike Safety - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

8/1/03

Small City Teaches Big Lessons in Bike Safety

Three weeks ago, an 8-year-old was hit by a sport utility vehicle when attempting to walk her bike across the 9400 block of University. Police say the child was not wearing a helmet and suffered head trauma and a broken arm. EMS took the girl to Covenant hospital in critical condition. Fortunately, the child has been released from the hospital.

But it's situations like these, that remind parents the importance of teaching their children bike safety. There's one place in Lubbock, where kids can learn safety first hand.

A group of 7, 8 and 9-year-olds are learning big lessons in a kid-size setting. Safety City Director, Charlie Madgwick teaches everything from bike safety to pool safety to 6,000 students each year. First, comes the class room training where the kids learn pedestrian rules, bike safety rules, traffic laws and they learn what each traffic sign means.

Then it's outside, for hands on learning. The kids learn that they must evaluate their bike before riding it. They need to check the chains, the tires and the brakes. Before riding, the kids must wear a helmet. 7-year-old Curstin Blythe says it's very important to wear a helmet. "If I fall, I won't crack my head." 7-year-old Rudy Ortega agrees. "I learned if you don't wear a helmet and you fall, you'll break your head."

Once the kids are on their bikes, they go through an obstacle course, similar to a common neighborhood. Ortega says, "Here it's better because there's no cars and it's kinda like the same thing." Here, the kids get to practice what they've learned, free of cars but complete with signs and signals.

Blythe says, "I learned to always do signals or just stop. If you didn't do that , there might be a car behind you and if you're turning, they could run over you." 7-year-old Karaysha White advises, "Always wear a helmet on your bike and be careful and look both ways" That's good safety advice, these kids will take with them, when riding in their own neighborhoods.

Safety City is located in Clapp Park off 45th and Avenue U. It's operated by the City of Lubbock Parks and Recreation Department. Kids can come out and ride their bikes or skate at Safety City, Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 10:30 a.m.-11:30 a.m. for $2.

Safety City is open for parents or children who want to walk for exercise from 8 a.m.-9 a.m. The cost is free. Groups interested in a safety class can schedule an appointment. Public school tours cost $2 per child. Private groups like scouts or church groups are $4 per child.

Safety City can be rented for private birthday parties during the summer. They provide invitations, cake, punch and goody bags. A group of 10 children would be $100. Each additional child would be $7.50. If you provide your own cake it's $75 for up to 10 children.

For more information, call Safety City at (806) 775-2687 or ( click here ).

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