Sunday cartoon: The Safe & the Serious campaign

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BURRILLVILLE – With the warmer weather upon us, it’s time to remind those of you who own dirt bikes about the importance of riding safely and avoiding dangerous situations.

Riding unregistered dirt bikes on any street, road or highway is not only dangerous, it’s illegal. I see dirt bikes ridden by my home on various occasions, and on backroads while I’m traveling for my work or headed to-and-from area car shows and cruise nights. There are no visible license plates and that’s an indication that the dirt bike is unregistered.

Another dangerous dirt bike situation involves riding in wooded areas, state-owned parks and on private property. This type of riding is not only dangerous for dirt bike riders, it is also harmful to the wild life animals and the natural environment – and t’s illegal. If caught, you could be arrested, lose your dirt bike by confiscation and pay hefty court costs and fines. Our environment and the animals that live in the woods, parks and forests are at risk of damage and harm by individuals that think riding dirt bikes on these lands and privately-owned properties is fun and exciting. These habitats are not race tracks or riding areas for dirt bikes.

If a rider is injured due to a fall, or crash, it is also very dangerous for any police officers and first responders that have to attempt to rescue these individuals that are far away from easy accessible areas. This puts them in harm’s way too. Never drink and ride dirt bikes. Only ride dirt bikes based upon your physical capabilities and never push yourself or take unnecessary risks that could ultimately injure you, or even potentially take your life. Never ride dirt bikes alone. Always buddy up and ride with others for safety. Bring a cell phone, water bottles to stay hydrated and a small first aid kit. Always let someone know where you are riding your dirt bike and set a time that you will return home. Do not ride dirt bikes at night, in the dark, even if you have headlights on them. Avoid letting passengers ride with you on your dirt bike, and never let anyone ride on the handlebars. Check your dirt bike often for normal wear-and-tear, and make sure that everything is replaced when needed. Do not push too hard when participating in dirt bike riding to avoid breakdowns and injuries. Check online to search for dirt bike tracks and off-road courses in this region and utilize these sanctioned facilities for dirt bike riding fun and activities.

Please keep everyone safer and stay off of public streets, roads and highways when riding dirt bikes. If for some reason you break the law and ride your dirt bike where you shouldn’t be riding one, and a police officer sees you, do not try to outrun or evade that police officer. Just pull over and own your mistake, and deal with the consequences. Attempting to run away will only put you, the police officer and the public in harm’s way. Ride safe, ride serious.

Some of my content readers, police officers, firefighters, first responders, teachers and public safety advocates have asked for older kids and teens safety content and also requested coloring posters and artwork for all ages once in awhile to compliment all of my kids content and coloring cartoons for child safety. From now on, you can occasionally find safety content and coloring posters and artwork for all ages geared towards older kids, teenagers and even adults, right here on my weekly Sunday features.

The Safe And the Serious Campaign is an award-winning traffic and vehicle safety campaign, which I founded. This campaign is partnered with, and supported by, the US Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Rhode Island Highway Safety Administration, Rhode Island State Police, Rhode Island Police Chiefs Association, Rhode Island Safe Kids Coalition, Massachusetts and Connecticut Police Departments, public safety agencies, child safety advocates and more.

Jim Weicherding is a Burrillville resident, and the founder and creator of an award-winning traffic safety effort Seasons of Safety. Weicherding contributes kids’ coloring cartoons, which can be printed and used to help parents discuss safety issues with their children. He has a long list of police officers and firefighters in his family and has worked with law enforcement and firefighters in a creative public safety capacity for more than two decades.

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