Troopers teach bike safety during back to school event

Peter Silas Pasqua
Derrick Sanders and Jamarion Stevenson are fitted with bike helmets by Office of Public Health coordinator Andrea Blunt during a back to school event at the Dream Center Thursday morning.

Malik Washington learned bike safety from Louisiana State Troopers Thursday morning during a back to school event at the Dream Center Church's west campus located at old Lowery Middle School.

Tpr. Sammy Robinson told participants it is important to have an adult with them when they ride bicycles and to come to a complete stop at stop signs and walk their bike across intersections.

"A lot of kids get injured and nobody really teaches them how to ride a bike," Sgt. Lanny Bergeron said. 

Bergeron said the bike safety campaign sponsored by the Louisiana State Police is year-around for anyone that requests it according to the troop each parish is located in.

For Bergeron of Troop A based out of Baton Rouge, the event that also coincided with the beginning of school, was also a homecoming after spending 15 years in the Lafayette unit.

"I went to Lowery Middle School," Bergeron said. "This is giving back to the community I grew up in."

Bergeron said there are more than 800 deaths a year on bicycles and wearing a helmet will prevent 85 percent of injuries associated with accidents.

Derrick Sanders got fitted for a helmet by Office of Public Health coordinator Andrea Blunt.

"A lot of kids ride bikes to school," said Dream Center youth pastor Matt Bourgeois. "It is just a good time to do this because everyone is getting prepared for school."

The Office of Public Health and Ascension Parish Health Unit also offered free immunizations.

"They are the ones who made all this happen," Bourgeois said. "This is all them. We just rent this facility from the school board so it really belongs to the community anyway. We just kind of opened the doors."

Office of Public Health nursing supervisor Jeannine Massey said each parish is offering shots required for students going back to school.

"We let them know when they get out for the summer but sometimes they still wait till the last second," Massey said.

Trooper Sammy Robinson explains bike safety to students Thursday morning.