Bicycling is a wonderful exercise, great for the environment and a good excuse for people to get together and enjoy productive time together as a group. The upsides of riding are incredible. Fun, increased health benefits, weight loss all result from bicycling. The sport does, however, have some downsides and they can be significant. The good news is that in large part the downsides of bicycling can be mitigated.
As local news stories repeatedly attest, bicyclists are often hit by motor vehicle drivers in all areas of Clark County. The unfortunate fact is that much of the time, the most catastrophic accidents involve a careless, inattentive, or speeding motor vehicle driver hitting a child on a bicycle and killing him or her. Unsurprisingly, children comprise the majority of cyclists. Equally obvious is the difficulty that their small physical stature often poses in allowing drivers to see them in time to avoid hitting them. Unfortunately, national statistics relevant to this issue are showing a disturbing trend. Cyclist/Motor Vehicle-related fatalities are on the rise. Experts attribute this to several factors, in particular, the use of cell phones and the growing prevalence of inattentive driving.
Making A Difference
Tired of the constant deluge of negative cycling related news and wishing to make a positive difference in the lives of Clark County children, a core group of individuals decided to combine their passion for cycling and community outreach and founded Breakaway Cycling in July of 2016. Along with a key group of friends and supporters, the team president, Joanna Piette, believed it critical at the outset that the group identifies the core values and principles Breakaway would seek to promote. The initial discussions quickly revealed that a substantial amount of team energy and resources should be directed to charitable endeavors. It was decided that while Breakaway should be committed to serious, competitive cycling, major efforts should also be made toward advancing the charitable goals and values stated in Breakaway’s Mission Statement.
To date, Breakaway Cycling has donated over five hundred bicycles and over one thousand helmets to underprivileged children in the Clark County School District. Breakaway also assists CCSD by offering various bike safety education programs and helping less fortunate kids obtain locks to secure their bikes against theft. In short, the work Breakaway does is absolutely wonderful. They enrich the lives of less fortunate children and provide them access to an item that most children simply take for granted. To borrow a phrase from my mother “they do the Lord’s work.” Regardless of one’s religious affiliation or lack thereof, I think you can see – and hopefully agree with – her point.
To assess the impact that Breakaway Cycling is making with their outreach let’s take a look at just one component of their children’s safety program. As cited above, to date Breakaway has provided over one thousand helmets to low-income children. So, what you might ask. I would respond by showing you a well-accepted, peer-reviewed, 2016 comprehensive study done by Australian scientists which drew data from more than forty separate studies which all showed that bicycle helmet use was associated with dramatically reduced odds of head injuries. The evidence was overwhelming. The study showed that helmets reduce the risk of a serious head injury by nearly 70%. Presented at a 2016 international safety and injury prevention conference in Finland the findings fully substantiate Australian legislation which requires cyclists to wear helmets.
I could go point by point with each of the items that are part Breakaway’s educational and charitable Mission Statement and show how the team’s efforts are almost certainly at the very least preventing young cyclists from being seriously injured or even killed. Given the sheer scale on which Breakaway provides safety training and equipment, it appears beyond reasonable dispute that the volunteer team members of the cycling club are making a substantial difference for the better in our community.
It is because of this that the lawyers and staff at Oronoz and Ericsson are proud to support Breakaway Cycling. We are constantly asked to support various causes but to date have found none as deserving and as committed to positive public outreach as Breakaway Cycling. We have no doubt that all funds that we have donated have been used wisely and would encourage others in the strongest possible manner to support this incredibly worthwhile non-profit.