Bike Rodeo features helmet fitting, safety lessons

Bike Rodeo features helmet fitting, safety lessons by M. Jill Karolevitz In conjunction with Bicycle Helmet Safety Month, the Vermillion Police Department is hosting a free Bike Rodeo May 19 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The event will take place at the west parking lot of Vermillion High School. It is open to pre-kindergarten through sixth-grade students. No pre-registration is necessary.

Participants who do not have bike helmets will receive one free on the day of the Bike Rodeo.

�The South Dakota Trial Lawyers Association has donated 50 helmets for us to give away during the Bike Rodeo,� said Vermillion Police Officer Maria Olson, a spokesperson for the event. �We will have several sizes available and will provide them to kids who don�t have them on a first come, first served basis.�

The day will begin with helmet fittings and adjustments for all participants, followed by a safety check of their bicycles. Minor repairs will be made if necessary. The participants will then take part in a bicycle obstacle course, designed to enhance their skills while riding a bike. Several �safety stations� will also be set up for participants to learn more about how to ride their bicycles responsibly.

Lunch will be provided at no charge by Hy-Vee Food Store. The menu includes hot dogs, chips and pop. Dairy Queen will also give participants certificates for a free treat.

In case of inclement weather, the Bike Rodeo will be held June 9.

As children become more mobile on bicycles with the approach of summer, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the US Consumer Product Safety Commission urges them to remember 10 simple rules for bicycle safety:

? Protect your head; wear a helmet. Bicycle helmets can reduce head injuries by 85 percent. Select a helmet that fits snugly and sits flat on the head.

? Assure bicycle readiness; make sure your bicycle is adjusted properly. Before using your bike, check to make sure all parts are secure and working well.

? Always check brakes before riding.

? See and be seen. Wear bright clothes that make you more visible.

? Avoid biking at night.

? Stay alert; always keep a lookout for obstacles in your path. Watch for potholes, cracks, expansion joints, railroad tracks, wet leaves, drainage grates or anything that could make you fall. Be especially careful in wet weather and when there could be ice or frost on your path.

? Go with the flow; the safe way is the right way. Ride on the right side in a straight, predictable path. Always go single file in the same direction as other vehicles. Riding against traffic puts you where motorists don�t expect you. They may not see you and may pull across your path, or turn into you.

? Check for traffic; always be aware of the traffic around you. Over 70 percent of car-bicycle crashes occur at driveways or other intersections. Before you enter any street or intersection, check for traffic. Always look left-right-left, and walk your bicycle into the street to begin your ride.

? Learn rules of the road and obey traffic laws. Bicycles are considered vehicles. Bicyclists must obey the same rules as motorists. Learn and follow all traffic signs, laws and rules for operating a vehicle on the road.

? Don�t flip over your bicycle; wheels should be securely fastened. If your bicycle has quick release wheels, it is your responsibility to make sure they are firmly closed at all times and to use the safety retainer if there is one.

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