USAG Ansbach Safety Office helps children get handle on bicycle safety
April 11, 2013
ANSBACH, Germany (April 11, 2013) -- The mornings in Franconia are still sharp and cold, but the sun is out longer. As the days extend into April the chance of snow declines. For many, including school-age children, this makes bicycling excursions on and off post more likely.
The U.S. Army Garrison Ansbach Safety Office held a bicycle rodeo April 5 at Illesheim Elementary School and will hold their next bicycle rodeo April 12 at Ansbach Elementary School at Katterbach Kaserne.
A number of different organizations participated in the event. The Safety Office demonstrated why helmets were important through an egg drop. They also had set up an Allgemeiner Deutscher Automobil-Club, or ADAC, course through which children on bikes could practice their riding skills. The military police were available to register bicycles. A loss prevention safety and security associate with Army and Air Force Exchange Service taught proper hand signals and passed out coloring books and other bicycle safety freebies. The health clinic was on hand to demonstrate proper nutrition and dental care. Outdoor Recreation demonstrated bicycle maintenance and how to comply with on-post bicycle regulations and off-post bicycle laws. The American Red Cross showed attendees how to perform first aid in case there might be a bicycle accident.
"I liked the obstacle course the best," said Storm Morarend, a home-schooled third grade student, who especially liked riding between a series of pegs in a figure eight pattern.
Alixandria Ellis, a safety and security associate with AAFES, believed the children who attended were receptive to the event.
"They've all been positive and happy to do the obstacle course that the garrison set up with ADAC and participate and learn safety signals and Red Cross first aid," said Ellis.
For Tavares Hickey, occupational and safety health specialist with USAG Ansbach Safety Office, the important thing was getting the children who attended to be safe.
"Some came with defective helmets, some didn't wear them correctly," said Hickey. "Toward the end -- after the training -- they started to wear their helmets right."
To emphasize the importance of wearing a helmet, the safety office drew faces on eggs and got attendees to drop the egg from shoulder height first with a miniature helmet and then without. The egg survived the first drop but cracked and splattered with the second drop.
"They need to learn to that they have to wear a helmet," said Manfred Meyer, garrison safety specialist. "That is really the best protection, and it does save lives. That's why we have the egg drop. We show them that if the egg is dropped without protection, then it's going to break. The same thing happens with the head. [If] they fall off the bike and the head is not protected, they're going to have skull fractures."
The children also learned what was required of them to ride their bicycles in Germany and to ride their bicycles on post. In addition to demonstrating to the children how to perform a safety check on their bicycles, Outdoor Recreation also taught that all bicyclists must have reflectors on the pedals, two orange reflectors on each wheel, reflectors on the front and back, lights on the front and back and a bell. On post, bicycle riders must not ride in the street and must wear a helmet.
"I think they understand why it's so important to be safe on the road," said Zeljko Stjepanovic, Outdoor Recreation programmer. "They understand the concept of reflectors being installed on the bike so the car approaching or the car riding behind can see riders and being aware of safety."
"They got the message, and they fully enjoyed it," said Meyer. "They took home bicycle helmets, coloring books and medals."
"We want to preach safety, we want to make sure you are aware of safety, and specifically bike safety," said Hickey. "We want to be proactive in telling people to stay safe when riding their bikes."