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Heads up for safety

Albany County officials educate on bike safety, hand out helmets to kids

A handful of children gathered with county officials and then embarked on a course simulating the streets of Watervliet set up inside of the Watervliet Dome. They learned how to maneuver around cones, riding slowing to keep balance and, most importantly, were shown different signals to communicate with drivers on the road.

A handful of children gathered with county officials and then embarked on a course simulating the streets of Watervliet set up inside of the Watervliet Dome. They learned how to maneuver around cones, riding slowing to keep balance and, most importantly, were shown different signals to communicate with drivers on the road. Photo by Zan Strumfeld.

— “It’ll keep my head safe and if I fall, I don’t have to go to the hospital,” she said.

Her cousin, 11-year-old Jane Place, said she just learned how to ride a bike but wears a helmet. She learned her lesson recently when she was riding down a hill on her scooter.

“I didn’t have a helmet on and I hit my face and I had a fat lip,” she said. “If you fall, then you could crack your head open if you don’t have a helmet on.”

Apple added that distracted driving is an increasing cause for concern, especially when it comes to children riding their bikes.

“There are way too many gadgets out there. If you take your eyes off the road for one second and a young girl comes out on her bike and you’re weaving over … it just scares me,” Apple said.

Apple said within the next couple of weeks the county will announce a new program to reward kids who are wearing their helmets. Similarly, a few years ago Stewart’s had a program where an officer who saw a child wearing a helmet could “ticket” him or her with a free ice cream coupon.

Having a strong communication between parents and their children, Apple said, could definitely help bicycle safety. He said parents can easily go online and learn different bike safety techniques to teach children and learn for themselves.

“Teach your kids how to look, how to turn. It’s just common sense things that need to be drilled down a little bit,” Apple said.

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