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Hudson Valley Press

August 21st, 2014

Hudson Health Plan’s Bicycle Safety Rodeo

Seven-year-old Mason tackles the bike safety course under the direction of Warren Mastrogiovanni during Hudson Health Plan’s free Bicycle Safety Rodeo on Saturday, August 16, 2014, at Second Baptist Church in Middletown, NY. Hudson Valley Press/CHUCK STEWART, JR.
MIDDLETOWN - Many of us have fond childhood memories of the freedom of summer vacation; when the weather got warm, there was no more homework, and we had lots of time to spend any way we wanted. There was something liberating and invigorating about getting on our bikes and riding around the neighborhood with our friends.

Now, we bemoan the fact that our kids can’t have the same experience because it’s just not as safe as it was then. But thanks to Hudson Health Plan, Orange County parents who took their children to Hudson’s free Bicycle Safety Rodeo on Saturday, had the chance to learn safe bike riding practices. The rodeo will take place in the parking lot of Second Baptist Church, which collaborated with Hudson Health Plan to host the event.

Hudson Health Plan, an MVP Health Care® Company, has been running its popular bike safety rodeos in the lower Hudson Valley since 2007 to promote health and safety in the community. “We’d like to see more children riding bikes - safely, of course - and it would be great if mom and dad would join in too,” explains Mark Santiago, Vice President of Retail Operations at MVP Health Care. “Hudson and MVP stress three keys to maintain health: exercise, nutrition, and regular medical care. We will be talking to people about all three things at the rodeo, especially gaining access to health care through Hudson’s free or low-cost health insurance.”

Bike safety experts at the rodeo talk to the kids about the rules of the road, including riding with traffic, using hand signals, avoiding road construction and complicated intersections, and wearing bright clothing to be more visible to automobile drivers. Because head injuries are the most common cause of bike fatalities, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, they stressed helmet use, which can reduce head injury risk by 85 percent.

Safety inspectors also provided free bicycle inspections to check that the brakes work, the seat is at the right height, and the tires are in good shape. After the inspection, kids were able to demonstrate what they’ve learned by navigating their bikes on a mini-obstacle course, where they were expected to follow traffic signs, use turn signals, and keep an eye out for potential dangers. Those who completed the course received a AAA Certificate of Completion and a raffle ticket to win one of several free bicycles and helmets donated by Zen Martial Arts, Jim Moroney’s Cycle Shop, and Mavrix Motorsports. Additional helmets will be provided by Officer John Jones through the Orange County Traffic Safety Program.

To further ensure children’s safety, Operation Safe Child had Barbara Martinez and Robert Rushing from the Orange County Sheriff’s Office on-site for parents who wanted to make IDs for their children, which includes a photo, fingerprints, and information such as name, date of birth, eye and hair color, height, and weight. And to help children get the health insurance they need to protect their health, Hudson Health Plan’s Marketplace Facilitated Enrollers were available to speak to parents about insurance options for both children and adults.

“Many people don’t know that their uninsured children are likely to be eligible for free or affordable Child Health Plus insurance,” continues Mr. Santiago. “Adults also are surprised that they are newly eligible to apply for Medicaid because New York State has changed its eligibility guidelines.”

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