Grade 3 students at Ponoka Elementary School were the first to take on the obstacle section of the course during their bike rodeo.

Grade 3 students at Ponoka Elementary School were the first to take on the obstacle section of the course during their bike rodeo.

Bike safety rodeo helps tune riding skills for Ponoka students

Rodeos of all kinds in Ponoka seem to turn out as a huge success.

Rodeos of all kinds in Ponoka seem to turn out as a huge success.

A bike rodeo was put on last week at all three local elementary schools as a way to fill a gap in public education for younger children.

Hosted by the Ponoka RCMP, Ponoka Fire Department (PFD) and the First Ponoka Scouts, the bike rodeo toured Ponoka Elementary School, Ponoka Christian School and St. Augustine School between May 30 and June 1 with a focus on how to ride bicycles safely.

“The children learned about safety, rules of the road and the importance of wearing a helmet while riding their bikes,” explained PFD Chief Jamie Wilkinson.

“Students rode through an obstacle course where they demonstrated riding control, avoiding objects and proper hand signals with shoulder checks.”

Const. Aaron Lenos joined Wilkinson, Scout leader Maurice Mazurat and some other volunteers from the Scouts and the Ponoka Fire Department with the various drills and skills necessary to keep the students safe when riding.

Before getting on the riding portion, students had to learn a few safety tips including how to properly use the hand signals for making turns and stopping. On the course, riders had to demonstrate how to ride slowly, what to do when approaching and having to stop at an intersection, how to execute safe turns by going through a figure eight and showing how they would take a bike through a crosswalk.

“Const. Lenos took this on as initiative and worked with some partners to achieve some really positive results,” stated Ponoka RCMP Staff Sgt. Mike Numan.

“While the event itself showed the commitment to the community, it also helped the students develop the basic skills they may not have learned. There was also one big positive to come from this and that was the safety of the equipment being used.”

Numan added that bikes had their tires inflated properly as well as brakes and other items on the bikes adjusted so everything worked properly. More importantly though, helmets were checked to ensure a good fit.

“There were a lot of positive spin offs, from knowing everything now at least works and fits nice in case something does happen to the great amount of community support the event received.”

Students at all three schools benefited from the numerous donations of bicycles and helmets that were handed out through a name draw from all of the students at each school, regardless if they were able to participate.