As a part of the Bike with the Blue program, Fresno police officers were reportedly in the neighborhood riding bicycles with the community. The officers formed a team with teens from the Fresno Unified School District.
Through this activity, the officers reportedly said they want to teach the teens good bicycle safety and good sportsmanship. “The real thing that we’re trying to reach out to is to find a goal, achieve it, and work towards it. Because what these kids get at the end is, when they complete the practices and complete the event, they get to keep the bikes for themselves,” Detective Dustin Freeman reportedly said.
The Fresno police department’s plan is to practice twice a month, with the goal being to compete in the California classic mini metric which is 35 miles. Businesses and residents of Fresno previously donated money and bicycles for the students.
According to Stanford Children’s Health, about 100 children are killed and 254,000 are injured as a result of bicycle-related accidents each year. Moreover, a study published in the journal Accident Analysis & Prevention found that more than 2.2 million children ages 5 to 17 were treated in U.S. emergency departments for bicycle-related injuries from 2006 to 2015.
“The most common types of injuries were to the upper extremities,” the senior author of the study, Lara McKenzie, PhD, of the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, told CBS News. “We saw things like cuts, bruises, fractures, scrapes, and then also traumatic brain injuries.”
Bicycle safety is crucial in order to curb injuries and even deaths. As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) noted, bicycle trips account for only 1% of all trips in the U.S., but bicyclists face a higher risk of crash related injury and deaths than occupants in motor vehicles. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA), there were 846 bicyclists killed in traffic in the U.S. in 2019. By law, bicycles on the roadway are vehicles with the same rights and responsibilities as motorized vehicles.
And while adults are required legally to wear a helmet when riding a bike, teens are. “The 10- to 14-year-olds tend not to wear the helmets as much but that’s the group that was injured the most, so we really need to encourage that age group,” McKenzie reportedly said. Researchers said that kids are more likely to put on a helmet if they see their parents wearing one, making it critical to set a good example.
Although child bicyclist deaths have declined over the years, deaths among bicyclists aged 20 and older have tripled since 1975, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). In 2019, there were 79 deaths of people younger than 20 in the U.S. Also an important fact to consider when dealing with teen cyclists, among bicyclists ages 16 and older who were killed in 2019, 21% had blood alcohol concentrations (BACs) at or above 0.08%.