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As Biking Popularity Grows, so Must the Spotlight on Safety
Date:6/5/2009

Independence Blue Cross Offers Helmet Reimbursement for Safer Bicycling

PHILADELPHIA, June 5 /PRNewswire/ -- Biking has become a popular means of transportation, exercise, recreation, and sport in Philadelphia, where thousands of spectators are gearing up to watch the 2009 Philadelphia Cycling Championship, known to locals as the Manayunk Bike Race, this weekend. No doubt partially spurred by higher gas prices and an increasing focus on living "greener," biking's popularity has exploded in the city by more than 100 percent over the last three years, with Philadelphians making nearly 75,000 bicycle trips a day, according to the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia's 2008 report. Yet the same report estimates that only 31 percent of riders in Center City are wearing bike helmets.

Independence Blue Cross (IBC) encourages everyone in the community to wear helmets while biking. To stress the importance of safety and promote physical fitness, IBC offers each member of a family in its Healthy Lifestyles(R) program up to $25 toward the purchase of a bike helmet.

About 540,000 bicyclists across the country go to emergency rooms with injuries every year, according to the Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute, and, of those, roughly 67,000 have head injuries.

"Our number one focus is wellness. We encourage our members to stay fit by staying active and bike riding is excellent exercise," said Dr. Es Nash, senior medical director at IBC. "We also promote safety and advise members to wear helmets. A fall off a bike on a city street, a trail path, or a suburban sidewalk can be dangerous, but a sturdy helmet lessens the risk of injury."

Dr. Nash added, "Too often, when I see families bike riding together, the kids are wearing helmets but the parents aren't! Parents, please - use our Healthy Lifestyles reimbursement to get a helmet so you're setting a good safety example for yo
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SOURCE Independence Blue Cross
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