Youngsters gain safety and skills at bike rodeo

Learning to bike – Cold and wet weather forced the young biking enthusiasts to move their  first “bike rodeo” in three years to the red rink at the Stettler Recreation Centre on Sunday

Learning to bike – Cold and wet weather forced the young biking enthusiasts to move their first “bike rodeo” in three years to the red rink at the Stettler Recreation Centre on Sunday

Children of the community showcased and enhanced their skills on the bicycle during the Stettler Children’s Bicycle Rodeo at Stettler Recreation Centre on May 30.

About 80 children from kindergarten to Grade 5 participated in the indoor event hosted by Healthy Empowered and Resilient Teens ((HEaRT) in partnership with Stettler Traffic Safety Committee and Heartland Youth Centre.

“Our committee members felt we needed a local safety program and campaign for children and bicycles and helmets,” said Loretta Lavallee, one of the organizers.

A bicycle rodeo was previously staged in Stettler three years ago, she noted.

“This gave the children the opportunity to perfect their bicycle skills for safety,” said Dawn Fryer.

Stettler RCMP and Stettler District Ambulance Society also participated in the event to inform children about the roles of these services in the community.

“It’s great that the children know about bicycle safety and helmets,” said Constable Dave Yome, a liaison with local schools.

“Police will be out this summer making sure people under 18 years old wear their helmets when riding a bicycle.

“We also remind motorists to be aware of cyclists of all ages along the roadways,” said Constable Yome,

Participants were fitted for their bicycles and helmets and were given lessons in the rules on the road and bike safety and injuries.

In the arena inside, the children tested their skills with volunteers filling in a safety checklist with suggestions if required.

Eight stations featured skills to practise balance, learn turns and balance while steering, check dangers without falling or swerving, prepare to enter a street from home, stop and proceed through intersections, maintain balance to avoid objects on the road, maintain balance while turning and how to stop in a safe and efficient manner.

With the registration fee, each child received a new helmet, as well.