The Fort Knox main Exchange hosted Fort Knox Bicycle Safety Day in its parking lot May 8.

The event was designed to teach children how to safely ride their bicycles along Fort Knox streets and other roadways, according to Wendy Steinhoff, a certified safety and health official with the Fort Knox Garrison Safety Office.

"[We hold] the safety event to teach our most valuable assets -- our kids -- about driving their bicycles safely," Steinhoff said. "They learned hand-and-arm signals; they learned safe riding locations on the installation, to ride with the traffic flow and to always wear a helmet."

To reinforce the importance of bicyclists wearing helmets, Fort Knox firefighters teamed up with members of the Kentucky Mountain Bike Association for an illustration.

"We saw a helmet demonstration where watermelons were dropped from a [fire]truck," said Vince Carman, one of the commissioners of Kentucky Bicycle and Bikeway Commission, Radcliff. "That made a big impression on them."

Steinhoff stressed that while wearing a helmet is a primary means to keeping bicycling children safe, kids are safest when parents ensure their helmets are properly fitted. Bike club members demonstrated the proper fit before the children got on their bikes.

"[At] the helmet fittings, both children and parents learned how to properly wear the bike helmet," said Steinhoff. "Parents should continue to go over the things they've learned so that it becomes second nature to them."

Carman stressed the importance of reinforcing what kids learn through practice.

"The [military police officers] taught them their hand-and-arm signals for stopping, and turning right or left," Carman said. "We helped shepherd a bike safety rodeo where the kids got to practice their stopping and hand-and-arm movements."

Bicycle Safety Day came at an opportune time since kids are beginning to enjoy riding with nicer weather, said Carman.

"We can expect kids will be out more with the warmer weather and more free time," he said. "We were able to do bicycle safety checks, and to give the kids a solid foundation in bicycle safety and practice of the ABCs of bicycle readiness."

The ABCs stand for proper air in the tires, properly functioning brakes and a working oiled chain.

According to to Steinhoff, a tuned-up bike will greatly reduce accidents.

Both Steinhoff and Carman wanted to leave the kids with a parting summer bicycling message.
"Make sure you make eye contact with car drivers before crossing the street," said Steinhoff. Carman agreed. It's generally good advice to always ride with a buddy in case you fall or need someone to call for help."