Friday, May 20, 2005
Armstrong’s mother promotes bike riding
By Jeff Walker
Kelly, a spokesperson for the Texas Bicycle Coalition since 1999, made Lubbock the last of her four-city tour that included Amarillo, Wichita Falls and Abilene. She said her primary goal is to not only get more children riding bicycles but help curb the rise of obesity in children and educate the youth about riding safety.
“Part of it is to educate on bike safety, like wearing helmets and how and where to ride on streets or sidewalks,” Kelly said prior to giving her speech at the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center. “Part of it is getting law enforcement and the community involved, because they have to embrace this. … We want to start teaching them when the kids are young, which is why we’re going to the educators, the teachers and the superintendents.”
The program that the Texas Bicycle Coalition is pushing is called, “Safe Routes to School.” According to the Texas Department of Health Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 74 percent of the state’s children do not meet state guidelines for physical education; 35 percent of Texas school children are overweight or obese; 13 percent of Texas school children walk or bike to school today (compared to 66 percent in 1975) and 30 percent of the average Texas morning rush hour traffic is school related.
Durwood Mayfield is the coalition coordinator in Lubbock. He will follow the lead of Kelly by talking to educators and city officials in Lubbock, Levelland, Lamesa, Slaton, Plainview, Littlefield, Brownfield and Post.
“Part of what we’re doing is letting those people know that there is grant money out there,” Mayfield said. “We can’t and don’t apply for the grants, we just tell them where it is. There is $85 million available for Texas for improvement or additions for sidewalks.”
Mayfield said the coalition’s goal is to get a parent or volunteer of each grade at every elementary school to champion the program. The coalition will work with the volunteers to get the program started and help get more children riding bicycles.
Kelly said if she didn’t encourage Armstrong at such a young age, he probably wouldn’t have become the champion he is today.
For the full article, visit Lubbock Avalanche-Journal.