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Students Learn Bike and Walking Safety Before Summer Break

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DES MOINES, Iowa – Kids at one elementary school got an important lesson in safety when they're out biking and walking. A dozen organizations got together to bring the message to students at a school that's had a few close calls.

This isn't your typical gym class. The American Heart Association is taking over PE all week at King Elementary School.

"It's really a collaborative effort of about twelve organizations that are either donating time or supplies," said American Heart Association Campaign Manager Carrie Mueller.

The goal is to make sure students stay safe while playing outside, especially as we head into summer.

"I like doing physical activity outside with my family," Aleena Tran, a fourth-grade student, said.

"It's really important also for them to really see community people coming in and investing in the school and showing them there is a fun, happy way to be safe," said King Elementary Community School Coordinator Julanda Taylor.

The students learned why they should wear a helmet, with the help of an egg drop demonstration. The kids dropped one into a box of packing peanuts, which demonstrated the protection a helmet would provide. The kids dropped another on the ground, which caused the egg to break.

“That's why it's so important to wear a helmet," explained Mueller during the demonstration.

Des Moines Senior Police Officer Tim Fricke showed how to properly wear a helmet.

"You're wanting it to fit on the top of your head, that way you've got about two finger lengths from your eyebrows. You want the side straps to come down and kind of make a V underneath your ears, and you want the chin strap to be nice and tight," he explained.

He also told the kids to wear bright colors, ride in pairs, and follow the rules of the road.

“We really recommend children under the age of 10 to stay on the sidewalk, mainly because they have to follow the same rules as motorists to use the roadway," he said.

Fricke also explained hand signals when riding a bike and what street signs mean.

King Elementary is located at the intersection of Forest Avenue and 19th Street, which is why the school was chosen for this new campaign.

This is a very busy street, and we felt it was really important to have someone come in and talk to our students about how important it is to be safe," King Elementary Principal Peter LeBlanc said.

This is the first time the American Heart Association brought bike and pedestrian safety week to a school, but the organization hopes to do this in other schools in the future to help keeps keep safe while encouraging them to walk and bike more.

The students will also test their safety knowledge during at a bike city event during PE this week.

On Friday, students have a chance to win one of seven bikes or fifty helmets, thanks to donations from the Des Moines Bike Collective and Blank Children’s Hospital.

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