Bike rodeos encourage cycling safety

Central Okanagan elementary students in Grades 2 to 5 learn the rules of the road when bicycling.

  • Apr. 28, 2016 7:00 p.m.

The City of Kelowna bike rodeo program teaches students in Grades 2 to 5 about bike safety

For the eighth year, the Bike Rodeo program is making its way through elementary schools around the Central Okanagan. Designed for Grades 2 to 5, the program teaches students about bike safety, maintenance and rules of the road.

“We want to reach students at an early age to provide them with bike safety and education basics that they can build upon with help from their family,” said Mike Kittmer, active transportation coordinator for the Central Okanagan.

Students participating in a bike rodeo ride through a course that simulates a road environment where they are able to try new skills such as obstacle avoidance, roadway scanning, hand signals, stopping and starting, and turning.

Each student’s bike is checked over by a professional bike mechanic and students’ helmets are fitted and positioned properly to ensure they are effective and safe.

Students also go home with a check-list of cycling skills and rules of the road to discuss with their parents. Families are encouraged to continue to build on the basic skills taught during the rodeos, and to provide children with opportunities to practice cycling in a safe, comfortable environment.

Families can learn more about cycling skills and rules of the road by visiting Bike Sense BC (bikesense.bc.ca/), an online safety and operations manual for cycling in British Columbia.

Regional traffic safety officer Dave Gibson has been involved in delivering this successful and well-received program to area schools since it began in 2008.

Gibson says the program contributes to the early development of safe and responsible bicyclists and helps to cut down on vehicles arriving at school sites transporting students.

“They can transport themselves and get a bit of exercise at the same time,” Gibson said.

Bike rodeos are a great lead up to Bike to Work and School Week, May 30 to June 3. Registration is now open and residents are encouraged to participate in this highly anticipated community event! Cycle to work or school with colleagues, family or friends and enjoy Celebration Stations along the way, all week.

For more information about bike rodeos and Bike to Work Week, please visit smartTRIPS.ca.

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