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Strap one on if you’re 16 or under

KILAUEA — The basketball court at Kilauea School was transformed into a

training ground yesterday for bicyclists as Charito Bartlett of the Keiki

Injury Prevention Coalition and Jeff Hashimoto of the Kaua`i Police Traffic

Safety Unit worked to get children more aware of the new bicycle helmet law, as

well as help them become better riders.

The new law that went into effect

Tuesday requires that everyone 16 years of age and under wear a helmet while

bicycling. Failure to comply with the law can result in a $25 fine, the safety

group explained to the third-grade class that was kept attentive by the

routines of O’ahu bike education instructors Chris Kalani Clark and John

Glasser.

Bartlett explained that students who complete the course would

receive a free helmet that was acquired through a grant from the Department of

Transportation.

“Normally, the program runs for 45 minutes a day for a

week,” Bartlett said. “But since this is the first time for the bike ed

instructors, and because of their limited stay here, the students are being put

through an accelerated schedule.”

About 90 students in shifts were

accommodated Thursday, the first of two days of training at Kilauea School.

Another 90 were to go through the session this morning.

An additional 30 to

40 students are also participating in a similar program being conducted by the

Boys and Girls Club in Kapa`a. But they have a whole week, so they are going

through the entire instructional program which requires the passage of a road

test.

Between the two programs, over 200 students will have been educated

about bicycle safety and safe riding rules before the week is up.

Bartlett

pointed out that the bike education program has been in force on O`ahu for

about 10 years, and the instructors that were here for the eastside clinics

work with about 8,000 students a year over there.

Hashimoto, after watching

the youthful riders go through the routines, said he would like a similar

program to develop on Kaua’i.

In addition to the hands-on portion of the

course—which included supervised riding skills in which riders were required

to weave through a course marked off by traffic cones as well as a

follow-the-leader routine headed by one of the instructors—the students were

also briefed on how to properly secure the required headgear by fastening the

helmet so it provides a secure fit.

The program closes with each cyclist

reciting an oath in which they promise to become better riders by abiding by

the laws, and to ride safer by becoming better aware of their bicycles as well

as following safety rules—and to always wear their helmets.

Clark

explained there are safety standards that bicycle helmets need to meet.

Consumers buying a helmet should check if the helmet carries the Consumer

Product Safety Commission certification sticker, which verifies that the

product meets current safety standards.

Fred Rose, principal of Kilauea

School, was impressed with the response of the students to the new program. He

said he’d like all students in the third through sixth grades go through the

program.

The police had five loaner bikes available for students who did

not have a bike so that everyone would have an opportunity for the hands-on

instruction.

Also on hand were American Medical Response paramedics from

the Kilauea station who stopped by to check on the progress of the Keiki Injury

Prevention Coalition’s efforts.

Staff photographer Dennis Fujimoto can

be reached at 245-3681.

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