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Goodyear Safe Mobility Project celebrates a milestone

05-02-2017 (Akron, Ohio )

Akron Children’s Hospital and The Goodyear Foundation celebrated Bike Safety Month today with an event at Barberton Elementary School East that included a milestone in the Goodyear Safe Mobility Project – the giveaway of the 500th bike helmet as part of the project.

The Goodyear Foundation teamed up with Akron Children’s in March 2016, announcing the Goodyear Safe Mobility Project, a three-year grant enabling the hospital to expand its child safety programs focusing on child passenger seats, bike helmets, pedestrian safety and teen drivers.

Over the three years, the Safe Mobility Project will distribute 2,500 child passenger safety seats and more than 2,700 bike helmets and conduct car safety seat and bike helmet safety events with parents and caregivers in Summit County neighborhoods where children are at high risk for injury. A teen driving program will be added this fall.

At today’s event, which included about 100 students riding their bikes to school and receiving new helmets, bike licenses and reflectors. Nate Herbert, 8, of Barberton, became the 500th child to receive a bike helmet through the Goodyear Safe Mobility Project.  

“We are thrilled to have provided 500 children with helmets in just 15 months,” said Alison White, Goodyear’s director of community engagement. “All of the credit for reaching this milestone goes to the team at Akron Children’s and the more than 600 Goodyear associate volunteers who have staffed events such as this one in Barberton.”

The support from The Goodyear Foundation is allowing Akron Children’s to  provide valuable safety education and get more bike helmets and child passenger safety seats to those families who need them, said Heather Trnka, Akron Children’s injury prevention coalition coordinator.

“We love to see kids ride bikes – it’s fun, great exercise and just one of the ways kids can live a healthy, active lifestyle that we hope will continue throughout their lifetime,” said Trnka. “But we want kids to be safe and that means always wearing a proper-fitting helmet. It’s the number one way to prevent head injuries and death associated with cycling accidents.”

Now that nice weather and cycling season has arrived in Northeast Ohio, here are some other bike safety tips:

  • Let kids chose their own bike helmets so they will be more enthused to wear them.

  • Insist that children wear their bike helmets at all times while riding, even for the shortest rides in the neighborhood.

  • Encourage kids to ride on sidewalks and designated bike paths, whenever possible. If not possible, ride in the same direction as traffic as far on the right side of the road.

  • Use hand signals and follow rules of the road. Be predictable by making sure you ride in a straight line and don’t swerve between cars.

  • Wear bright colors and use lights, especially when riding at night and in the morning. Reflectors on your clothes and bike will help you to be seen.

  • Ride with your children. Stick together until you are comfortable and confident that your kids are ready to ride on their own.

  • If your child is involved in a cycling accident, replace the helmet with a new one to ensure its safety protection features have not been compromised by the impact.

Barberton Elementary School East is just one example of the many community partners the Goodyear Safe Mobility Project is reaching. The grant has also enabled Akron Children’s to reach children through child care facilities, Head Start programs, and government agencies.

The program’s effectiveness will be measured on a regular basis, using Summit County statistics on pediatric unintentional injuries.