Community bands together for safety

LIHUE — Myka Vanoy-Botelho, 10, said his bicycle helmet was too tight Saturday at the Wilcox Memorial Hospital parking lot.

The tightness was reason enough for him to get a new helmet to protect him while riding his bicycle through the different courses established to raise awareness on safety, maneuverability and traffic rules.

With his new helmet securely fastened atop his head, Vanoy-Botelho used his former helmet to store the goodies he collected while visiting the different “Passport” stations established throughout the course at the 2015 Kauai Keiki Bike and Safety Day.

“This is a true community collaborative effort,” said Eva Labarge, the Wilcox Hospital manager of community benefits. “This is a community effort by a lot of different groups, including the Kauai Path, Kauai Skateboarding Ohana, the Kauai Police Department, American Medical Response, Hawaii Life Flight, The Sports Authority, the Kauai Community Federal Credit Union, the East Kauai Lions Club and the Kauai High School Leo Club, the Boy Scouts of America, Aloha Council, and more.”

Young children were able to pre-register for the event, but the event was large enough to accommodate those who decided they would drop in to take advantage of the free testing, riding skills and safety instruction. Activities included a helmet fit station where more than 300 free helmets were fitted to young riders between the ages of 5 to 10 years old, a bike safety inspection station where keiki’s equipment was checked by Kauai Cycle staff to ensure safe operation, a bicycle skills enhancement course hosted by Kauai Path, a skateboard skills course and safety gear demonstration.

“We do the bicycle clinic every year,” said EK Lion Roy Nishida. “This year, someone else took the lead so we just joined the effort. It is a lot easier on the club members and we can do a lot more.”

Joining the bicycle clinic, Kauai Skate Ohana set up stations where youngsters could be properly fitted for safety gear including elbow and knee pads before getting out onto the course manned by skateboard riders who instructed the aspiring boarders in the proper riding and maneuvering techniques.

“We missed last year,” said Melissa Anderson, a KSO volunteer. “But we really wanted to do this to keep riders safe. This year, we made sure not to miss the event.”


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