Local children of all ages, sizes and abilities enjoyed a warm summer afternoon in August at the First Annual Urbana Children’s Bike Rodeo.
Held at the Urbana District Park, the free event offered an obstacle course, lessons on safe riding and checks on bicycles and helmets for kids and their families. The event was sponsored by Urbana’s St. Ignatius Knights of Columbus, with assistance from the Frederick Police Department and the Urbana Volunteer Fire Department, The Green Valley YMCA and The Bicycle Escape of Walkersville.
Ben Willens, a member of the Knights of Columbus, proposed the idea and the Knights helped him develop the event. Jennifer Coppit from the YMCA came with some of her colleagues to help run the obstacle course and monitor bike activities. Police representatives showed children specific road rules and helped them practice proper hand signals for safer riding.
The owners of The Bicycle Escape, Tom and Danielle Rinker, brought equipment to help with bike tuneups and helmet adjustments. Others on hand to help with the event included Frederick Sheriff candidate Karl Bickel and Millicent Hall, candidate for Frederick County Board of Education, who brought her daughters Miranda, 7, and Emily, 4.
According the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, the three major causes of bicycle accidents for children are riding out of a driveway without stopping, failing to stop at signs and suddenly swerving without looking behind them.
Willens, a father of two, wanted to help his children and others learn techniques of safe bike riding. “I can’t be right there every second,” Willens said, “and I want to keep the kids safe.”
By all accounts, the event was a great success. “The kids seemed to really enjoy it,” Willens said, “and they learned the rules of the road, increased their skills and had fun.” After the bikers finished, they were rewarded with popsicles and sat in the shade to relax.
Willens is already thinking about next year and hopes to make it bigger and even more fun. For now, additional information on bicycle safety is available on the Frederick County Health Department website at www.frederickcountymd.gov.