The Newport Harbor Elks Lodge (#1767) recently made several bike safety presentations and handed out safety equipment to local kids after being awarded a grant.
Volunteers from the group conducted 10 bicycle safety presentations to hundreds of kids over the last few months, including a visit to Ensign Middle School on Jan. 26 and a talk to some Newport-Mesa Girl Scout troops and children and grandchildren of lodge members on Feb. 12.
During the Elks presentation, volunteers found that most kids had helmets, some had reflectors, but few had lights on their bikes.
It was an important message to send because of the number of children riding bikes without the proper equipment and not being safe while their on the road, said Newport Harbor Elks PR Chairman Karen Johnson. She also notices people on Newport Beach streets riding bikes, wearing dark clothes and often missing any kind of reflectors, she added.
“They expect cars to be looking out for them, which isn’t always the case ,” Johnson noted. “We sent the message to them they also need to be looking out for cars.”
They also showed a short video, handed out safety lights, provided a safety booklet and taught hand signals to the students. Teachers liked the booklets and planned to review it with the kids in order to reinforce what they learned about the laws, she said.
“The more you present something to people, not just kids, but people (in general), the more the message gets through,” Johnson commented.
They received a positive reaction from the kids, she noted.
Ensign has a large number of bike riders, Johnson explained, which makes bicycle safety knowledge of “critical importance.”
Lodge members also teamed up with Newport Beach resident Carmen Lofgren who lost a son due to a bicycle accident. Lofgren donated about 35 helmets to students who didn’t have one, weren’t able to buy one or had a helmet that was in poor shape.
The group was able to conduct the presentation thanks to a Promise Grant that was awarded to the local lodge by the Elks National Association.
Elks National office gives all lodges opportunities to apply for specific grants, so the Newport Harbor group applied for the Promise Grant and received $2,500 to go toward the project. They determined the type of project they were interest in before applying for the grant. It was the first time they had applied for the Promise Grant.
“We used those funds to purchase the front and rear bicycle lights for the kids,” Johnson said.
The project falls right in line with the principles of Elks: Charity, justice, brotherly love, and fidelity, Johnson said.
For more information, visit newportelks.com.