Attending the bike safety event, from the left, are Alicia Johnson, 7, her big sister Ronicia Meyers, Honeylette Brotonel, M.D., Michael Altman, M.D., and Kendrick Watkins, M.D.
Attending the bike safety event, from the left, are Alicia Johnson, 7, her big sister Ronicia Meyers, Honeylette Brotonel, M.D., Michael Altman, M.D., and Kendrick Watkins, M.D.

No one has to tell Ronicia Meyers why it is important to wear a bicycle helmet.

“When I was 9, I ran into a parked car and ended up with hairline fractures in my right arm and right leg,” Meyers said. “I can see why helmets are important.”

Consequently, Meyers made sure her little sister Alicia Johnson attended a recent bike safety program organized by the family and community medicine residents at McGovern Medical School. It was held at Osborne Elementary School on Houston’s North Side.

In addition to getting bike safety tips, Johnson and her Osborne classmates were fitted for free bicycle helmets. Two lucky students went home with free bikes.

“Bike riding is a lot of fun but accidents can occur,” said family medicine resident Kendrick Watkins, M.D., who organized the event along with Honeylette Brotonel, M.D. “The helmets reduce your risk of head injury.”

In 2010 in the United States, 800 bicyclists were killed and an estimated 515,000 sustained bicycle-related injuries that required emergency care, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Yet, the CDC reports, less than half of all bike riders wear helmets.

The bike helmet giveaway was organized in conjunction with the Texas Medical Association’s Hard Hats for Little Heads program, which has given away more than 235,000 helmets to Texas children since 1994.

The helmet giveaway is one of several community outreach projects organized by the residents annually.