STARKVILLE, Miss. (WCBI)- On a day where teens are typically out of school for the MLK holiday, Mitchell Young, 16, is using his MLK holiday to teach others about bike and helmet safety.
“Kids think they’re cool without their helmets but they can get serious brain and head injuries and I’m trying to prevent things from happening like that to young kids that can you know, die from this,” says Young.
Mitchell’s working with The Longview Disciples 4-H Club to promote bicycle safety in the community. 4-H Club leader Angela Buress-Stewart says they want to educate more of the youth so that they are better protected when riding on roads and sidewalks.
“We want them to leave here knowing the rules of the roads. The proper way to wear their helmets and the proper size of a bike a child should ride,” says Buress-Stewart.
Kids and teens were given small quizzes on what’s the best clothing to wear while riding their bike. They also got their heads measured before taking home a free helmet. A fun, yet serious course that could help prevent future head injuries. Lee Jenkins is executive director of the Brain Injury Association of Mississippi. She hopes the youth take the classes and helmet safety lessons seriously.
“Mississippi is #3 in the country for the number of brain injuries and brain injury is the #1 cause of death and disability in young adults. If you get a brain injury, it could be that you could never walk, talk, play football, be a cheerleader. Have a job. Anything! I mean, your mother may have to put a diaper on you the rest of your life. It sounds funny, but it’s really serious and we just want them to stay healthy so they can grow up to be productive,” says Jenkins.
For many at the event, like Starkville Police officer Sargent Laura Hines Roberson, teaching our youth about bicycle safety truly honors the spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
“It’s not just an organ, it’s their ideas and their thoughts and their dreams that we’re protecting by helping them to obey this 2010 ordinance. To protect their brains by wearing a helmet. Just protecting their dreams like MLK talked about,” says Sgt. Roberson.
The Longview Disciples 4-H club plans on having more bicycle safety programs and other community events throughout the year.