Young island residents get quick course in bicycle safety

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Cinda Seamon, right, demonstrates with Melissa Cabaña how to adjust an improperly fitting helmet at the bicycle safety workshop held July 31 at the Boys & Girls Club of Hilton Head Island. Melissa is a member of the club. LYNNE COPE HUMMELL

Members of the Boys & Girls Club of Hilton Head Island and the Island Recreation Center summer program got a special treat July 31 when staff from the Town of Hilton Head Island presented a bicycle safety workshop.

The event, held at the Boys & Girls Club, was a celebration of the naming of the island as a Gold Level Bicycle Friendly Community for the second time.

In May, the Town of Hilton Head Island received the designation from the League of American Bicyclists. "We applaud communities like Hilton Head Island for making bicycling a safe, comfortable, and convenient option for transportation and recreation," said Bill Nesper, executive director of the League of American Bicyclists. "We are inspired by leaders who see bicycling as a way to build more vibrant, healthy, sustainable and connected communities."

At the July workshop, following remarks from Mayor Pro Tempe Bill Harkins and Town Manager Steve Riley, a bicycle safety program was conducted by Cinda Seamon, fire and life safety educator with Hilton Head Fire Rescue.

Using a bike from the beach patrol officers to demonstrate her talk, Seamon guided the children on a number of safety tips:

• Before you ride, check out your bike - brakes, tires, etc.

• If your helmet doesn't fit properly, adjust the straps.

• Walk bikes across streets, only at intersections or crosswalks.

• Don't ride your bike at night, and don't ride alone.

• Get a bell for the handlebars, or otherwise let people who are walking ahead of you know that you are approaching by calling out, "Behind you, on your left," etc.

Many of the children received bicycle helmets. All attendees received prizes from flying discs to gift certificates.

As a Gold-level Bicycle Friendly Community, the town joins 476 communities across the country in building better places for people to bike.

"This is the second time we have earned the Gold-Level designation from the League of American Bicyclists," said Steve Riley. "This national acknowledgment as a Bicycle Friendly Community for two award cycles shows that we have worked to improve and sustain policies and infrastructure related to bicycling. It shows that we understand and value cycling for fitness, fun and travel."

The five levels of the BFC award are diamond, platinum, gold, silver and bronze. Awarded communities must renew their status every four years to ensure that they not only maintain existing efforts, but also keep up with changing technology, national safety standards, and community-driven best practices.

To learn more about the BFC program, visit bikeleague.org/community.

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