Beaverton Bicycle Safety Fair
The first Beaverton Bicycle Safety Fair was introduced to coincide with National Bicycle Safety Week. First conceived in 1995 by Bruce Buffington, founder and first volunteer chairman of the event, the safety fair was introduced by the City of Beaverton Police Department in partnership with the Beaverton Optimist Club.This historic week-long Bicycle Safety Program offered something for everyone:
- A U.S. Cycling Federation-sanctioned Criterium bicycle race officially kicked-off the event.
- A self-guided 2.5-mile tour through Old Town Beaverton and a longer family-friendly 8.5-mile ride included stops at historic sites.
- Terry Sherbeck of the Portland Wheelmen Touring Club (PWTC) led the Kansas City Loop ride that left from Beaverton High School and included a 33 or 54-mile option.
- A bicycle skills rodeo was offered to kids under 12 years old. Prizes were available for events that included mounting and balancing, balancing at slow speeds, riding controlled in a straight line, stopping in emergencies, maneuvering and weaving, circling, signaling in traffic, and making tight turns.
- Free bicycle registration was offered. Serial numbers and identifying information were entered into the police computer to aid in recovery in the event a bike was stolen; the Beaverton Police waived the usual $3 fee.
- Free maps and brochures were given out that highlighted Beaverton’s history.
- Ray Thomas, a local Portland Attorney and editor for Oregon Cycling Magazine, conducted a Legal Clinic giving tips on how cyclists can take motorists to court, the rules of the road, how to document accidents or injury and how to compile evidence. The free legal clinic was held at the Elsie Stuhr Adult Leisure Center.
- Bicycle helmets also were checked for safety requirements and education materials were provided free of charge. The concept of giving free helmets to the needy on a regular basis was fairly new to the event. The Beaverton Police Department offered the helmets free to Beaverton residents; however, the helmets received through the OHSU Think First program required a $5 donation be collected for each helmet to defray the cost.
Helmet Committee Formed
With Niki Hilton at the helm as PWTC President, the Wheelmen formed their helmet committee. The subsequent Beaverton Bicycle Safety Fair program was the proud recipient of donated helmets. PWTC, along with the Beaverton Optimist Club, Beaverton Police Department, and Beaverton Fire Department continue to donate helmets.The first PWTC Helmet Committee coordinators included Jerry Smith, Bruce Buffington, Clive Miller, and Howard Reid. The program continues to serve people in need, not only through safety fairs throughout the year, but to west side and east side residents alike.
Special thanks to Mike Morrison, a Registered Nurse for Legacy Health Foundation’s Trauma Nurses Talk Tough Program, for providing a special outlet for everyone to obtain good quality helmets.
With budget cuts in place, the Bicycle Safety Fair was not funded for 2 years; however, rides and helmet distribution continued to be offered through PWTC.
NW Bicycle Safety Council Formed
Bruce Buffington is dedicated to bicycle safety education. Taking up cycling in his mid-40s, Bruce had a “head vs. pavement” incident that reinforced the importance of helmets and led to a lifelong commitment to safety. Bruce is adamant that, with so many sharing the road, motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians must know how to look out for one another. Consequently, just prior to retirement he founded NW Bicycle Safety Council (NWBSC), a nonprofit corporation, to advocate safety and harmony between cyclists and all who use the road.
NW Bicycle Safety Council Receives 501(C)3 Status
NWBSC is officially a nonprofit! Bruce Buffington’s goals included minimizing injuries and deaths by educating cyclists about safe gear, safe riding, and overall road safety; promoting awareness of traffic laws and rules of the road, and strengthening social ties through cycling-related programs and events.To this end, Bruce has not only acted as founder and president of NWBSC, but he has successfully directed and hosted a monthly local cable television program about bicycle safety. His shows feature cycling enthusiasts who are experts in various fields, including medicine, politics and, of course, cycling.
NWBSC has also been instrumental in implementing community bicycle safety programs, including children’s skills rodeos, helmet fittings, and senior citizen riding clinics. Working with the PWTC and Legacy Health Foundation’s Trauma Nurses Talk Tough Program, NWBSC helped more than 5,000 children and adults receive free helmets.
Bruce Buffington, President of NWBSC, worked with an amazing group of people who gave their time and expertise over several years on the Washington County Visitors Association (WCVA) Scenic Bikeway Committee to establish a scenic bikeway in Washington County.
The original scenic bikeway application was submitted in 2009 and was designated by Oregon State Parks as the 10th scenic bikeway 3 years later. Accolades were given to Bruce by the Board Chair at the grand opening of the bikeway for his initial vision and pursuit to accomplish this endeavor.
Working with PWTC and Legacy Health Foundation’s Trauma Nurses Talk Tough Program, Beaverton Police Department, and the Beaverton Optimist Club, NWBSC continues to provide more than 15,000 helmets to children and adults.
To commemorate reaching a helmet give-away count of 10,000, Bruce Buffington fit Beaverton Mayor Dennie Doyle’s granddaughter with a new helmet during the annual Bike Beaverton event.
NWBSC’s executive board accepts Bruce Buffington’s request to step down as President while still assuming many of the same roles he had in the past. The new president of NWBSC, Ann Morrow, is not only an experienced cyclist with the same interests and concerns for education and safety, she has co-hosted Cycology Today for many years and is the Vice President of PWTC. Her intention is to continue to pursue Bruce’s vision for the organization. The coming year will be full of community activities, exciting television shows, and continued focus on bicycle safety.