Approximately 540,000 cyclists visit emergency rooms with injuries each year; 784 die on the road; Non-Denominational Event to Bestow Blessings for Safe Riding and Healing
LOS ANGELES (March 16,2007) – Good Samaritan Hospital, with support from the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition, the Los Angeles Department of Transportation, The Bicycle Kitchen, and the Los Angeles Metropolitan Authority, will host its 4th Annual West Coast Blessing of the Bicycles on Tuesday, May 15th in observance of Bike to Work Week and National Bike Month. The event will also honor Angelinos who use alternative modes of transportation to go to work such as bicycles and the transit system. As part of the non-denominational event, several religious leaders will impart blessings in the service for cyclists to continue their safe ride to and from work and/or school.
“The Blessing of the Bicycles has truly evolved to become a tradition in downtown Los Angeles since its inception in 2004,” says Andrew B. Leeka, president and CEO of Good Samaritan Hospital and an avid cyclist. “Through this event, we would like to focus the attention not only on the health benefits of bicycling but also bring the attention to the safety precautions that should be practiced by cyclists and drivers as they share the road together.”
According to the Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute, 784 bicyclists died in traffic crashes in the US in 2005 and more than half a million bicyclists visit emergency rooms with injuries every year. In California, more than 11,000 cyclists were injured and more than 120 were killed according to a data from the California Highway Patrol.
As cyclists gather in the circular driveway outside the hospital (on 616 S. Witmer Street and Wilshire Blvd.), religious leaders from different faiths will share their thoughts and wishes for continued safe riding throughout the week and the whole year. Cyclists will be invited to take a memorial lap around the hospital to salute the healing in the facility and to remember those who were injured in bicycle accidents. The event will also provide a free bike safety check so participants can get their bikes checked before leaving for work.
First opened in 1885, Good Samaritan Hospital is a 408-bed tertiary care facility offering some of the most comprehensive care in Los Angeles. Specializing in cardiac services, women’s services, orthopedics, oncology, and ophthalmology, Good Samaritan Hospital offers Cardiology and Cardiothoracic Surgery, Neurosciences program featuring the Gamma Knife radiosurgery, Opthalmologic Program including Retinal Surgery, Orthopedic Surgical Program including Sports Medicine, Oncology Program using the latest in radiation therapy – IMRT and HDR, Kidney Stone services, Samaritan Imaging Center, Transfusion-Free Medicine and Surgery Center, and Emergency Services.