Lawrence Central members Janice Bunker and Fred Aitchison spent a morning going out to Lawrence’s Woodlawn school to provide and fit 9 helmets for kids riding to school who did not have any way to get helmets and were not able to come to the community bicycle rides.
One of Lawrence Central’s goals as a club is to get more and more people to be able to have an active lifestyle but we also want them to be safe. Medical research shows that a bicycle helmet can prevent most cyclist head injuries. Nearly 700 bicycle riders are killed in the U.S. every year, almost all in collisions with cars, and sadly 75% of them die of head injuries. Many thousands more suffer less severe but still debilitating injuries that are far worse than the physical pain of scraped skin or even broken bones.
If you are a educator at a local school and are aware of children who are in need of a helmet (and possibly a bike) please contact us at LawrenceCentralRotary@gmail.com.
The rain finished the night before, there was a sigh of relief when we could see the final rays of sun through the clearing skies to the west on Friday night.
Our latest ride held Saturday September 19th starting in the Haskell Indian Nations University stadium parking lot delighted more than 100 guests riding along the Burroughs Creek Trail. Members of Lawrence Central Rotary with the help of our sponsors and though applying for grants and fundraisers were able to hand out all of the 80 bright neon safety vests we purchased and fitted 42 brand new helmets (mostly to children) to keep them safe while riding their bike not just that day but for many days, weeks, and months to come.
But, that just speaks to the numbers. Everyone who attended had a great morning and the participants had fun… and that is the key thing. People having fun, being active, using their bikes, possibly seeing new trails, and meeting new friends along the way.
We look forward to seeing even more people again next summer for more Lawrence Community Bike rides!
The morning started off a little, well, a lot wet, but nearly 80 participants braved the questionable skies and along with over 20 volunteers at the Rotary Arboretum and along the ride route we made it a great morning.
Event chair Steve Lane said it best in a thank-you letter to the sponsors, “Our group is on a mission to improve the health of the citizens in our community. While few in our club ride daily, many ride recreationally. By creating an event that is accessible (both literally and figuratively) to all ages, we aim to introduce, or reintroduce, biking as a means for fun and secondarily as a means for enjoyable transportation.”
The fall ride is scheduled for Saturday, September, 13th starting in the Haskell Indian Nations Stadium Parking lot with events, bike maintenance stands, helmet fittings, and the ride will go along the Burroughs Creek Trail on Lawrence’s East side.
Here’s a gallery of images from The Summer ride.
The Tour of Lawrence was a three day cycling celebration that began downtown on June 26 with street sprints and an evening of music and family entertainment.
Saturday the Campus Criterium Race showcased Haskell Indian Nations University and the Breezedale Historic District with a 2.2 mile loop bicycle course, followed by at Downtown Criterium that used the former two-time Collegiate National Championship course. Case prizes for the weekend totaled over $20,000.
Bob Sanner of the Lawrence Convention and Visitors’ Bureau said events like this help bring the community together and also get national attention for Lawrence.
“Seven hundred riders in the race and 2500 people downtown help create the idea that Lawrence is THE Midwest events destination,” Sanner said. “It helps sell Lawrence to corporations and shows companies that they should bring their events, conferences and meetings to Lawrence.
“Our downtown track meet even got international attention. All these events demonstrate what Lawrence can do.”
Sanner said he is thankful for volunteers, some of whom came from Central Rotary, who man these events. He believe in promoting events on social media using the slogans “Explore Lawrence,” and “Unmistakably Lawrence.”
“Being a university community helps,” he said. “There’s a youthful vibe that I really enjoy.”
The Fire Medical Department will hold their annual Helmet Fair on Saturday, April 25th on the University of Kansas campus alongside the annual Spring Football Scrimmage. The event will be the parking lot just West of Memorial Stadium in Lot 58. The event will run from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and is free to attend.
Immediately following the Helmet Fair, the KU Spring Football Scrimmage will take place at 1:00 p.m. in Memorial Stadium.
At the event, public safety staff will be on hand to provide and custom-fit bike helmets for children age 15 and younger (with an adult, while supplies last). Participants can have their bicycle inspected and take a ride on the Safe Ride Course. Staff will provide information on bicycle safety tips, bike trail etiquette, booster seat safety and swimming safety.
The Hyvee Hawk Zone will be offered from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. featuring family-friendly inflatables, face painting, music and appearances by Big Jay and Baby Jay.
The city’s Police and Fire-Medical Departments and Kansas University Public Safety are joining efforts to provide this event, along with several private and non-profit business partners including Kansas Athletics, Laird Noller, Safe Kids Douglas County, McDonalds, Sunflower Outdoor and Bike Shop, Douglas County Medical Society, Lawrence Mountain Bike Club, Dillons, Ranjbar Orthodontics and Lawrence Pilot Club.
Contact the Lawrence-Douglas County Fire Medical Department at (785)
830-7000 for more information.
Currently, only 14.2% of children in Lawrence walk or bike to school. The majority of children are driven by their parents, according to survey results compiled by the Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department.
The reasons vary. Many parents are worried about children crossing busy streets without assistance. They may believe that the school is too far away or that the weather can be too severe. Some are concerned about the danger of potential crime. Many do not believe that the school district even encourages their children to walk or bike on a routine basis.
Chris Tilden, Director of the Community Health division of Douglas County-Lawrence Community Health Department, noted that new grants have allowed expansion of the initiatives for improving community health in Lawrence and the surrounding county. In particular, Community Health has received a $1.3 million grant to promote physical activity, one of five areas of emphasis in the Health Department’s five-year plan, Roadmap to a Healthier Douglas County. One way to reach that physical activity goal for children is to encourage them to walk or bike to school.
Charlie Bryan, Planner in Community Health, reviewed statistics gathered in a recent Lawrence-wide survey to assess the this need and described the initiative developed in response. “Safe Routes to School” hopes to increase biking and walking by 25% over the next five years. The program “uses a comprehensive approach to make walking and biking to school safe and fun for students. In Lawrence, we use Evaluation, Education, Encouragement, Enforcement, Engineering, and Equity to prioritize Safe Routes decision-making.”
Lawrence Central Rotary will be one of the sponsors of a town hall meeting and safety fair on March 25, 2015, from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. at Liberty Hall to raise awareness of this initiative.