Now that it’s spring, many people are getting their bicycles ready for riding. To help children learn about bike safety and make sure their bikes are safe to ride, the Sitka Bike Rodeo is the place to be from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, May 7, at the U.S. Coast Guard-Air Station Sitka hangar. This annual event is sponsored by the Coast Guard and the Rotary Club of Sitka.
A bicycle is a great way for a kid to experience the outdoors. A bike provides a child with mobility, which allows the child to explore and discover his or her surroundings. It also provides lots of healthy physical activity and helps the kids get outdoors to play.
The Sitka Bike Rodeo features a bike mechanic who can check each child’s bike to make sure it is safe to ride, a safety course where kids learn how to stop at traffic signals and watch for other traffic, a figure-eight course where kids develop bike-handling skills, and a hot dog stand. Event organizer James Diffin said he hopes to have a few helmets on hand so kids with unsafe helmets can have theirs replaced. To learn more about the Sitka Bike Rodeo and to volunteer, contact James at 747-3500.
Since it’s spring, here are a few bike safety rules for the kids:
- Wear a properly fitting bike helmet (click here to learn how to fit a helmet). Not only is it a good way to protect yourself from head injuries, Sitka has a youth helmet ordinance that requires all children age 18 or younger to wear helmets when they ride bikes, trikes, skateboards, scooters and similar vehicles.
- Right on the right side of the road, with traffic not against it. Older kids (age 11 and older) and adults should avoid riding their bikes on the sidewalks, especially downtown where there are lots of walkers (a bike can seriously injure an elder who doesn’t hear it behind him or her).
- Wear bright clothes and make sure you have a working solid white headlight and flashing red taillight on your bike, especially if you ride when it’s dark. Wear a reflective vest or arm bands/leg bands, and put reflective tape on your clothes and/or bike frame so it’s easier for drivers to see you on the bike.
- Know the rules of the road, and follow them. Stop at all stop signs and stop lights. Ride in a safe, predictable manner so cars know where you’re going. Use hand signals for all turns. Yield to traffic when appropriate.
- Check your bike before riding it, especially the ABCs — Air (tires have the right amount of air), Brakes (the brakes work and will stop your tire so it skids on the pavement) and Chain (make sure the chain is the right tension and there are no damaged links, oil if necessary).
- For more bike safety rules for kids, click here.