Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Project Ride Smart

The 10-day Project Ride Smart program began with 3 days of classroom instruction/helmet and bike fitting then 3 days of blacktop drills: riding straight, using proper hand signals, scanning over left shoulder to check for traffic, and the 8-step left turn, the most complicated maneuver. Today began 3 days of street rides if students passed the blacktop drills (just 4 of 120 students were too unsteady to leave campus).  Each class of about 30 students was divided into 4 groups.  Each group had two LCIs and maybe a parent volunteer.  L-R: Pollyanna, hula-hooping Elle, Doug, Matthew, Jeff.  Not pictured: Brad, Mellissa (director of Project Ride Smart), and me. 

Matthew shared his personal story with the students during the classroom instruction when we discussed the importance of always wearing a helmet (adults too) and the consequences of receiving a brain injury.  About a year and a half ago, Matthew was riding his bike on Elkhorn Blvd and was hit from behind by a driver who fell asleep going 55-60 mph.  He had a broken leg, shattered knee, broken ribs.  The helmet saved his life but he did get a serious brain injury.  He was in the hospital for 2 1/2 months and has been in physical and brain therapy for the past year.  His body healed but not his brain, he no longer has any sense of smell or taste, nor does he feel any emotions.  He's back to riding his bike everywhere he goes, at a pace of about 10,000 miles/year, and likes to do double-centuries (200 miles in one day).  His story is a powerful one for the students.

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