‘Rodeo’ teaches bicycle safety
A rodeo was held at Lansing Community Center and City Hall on Monday night, but there were no bulls or clowns to be seen. This was a bike rodeo, where children could have their bicycles registered with the police department and checked for safety.
The event was sponsored by Lansing Cub Scout Pack 3165 and the Lansing Police Department.
The rodeo fit in with the Scouts' mission, Cub master Karl Gibson said, because it was all about "learning to be safe and good citizens." While the bike rodeo was going on, new and returning Scouts were signed up in the Community Center. Gibson said 89 boys signed up. Cub Scouts, part of Boy Scouts of America, is a program for boys in first through fifth grades.
Officers Sundae Holler, Michael Heuer and Billy Blackwell II registered children's bikes, checked brakes and ensured each had adequate reflectors.
Gibson thought up the event and Holler organized it, including a table of treats as rewards for the children who came. Goodies included various Kansas City Royals baseball cards, reflective bike tape, Lansing Police "badge" stickers, a coloring book full of bike safety tips, candy and a list of basic safety rules compiled by Holler.
Holler estimated that 40 bikes were registered. She said she doesn't see much in the way of safety or road violations by young bicycle riders in Lansing, but once in a while she stops a child.
"Sometimes they assume no car is coming (when turning or crossing a street) or they don't stop at a stop sign. I stop them and tell them they have to follow the rules like everyone else on the road," Holler said.
Den leader Drew Brickson said the event provided the additional benefit of familiarizing children with police officers so that they can feel comfortable approaching officers in the future.
In addition to registering their bikes and having them checked for safety, children who came learned how to make proper hand signals when turning and stopping. Officer Wilfred Richards watched as each child rode through a pylon course in the City Hall parking lot and practiced hand signals. Richards gave constructive criticism as each went through.
At the end of the course, Capt. Ben Ontiveros, who also is an assistant Boy Scout leader, quizzed each child on the proper signal for different maneuvers and other rules of the road for bicyclists, such as stopping at intersections and looking both ways.
Shawn Wagner brought his sons, Luke, 7, and Paul, 9, for both the Scout registration and the bike rodeo. Wagner was a Cub Scout as a child and said he was pleased his boys decided to join on their own initiative.
"I didn't encourage them; they wanted to do it," he said. Wagner's sons had learned of the event at school and brought home the Scout magazine "Boy's Life."