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Natividad Medical Center employees to youth: “Bike! It’s health-building and fun! And first, clip this on…”

First, a couple postscripts to the story below about how Natividad Medical Center employees are supporting youth who bike.

At the end of this post, and part of Bicycling Monterey’s original story, read about another local resident who would likely have his own comments about wearing a helmet.

* * *

Good news abounds…

And thanks to Rachel Zentz of the Californian, that news gets around every week in “Winning Ways.” Like this news, about how Natividad Medical Center employees boost local youth.Natividad Medical Center employees July 2015Among Bicycling Monterey’s projects is outreach to share bike law and safety info. Besides via the web, this is done in-person on a regular basis, one-to-one, with people on the bikeways all over Monterey County. Bicycling Monterey outreach also happens at a variety of special activities and events, ranging from the South County Health and Safety Fair to the Monterey County Youth Center bike class to campus information fairs.

Enter some bike-savvy health care professionals!

Natividad Medical Center‘s trauma staff knows about that outreach. They also know that from the time Bicycling Monterey was founded in May 2009 to the present date, Mari does the work of the Bicycling Monterey website and projects entirely as a volunteer. They wanted to help.

So did other Natividad Medical Center employees. And together, they collected 32 new bicycle helmets for Monterey County youth, contributing them for Bicycling Monterey’s outreach.

This is an example of Natividad’s community health outreach and bike crash and injury prevention efforts. Special thanks to Kristen Spencer, RN II of Natividad’s Trauma Prevention and Outreach, for facilitating the helmet collection.

Why biking?

When Dr. Hugh Stallworth retired from the Monterey County Health Department in June 2012, after a 42-year career in the field, he told the Monterey County Weekly’s Sara Rubin that the most challenging public health issue here is one shared by the nation:  childhood obesity.   He warned that changing this is going “to have to be an entire community effort. If we don’t solve that one, the prediction is this is the first generation where parents might outlive their kids.”

Natividad employees know that improved physical fitness is among the many and diverse benefits of biking. They love seeing kids on bikes!

Why helmets?

California law—DMV VC Section 21212—states that minors are required to wear helmets when biking (and also when skateboarding, skating, or on a nonmotorized scooter).

California law does not require that adults wear a helmet. Nonetheless, you’ll usually see Mari and the majority of other local bike community leaders wearing a helmet when they bike. Why? Most believe it reduces risk of injury. Many also wear helmets in solidarity with minors.

Youth receiving helmets from Bicycling Monterey are also provided with instructions, in Spanish or English, on how to properly fit the helmet.

What might Kyle say?

With sadness, we remember 17-year-old Kyle Beardshear of Salinas. If he could, Kyle would surely say things like: “Don’t worry if your friends say helmets are for nerds. Don’t leave your helmet off because it’s hot out. Don’t leave it off because you’re only riding a short distance. Don’t worry about it messing up your hair before you meet someone you wanna impress. Forget all the excuses.

“Just make your loved ones happy. Put the darned thing on your head!”

Kyle biked regularly, and he usually wore a helmet. He had fastened his helmet to his handlebars when pedaling off from a youth group meeting on the tragic day that he hit a parked car, resulting in his death.

See “Bicycle Culture and Youth” for related info.

The absence of

Kyle Beardshear

continues to be sorely felt on the bikeways and beyond

Kyle Beardshears - News5_t440x600

Photo credits: Top photo, Natividad Medical Center. Bottom photo, the family of Kyle Beardshear.

This post is being published July 9, 2015—the 25th anniversary of the death of Mari’s beloved father, Ray Lynch. It’s partly thanks to Ray that Bicycling Monterey exists. As Kera Abraham wrote in the Monterey County Weekly on May 12, 2011, “Although [Mari Lynch] Dehmler herself is a Green-Party environmentalist, that DIY ethic is inspired by her Republican dad. ‘If there’s something in your community that needs doing, you don’t wait until all the pieces are in place,’ she says. ‘You just jump in and do it.’”

Some ways to help

Short link to this post: http://bit.ly/YouthHelmet

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