North Dakota second graders on a mission to change bike helmet laws

Good Day Dakota

North Dakota has no laws that require children to wear bike helmets, but one local second grade class is working to change that.

Some states require children to wear a helmet until the age of 18. North Dakota is one state that doesn’t have any laws requiring children to wear helmets when riding their bikes.

Beth Anderson’s second grade class has been working to make a difference in the community.

They have done extensive research and have been working on this project for months and soon it will be presented to local officials, hopefully to change the law.

Miller Elementary’s second grader Fynley Glinz says, “It only takes one time to get in an accident and to wear your helmet. It only takes one time for you to get hurt.”

Fynley is one of 19 students at Miller Elementary who have been working on changing the laws of bike helmet safety in North Dakota. Wearing a helmet is encouraged by Bismarck and Mandan police and they give out coupons for free ice cream to kids wearing their helmets. But there aren’t any consequences for not wearing one– which these kids don’t think is enough.

Miller Elementary School second grade teacher Beth Anderson says, “Our community of kids decided that they wanted to solve the problem in a few different ways– and so we gave them voice in choice in deciding on how we thought we could solve this community problem because now it’s changed from making a law to them just wanting kids to wear more helmets.”

These kids put in a lot of work. They surveyed over 800 students and found that 52% of students don’t wear a helmet. They sent persuasive letters out to the community and talked to Bismarck Mayor Steve Bakken, Senator Erin Oban, and other organizations to try to find the best way possible to make a difference.

Anderson says, “We have a group of kids that want to create a billboard and we have been lucky enough to have Newman signs and iDigital has been here and given them feedback on that as well. We also have a group that has a created a slideshow because they feel like that can be shared out to community. We have a group of kids that wants to create posters that could be hung around bike trails and areas around the community, and we also have kids that are redesigning helmets— to try and address the problem of them being too hot, uncomfortable, and just not cool anymore.”

They’re even making a commercial for their upcoming presentation. Threefold, a professional media company, came in to help–and was pretty shocked with how well they were prepared.

Threefold Media Company MAKER Adam Kempenich says “They had a lot of really interesting questions that I didn’t expect. Everything from– I was asked should we shoot this outdoors? What location should we film this on? Should we film this on a greenscreen?”

“The biggest thing I want everyone to remember is these kids came from them to the very start through the entire process,” says Anderson.

Glinz adds, “It’s important for kids to wear helmets because grownups have harder heads than kids, so kids have a better chance at getting hurt from it.

They will be presenting all their hard work on March 25th at Miller Elementary.

Address: Miller Elementary, 1989 N. 20th St.

Time: 2:00 p.m.

RSVP email: beth_anderson@bismarckschools.org

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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