The News-Press, 'Go Coastal', 9/15/2016
By Carolyn Conant-Adair
In the United States, “every year, about 300,000 kids go to the emergency department because of bike injuries, and at least 10,000 kids have injuries that require a few days in the hospital. Some of these injuries are so serious that children die, usually from head injuries,” according to Nemours Kids Health website.
The city of Cape Coral and Cape Coral Bike Ped volunteers are working to reduce the number of bicycle and pedestrian crashes – and they want your help. The Cape Coral Police Department’s High Visibility Pedestrian/Bicycle Enforcement effort has already resulted in a 10% year to year decreased bicycle and pedestrian accidents, by giving out more warning tickets and citations.
These types of initiatives work but, as Sergeant Jon Kulko of the Cape Coral Police Department Traffic Unit notes: "There is still a great need for the youth of Cape Coral to wear bicycle helmets and to have their bicycles equipped with brakes. Those riding at night need to have bicycle lights (front and rear) and are encouraged to wear high visibility clothing." So, while the city is working to build more and safer bike routes and sidewalks every year to try to keep children and adults safe, it’s not enough.
The city’s newest safety strategy is to ask student in middle and high schools (through their media teachers) to create bicycle and pedestrian safety videos. Through peer-to-peer safety and education videos, students can help educate their fellow students on the rules of the road, the need to wear a helmet and other safety initiatives.
Encourage students you know throughout Lee County public, private, charter and parochial schools and their media teachers to participate in this contest. Middle and high school students and their teachers can go to www.CapeCoral.net/Bicycling and click on the big blue “BikeWalkSafely2Live PSA Contest” button to get started by reading the Contest Rules and applying on the online Entry Form. The deadline to submit your video is Nov. 18, 2016.
The city is looking for creative approaches to encourage more students to ride and walk to schools and throughout the region in a safe manner. Participants need to create 10-, 15- or 30-second videos that highlight bicycle and pedestrian safety initiatives (such as wearing a helmet) as well as the rules of the road (such as walking or riding on the correct side of the road).
These student-created bike/ped videos will help everyone learn the rules of the road and safe bicycling and walking practices.
Let’s bring the number of bicycle and pedestrian crashes down even further this coming year through these bike/ped safety videos. Let’s make our roads safer for everyone!
Lend a hand by getting students you know excited about participating in this video contest. The roads belong to all of us; let’s make them safer by getting everyone - motorist, cyclist and pedestrians - to learn the rules of the road and be courteous to each other.
Carolyn Conant-Adair is president of Cape Coral Bike-Ped, a volunteer organization working in partnership with the city of Cape Coral to make a difference in the way the city improves and builds its bike lanes, paths and sidewalks.