Bicycle Rodeo Promotes Safety
The rain did not hinder the first bicycle rodeo nor dampen the smiles of the children who excitedly navigated through each station at the downtown gazebo in Olney Saturday, May 4. Chris Garcia and Michelle Welsh organized the event in partnership with the local American Legion Post 414; they felt it was necessary to make sure the children in the community are safe while riding their bikes during the summer.
Garcia explained the purpose of all five stations as we walked through. He said, “The first station is the check station where the riders make sure their bike is in working order. I check the tires to make sure they are inflated properly. I check their helmet to determine if it fits properly.” Garcia explained that the second station reviews hand signals and street signs. “Bikers must follow the same traffic laws as car drivers,” he said.
Organizer Michelle Welsh was in charge of station three that reviewed the rules of the road. Welsh said, “Bikers should wear tight clothing and tennis shoes; wearing flip-flops will cause you to lose traction on your pedals. Also, bikers should keep their hands on the handlebars unless they are using hand signals.” Welsh reminded bikers about the proper way to cross the street. “You must get off your bike and actually walk it across the street. Don’t listen to headphones or text and bike. Follow the rules of the road just as cars do,” she said.
Station four was set up to test the participants’ knowledge, and station five was a mini obstacle course. Garcia said, “[The obstacle course] is a great way to make sure the children can control their bike. The last thing you want to do is put someone in the street who doesn’t know how to stop properly or avoid vehicles. The children could also test their skills on the obstacle course.”
One of the new Olney Police Officers, Steven Pruett, was on standby to offer advice to the younger cyclists. Also, some of the volunteer fireman, first responders and members of the American Legion 414 post also provided safety tips and commented on the importance of following the rules of the road when traveling on two wheels.
Chris Widner with Gravel Roads Band played tunes that kept the children and parents on their feet.
The gazebo was filled with prizes that were donated by various individuals and businesses.