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Mesa FD reminding bicyclists to wear helmets

MESA, Ariz. -- With all the nice weather the Valley has been having, Mesa firefighters are worried that too many bike riders, including children, aren't protecting themselves.

Mesa Fire Captain Forrest Smith thinks going without a helmet is strange.

"We tend to protect our laptops and our iPads and our cell phones from being broken," said Smith. "We have to do the same thing when it comes to our heads [by] making sure we're wearing the right gear to protect [them]."

Smith also said that when you're riding a bike, you need to make sure that the clothing you're wearing can help people see you.

"I have to assume that somebody doesn't see me and that they're out to hit me," he said. "You have to wear something that's highly visible for drivers on the street."

He said it is imperative that parents make sure their kids are wearing a helmet and are fully protected when riding their bikes.

"Anything where you're able to obtain any type of speed and the child's not wearing their helmet can result in that child having some type of traumatic brain injury as a result of that child falling and hitting their head," said Smith.

Smith said he sees too many people, especially kids, riding bikes without helmets, and that's "a disaster that could be waiting to happen."

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About the Author


Years with the company: I started on January 2, 2006.

Education: I was born in San Antonio, Texas, but we moved to Phoenix when I was one-year-old in 1957. I grew up here and graduated from Alhambra High School and attended Phoenix College.

Family: I am married to my wife Rene', who is a librarian in the Washington school district. During free time, I may be found playing basketball in the driveway with my son, Devin. He's also keeping me busy with school, Little League, and playing in chess tournaments around the Valley.

Favorite food: Lots of favorite food, but our favorite restaurant is Fajitas.

Favorite spot in Arizona: The Little America Hotel in Flagstaff.

Favorite news memory: We have to go back to October 15, 1979. I was a country music air personality at KROP Radio in Brawley, California, when we had a 6.7 earthquake. Thankfully, there were no deaths and only minor injuries, but the entire community was pretty freaked out and listening to the station on their transistor radios. I would not want to go through an earthquake again, but it sure was a great night to work in radio and see how it can make a difference in people's lives.

First job: Working as a stringer for 'The Arizona Republic' at high school football games. My first real job was flipping burgers at the old Sandy's Hamburgers at 51st Avenue and Indian School Road. My first radio job was as announcer at KALJ radio in Yuma in 1977.

First concert: Doug Oldham gospel concert in the 1970s at the old East High School in Phoenix.

Favorite sports team: Phoenix Roadrunners minor league hockey. My dad took me to a game when I was in grade school, and I was hooked. I wanted to be a radio hockey play-by-play man. I used to take my cassette recorder and sit up in the rafters of the Coliseum and do play-by-play. It was great later in life to also take my son to Roadrunners games. Too bad the team just folded, I'll miss them. (Going to the Coyotes is fun, but they're not "my" team.)

Outside interests: My family and I are active in our church - Northern Hills Community Church in Phoenix. We enjoy going to movies, sporting events, and like to vacation at the Beach Cottages in the Pacific Beach area of San Diego. And I love to play catch, basketball, football with my son.

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