Youngsters get early lesson on bike safety

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RCMP Constable Jennifer Lepage helped young cyclists negotiate a safe biking course during a Bike Rodeo at the Bright Beginnings Family Centre on May 14.

Young bike riders in Swift Current will have a safer start to their cycling travels after learning the right way to ride during a Bike Rodeo on May 14.

Hosted as part of Bike Safety Week on May 12 to 18, approximately 50 youngsters benefited from learning the safest way to ride and being exposed to the rules of the road.

"It's a great opportunity for kids to learn the basic safety rules of riding a bike," explained Jenise Tisdale from the Bright Beginnings Family Centre.

The Bike Rodeo was a chance to teach young bike riders things like hand signals for stopping and turning right and left, steering around pylons to teach avoiding obstacles, and teach control by making the youngsters ride in a straight line between a row of pylons.

The event was a combined initiative between partners the City of Swift Current, Cypress Health Region, Bright Beginnings Family Centre, Family Resource Centre, Saskatchewan Prevention Institute (SPI) and the RCMP. Local businesses also showed their support by providing prizes and assisting with the family BBQ.

"It came together as such a huge community event. There's so many key community partners and I think it's fabulous," Tisdale said.

Children who learned bike safety, and continue to show safe riding habits, could have the opportunity to be rewarded for their good cycling behaviour. The Swift Current City RCMP, in conjunction with the Swift Current and District Drug Task Force, are beginning their Positive Ticketing Campaign during the Victoria Day Long Weekend. RCMP members spotting riders demonstrating safer skills and behaviours could be awarded a prize certificate for their actions.

The Saskatchewan Prevention Institute is reminding the public that cycles need to be aware of and respect other drivers on the road. They are also asking motorists to respect cyclists on the road and watch out for young riders.

SPI notes that the majority of cycling-related injures can be prevented by practicing safe cycling behaviours, following the rules of the road, and wearing a bike helmet. Statistically, one out of every three Saskatchewan children hospitalized with a bicycle-related injury suffers a head injury. However, helmet use reduces the risk of a head injury and brain injury by up to 85 per cent.

Organizations: Saskatchewan Prevention Institute, RCMP, Family Resource Centre Bright Beginnings Family Centre City of Swift Current

Geographic location: Swift Current, Saskatchewan

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