Friday, May 29, 2015

First annual Pincher Creek Bike Rodeo promotes safe cycling

^ MD of Pincher Creek Community Policing Officer RCMP Cst. Rodney LeGrow, Town of Pincher Creek Bylaw Officer John Herasemluk, and organizer/EMT/Firefighter Kate Feist hand out positive affirmation tickets to young cyclists wearing the gear at the Pincher Creek Bike Rodeo

Toni Lucas

The first annual Pincher Creek Bike Rodeo happened in the MCC Arena on Thursday evening May 28, allowing young cyclists from 76 families to avoid the drizzle outside and concentrate on learning more about how to signal, navigate turns, read road signs, and be aware on the road, no matter how rough or rocky.  The kids had a lot of fun with the novelty of riding their bikes inside the arena and having a hot dog and juice picnic indoors.  One of the highlights of the event was when the winners of the 'Wear the Gear' bicycle draw were announced.  The day was a collaborative effort put on by Pincher Creek Emergency Services, local RCMP Officers, Pincher Creek Bylaw, Napi Friendship Association, Brighter Futures, Parent Link, and a dedicated band of volunteers working together to  make Pincher's young cyclists safer.

18 month old Felix goes through with Grandpa Jim Adamson's help
Every child who participated had their bicycle inspected, including a quick tune up if required. Their helmets were checked to see if they fit correctly, and they learned what is a proper fit.  Then they were shown how to make proper hand turn signals. Preschoolers had their own track with age-appropriate challenges.  Older children had a more involved track and were guided by arrows. Uniformed volunteers were at several stations to check if the cyclists used their hand signals and observed the rules of the road.  The course had turns, stops, obstacles, and lumber was laid out to simulate a rough road.

Helmet-ready: Zachary, William and Hunter
A highlight that drew children out into the light rain outside was when a Pincher Creek Fire Engine arrived and was parked outside the back door of the arena.  Several children just had a good look while others climbed on, climbed in, and asked questions.

Lillian and Solen get advice from Kim Pearson and Mike Kambeitz
"It promotes save riding habits," said Town of Pincher Creek Bylaw Officer John Herasemluk, a volunteer who helped kids through the more challenging course.  He explained that learning good bicycle safety and awareness at this stage in a child's life promotes good habits that will serve them well when they are on the road as drivers later in life.

Organizer and EMT Kate Feist was busy throughout the event.  She was delighted at the huge turnout and said "It is supposed to be fun and educational." She believes that the day increased participants' knowledge and understanding of bicycle safety while building positive interactions between children and all emergency services departments, while allowing a variety of organizations to work together, creating a stronger community network.

Chase and Zoe are STOPped by Parent Link's Colette Sinnott and Jacqui Bennett-Bruns
The course for younger children was primary staffed with people from Parent Link, Napi Friendship Association and Brighter Futures.  Parent Link's Jacqui Bennett Bruns  was also delighted with the number of kids who came, saying that any time they could create a situation where kids could have fun and also learn was a great day.

Hot dogs and juice at the arena drive-thru
The winners of the 'Wear the Gear' program were Gabriel Gorner and Alexia Boese.  They will be presented with bicycles donated by the Town of Pincher Creek at a later date.

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