Bike Safety 101
Take a drive on a summer day and you’re sure to find some kids riding their bicycles. Before that can happen, the kids need to learn about bicycle safety.
Now, some area kids can check that off their to-do list.
Just Like Home School Age Child Care, in collaboration with K-M Community Education and Project Kids, hosted the first Community Bike Rodeo on Wednesday, June 14 at Kasson’s Community Education building.
Jenny Carrier, Community Education Director, described the various activities that were available for the kids.
“They sit through a little bit of a presentation, then helmet check, and a bike check for tires and making sure it’s the right height, “ she said. “We also have six different obstacles that they ride their bikes through: watching out for obstacles, turn signals, cross walk, stopping and going, a slow race, and a figure- eight route.”
Marlo Bungum, co-Director and owner of Just Like Home SACC, said it’s hoped the event will become an annual event to promote bicycle safety for youngsters ages 4-14.
It’s a good thing this event only happens once a year, because Bungum said it took about that long to plan the community bike rodeo.
It was born out of Safe Routes to School Initiative, which was started over a year ago.
“Most of the funding will go towards infrastructure, but also there’s an educational component and that’s where tonight’s event comes in,” Bungum said.
Some of that education came from Peter Connor, Owatonna, a licensed cycling instructor and member of the Minnesota Bicycle Alliance.
He taught the kids various safety tips, such as wearing bright clothes and putting reflectors on the front and back of their bikes.
Bungum credited Connor with helping the group prepare for making bicycling more prominent in Kasson.
“He’s has gotten us excited about the possibility of creating a culture in the community that is more open to bicycling,” she said.
Members of the Knights of Columbus, reserve officers from the Kasson Police Department, high school students, and some elementary school gym teachers also helped with the event.
Carrier thanked Jesse Kasel, the Kasson-Mantorville School Resource Office, for helping get the Kasson Police Department involved.
“He has been a really great part of our team as we started putting this program together,” she said. “We also had a couple reserve officers come today along with Kent Berghuis who is our police chief in Kasson, and he’s an avid biker, so he was awesome for the bike check station.”
The event was also made possible through grants and donations from local businesses.
Thrivent Financial provided a $250 grant, Scheels All Sports and Walmart donated bicycles, Shopko Hometown donated bicycle helmets, and Culligan of Kasson donated water.
Carrier said she was happy that so many people came out to learn about bike safety.
“We have about 50 kids tonight, and with their parents that puts us over 100 people,” she said.
Having 100 people attend is a good start. But, she said, there are still ways the event can improve.
“We’re really happy with the turnout,” she said. “It’s a great activity, and hopefully we can make it bigger and better next year.”