Wednesday, Sep 7, 2011
Cape Cod National Seashore held a bike helmet fitting and distribution event at Province Lands Visitor Center on August 18th. The event was one of several efforts aimed at improving bike safety and reducing accidents and injuries at the national seashore.
The event was organized and staffed by collaboration between the park’s bicycle safety committee, an intern from the WASO public risk management internship program, seashore volunteers, and park interpretive staff. The internship program, a partnership between the National Park Service and the Student Conservation Association, seeks to support injury prevention efforts and enhance visitor and employee safety at national parks.
Over half of visitor injuries at the seashore result from bicycle crashes, and many of these injuries involve the head/neck area presenting an opportunity for injury prevention by promoting helmet use among seashore visitors. To encourage safe cycling, the helmet distribution program promotes visitor awareness of bicycle safety through education and increases visitor helmet use by offering free helmets and demonstrations on how to properly fit helmets.
Over 93 visitors received free helmets or were provided with helmet fits at the event. Visitor’s already wearing helmets received free ice cream scoop coupons, sponsored by Ben & Jerry’s and Friends of the Cape Cod National Seashore, as a positive reward for demonstrating safe behavior.
Educational posters and informational displays raised awareness of visitor bicycle crashes and their potentially severe consequences, as well as how to perform routine bicycle maintenance. Fun exhibits, such as gelatin brain molds, kept the event lighthearted, while promoting awareness about protecting the brain from injury. A bicycle mechanic demonstrated routine bicycle maintenance checks, and performed simple bicycle repairs.
Linda Degutis, a representative from the CDC’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, attended the event while vacationing at the seashore.
“Our national parks are an important resource and provide many people with the opportunity to be physically active while enjoying and appreciating their natural surroundings,” she said. “As director of the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, I am especially pleased to see the efforts of the NPS focusing on safe use of bicycles in the Cape Cod National Seashore. We want to make sure that everyone has the chance to enjoy the park safely."
Other safe cycling initiatives currently at the seashore include:
- The placement of temporary signage in areas where there is windblown sand
- Bike safety volunteers who ride trails and talk to riders about safe cycling
- The Ben and Jerry’s coupon reward program
- Large “Bike Safety Begins With Helmets” banners at trailheads
- An interpretive cell phone message.
For more information, contact Nicole Taylor, the park’s environmental protection specialist, at Nicole_Taylor@nps.gov .