Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Bicycle safety rodeo at Cape Coral charter schools

Kudos to everyone who helped with Saturday's successful bicycle safety rodeo in the Cape.  BikeWalkLee hopes that this example inspires others to host these important safety training events for school children in their communities.  Thanks to Caloosa Riders Bicycle Club for the photos.

More than 80 eager first through 5th graders learned the ABC's of  bicycle safety at the 3rd Annual Bicycle Safety Rodeo held at Oasis Elementary last Saturday morning.  The  event was sponsored by the City's Oasis Charter Elementary and Christa McAuliffe Charter Elementary schools.   BikeWalkLee helped get the Rodeo started and has been a sponsoring partner all three years. 

Dan Moser, certified bicycle safety instructor, led the training.  He is also the Injury Prevention Consultant for Lee County EMS (and BikeWalkLee steering group founding member).  Caloosa Bike Riders Club volunteers were at each of the training course stations providing hands -on help and encouragement. 

The Rodeo is a serious educational undertaking but its success is also due to the large element of fun that is built into the event.  Kids love to bike!  This mix once again proved to be a winning formula for kids, parents and trainers.

Hollywood Bicycle Center owner Rob Ossichak provided the free bike safety inspection, making sure each bike was safe to ride.  Loaner bikes were provided to any child who needed one, from the Lee County EMS trailer made available to Dan.

Lina Quintana of  Golisano  Children's Hospital  made sure each child had a property fitted helmet.  The Children’s Hospital donated a helmet to anyone who did not have one.  She was assisted by Mary Ossichak, of  Hollywood Bicycle Center.

Support for the Rodeo was provided by the Charter Schools Administrator, Dr. Angela Pruitt and the school principals:  Jacque Collins at McAuliffe Elementary and Steven Hook at Oasis Elementary.  Assistant Principal Kevin Brown coordinated planning for the schools and Alex Gomes was parent coordinator.  Teacher Wendy Hearyman headed up the effort at Christa McAuliffe.

 Each child was accompanied by at least one parent who provided some hands-on encouragement or cheered from the sidelines.  An estimate 125 children and adults were at the event. 

Stations at the Rodeo included: helmet-fitting, Rules of the Road, navigating through cones, hand signaling, starting and stopping, and avoiding road hazards.  The highlight of the Rodeo for many was the “the Snail Race” competition. ("How Slow Can You Go!"). 

Eight child-size donated bicycles were awarded to the winners in a free raffle. 

Businesses and organizations helping  make the Rodeo a success included:  Sandbill Realty Group Inc., SP Designs & MFG, Publix Super Markets, and Cape Coral Police Department.

 This event is believed to be the only school-sponsored and school-based Rodeo involving two elementary schools in Cape Coral. BikeWalkLee hopes this Rodeo can serve as an example of what could be done at all  elementary schools. To learn more about the Rodeo contact Steve Chupack at 239-218-8496  or schupack@bikewalklee.org. 

Report by Steve Chupack

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