Clymer students learn bike safety

The winners of the bicycle safety poster contest pose in front of the winning posters. Two children from each grade level — one from each classroom — won bicycle-related prizes such as horns and lights. Journal photo by Andy Kerstetter

CLYMER, N.Y. — Kids often have to learn the facts of life the hard way.

But thanks to an assembly at Clymer Central School, some of them might not have to.

At 9 a.m. Tuesday, Clymer students in grades kindergarten through six met in an assembly to listen to Chautauqua County Deputy Sherriff Wes Johnson speak about bicycle safety.

Johnson has been deputy for 15 years and has seen a lot of bicycle accidents in that time.

He spoke to the children about proper safety procedures when riding bikes, such as making sure the bike works properly before riding it and wearing bright or reflective clothing at night.

He also went over all the proper hand signals to use when riding a bike, and the importance of locking up or putting away a bike when not in use to prevent theft.

But the most important thing he stressed to the kids was wearing a helmet. He reminded them that anyone under the age of 14 is required by law to wear a helmet.

“We were seeing a lot of accidents because people weren’t wearing their helmets,” Johnson said.

He also warned them that if he ever drove through Clymer and caught anyone riding without a helmet, he would make them get off and walk their bikes.

Johnson used anecdotes from his own life to demonstrate his points, citing times when his four boys — ages 9, 11, 13 and 15 — had disobeyed the rules of bike-riding.

In preparation for the talk, a poster contest had been arranged for all the K-6 students. Each student made a poster regarding bike safety, and after Johnson’s talk, the winners were announced — one student from each classroom.

Additionally, when the students went back to their home rooms after the assembly, they each received a new bike helmet, for a total of 250 helmets in all.

The money for the new helmets was provided by the Chautauqua County Community Foundation and Clymer’s School Health Advisory Council.

Clymer teachers Anne Marie Carpenter and Sherry Wascak were in charge of arranging the event.

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