Each year about this time, DeWayne Bryan, executive director of the Pratt Health Foundation, teaches an after-school bicycle safety at Elementary schools in Pratt, a town of about 6500 people in south-central Kansas:
With helmets on and properly adjusted, a review of hand signals and rules of the road, 13 bicyclists followed their leader away from Southwest Elementary School for a one-mile ride after school on Monday.
The sessions are held twice a week through the first week of May. Bryan adjusts the length of the ride to the fitness of the students, with a goal of reaching three miles after a few sessions.
This program teaches students the rules of the road, how to use hand signals, safe riding habits, how to use a bicycle helmet, and the positive benefits of physical activity. “Tickets” are given to students who do not use proper signals on their bikes or who don’t listen to instructions.
Each student who attends at least 80 percent of the sessions gets a free bicycle helmet, and those with no more than three tickets are entered in a drawing for a new bicycle, donated my local merchants.
Since 1996, more than 300 students have participated in the Bicycle Safety & Fitness program.
“Not only does this program encourage physical activity,” Bryan said, “but hopefully, this program helps to decrease the number of head injuries by encouraging the use of helmets, decrease the number of bicycle/car accidents and encourage kids to exercise safely.”