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Shining A Light On Bike Safety: Helmets and Lights Offered to…


first_imgBy John BurtonRED BANK – Local business owner Dean Ross continues to “Shine a Light” on cyclist safety for the community.On Monday, Ross joined other members of Monmouth Reform Temple, a Jewish Reform Congregation located in Tinton Falls, to install front and rear bicycle lights and offer safety helmets as part of his “Shine the Light” program.Since last May, Ross and his fellow congregants, working with representatives from St. Anthony of Padua Roman Catholic Church, 121 Bridge Ave., and with the assistance of local community activist David Prown, have been offering to install the battery-operated lights on bikes for anyone. It’s been largely members of the Hispanic community who have come by the church to take advantage of it.The group installed 16 light sets on bikes during the two-hour period Monday evening, despite the chilly and rainy weather which may have kept some away, Ross acknowledged.“We had a pretty good turnout,” despite the weather, Ross said.Ross and his group have conducted their Shine the Light program on five occasions since last May, installing lights on approximately 200 bikes.He believes this is making things a little safer for those who rely on bicycles for their primary means of transportation, likely sparing riders injuries or worse.Jay Wiesenfeld was one of the volunteers from Monmouth Reformed Temple who installed bike lights.Ross is a Lincroft resident who owns and operates Red Bank’s Doc Shoppe shoe store, 43 Broad St., and co-owns the Bagel Oven, 72 Monmouth St. He said he got the idea when he was driving along Highway 35 one evening and “I saw a bicycle go across me in the dark, no light,” dodging traffic. Subsequently he then noticed the number of cyclists riding along the busy Newman Springs Road, with people on bikes competing with speeding vehicles.A majority are Hispanic and many were riding home at night, working in local restaurants, often dressed in black clothing, as required for their jobs. And then, “The light bulb went off in my head,” with the idea, he remembered.Ross had about 75 lights available Monday evening. He has been covering the cost of the lights, buying them online, explaining the company provides a discount for them, given this is a charitable effort.Donated safety helmets are distributed for those who need them, Ross said, indicating they had about a dozen available on Monday.Ross ties this effort in with his temple’s Mitzvah Day efforts, where congregants participate in community service, and is coordinated with St. Anthony’s considerable social needs outreach efforts for the Hispanic and the larger community.The program is held to coincide with St. Anthony’s food pantry service, which the church conducts on Monday’s, according to Ross.“We have to address the helmets and safety things, the safety things,” for community members, Ross said.Arthur Fama, a St. Anthony’s deacon, spoke of the program’s clear benefits. “No question in my mind this is making things safer,” he said, noting when he leaves the church in the evening, “You can see the lights in the neighborhood.”Ross hopes to extend the program to Freehold and then possibly Long Branch, two communities with large Hispanic communities and many bike riders. The program will return to St. Anthony’s on June 6, from 5-7 p.m.“You know,” Ross said, mulling over his response to the question of why he undertook this effort, “we’re only on this earth for a short time and if I can help a few people…” he finished, leaving it open ended.last_img

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