EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WEHT) – Stop signs and school buses are easily recognizable on the roads yet so many drivers choose to ignore both. An Evansville woman and her motorcycle club have had enough and are putting on a fundraiser for cameras to be installed on school bus stop arms.
The Roughnecks Motorcycle Club (RMC) is a non-profit, independent and charity-oriented organization whose goal is to raise awareness for public safety. Lydia Johnston-Bell along with her RMC and ARC lanes is hosting the STOP for our Kids bowling fundraiser to raise over $7600 for the cameras and the installation.
Lydia Johnston-Bell is a retired Army medic and healthcare worker. Her inspiration for the fundraiser came when she was sitting in her sun room and witnessed a driver passing a stopped school bus while a young girl boarded the bus.
Lydia couldn’t help but think what if that was her stepson trying to cross the street to load a school bus and a driver would ignore the bus’s stop sign. That’s when she started her research into if school bus cameras are permissible in a court of law and how drivers would be prosecuted.
“Two cameras being put on two schools buses where the highest number of incidents occur. School bus drivers have been asking for this a very long time. Their goal is to get children to and from school safely and they care about these kids so much,” says Johnston-Bell. “The cameras would at very least be a deterrent. In half of the states, a school bus camera is impermissible in courts because it is not a law enforcement camera. However, in a court of a law in Indiana, it is and violators can have their driver’s license revoked.”
Over 200 children were killed in the U.S. by drivers not stopping for school buses with many more injured and many close calls in 2019. That research led Lydia bringing up the idea of a fundraiser to her RMC.
Participants can gather a team to bowl and find sponsors to raise money for the cameras. It costs two teams of six to sign up for $122 which ends up being $20.30 a person. There is a $200 prize for the bowler who knocks down the most pins and the prize will be split if there is more than one winner.
Teams need to be signed up by April 30. Money will be collected 21 days of the final tally.
Each team can have up to six people. Each team member gets a minimum of two sponsors who pledge at least a quarter for each pin the team member knocks down or family and friends can pledge an amount if a bowler knocks down a set number of pins.
A team of bus drivers as well as teams from Tennessee and Ohio have signed up to compete. The fundraiser was going to be held on March 26 but has been changed to May 7 to accommodate more teams.
Two local businesses sponsoring teams are Craftastic and American Family Insurance. Any business who wants to sponsor a team can contact Lydia at email@example.com or call her at (210) 781-9531.
“I hope more businesses will reach out and be sponsors,” says Johnston-Bell.
The STOP for our Kids fundraiser will be May 7 at Arc Lanes from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m.