Chris’ Community Connections : Be Smart, Be Safe, Be Seen

chris-picture.jpgBy Christopher Anderson
Age 11

There were all makes, models and colors. Huffy, Mongoose, pink and red tricycles, brown and green trick bikes and yes, even a red low rider. Where? At the Wrigley Area Neighborhood Alliances Inc. (WANA) and the City of Long Beach Department of Community Development’s Family Bike Safety Rodeo, which took place at Birney Elementary School on Saturday, August 16 from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
After signing in at the registration table, the 51 kids stood in line to have their heads measured for a free bicycle helmet. Now! Onto the bike-safety inspection table. It was here I learned my new bike had a defective front brake, and the front reflector fell off during inspection. When my dad came back from exchanging my bike, I took it to be inspected and it passed. Wearing my helmet, I participated in the four bike-safety skill courses and passed. The courses tested the cyclists’ abilities to turn in limited spaces by making a figure eight, their ability to maneuver in and out of cones and how they understood signaling. For lunch we had a choice of burritos or pizza with water to drink. After lunch there was an opportunity drawing where the winners received great bike accessories.
During the event kids played Bike Safety Bingo. They answered questions such as, “Where is the safest place to cross the street with your bike?” The answer is “the crosswalk.” Herbie, Long Beach Police Department’s talking patrol car, gave safety tips such as wearing a helmet every time you ride a bike, wearing a seatbelt while riding in a car and, most of all, the importance of pulling over when you hear a wailing or yelping siren. As you can see, all of us had a good time.
If you did not have a chance to go to this one, do not worry! This event was made possible by a $350,000 grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety. The grant is for two years and started October 2007 and ends September 2009. It allows the City of Long Beach Department of Community Development to have 15 safety rodeos throughout the city. Mark your calendar– the fifth one will be a safety rodeo and safety fair on Saturday, September 13 at Drake Park. Bring your bike if you want a free helmet!
That is all for this week and remember, “It only takes one to make a difference!”

Chris' Community Connections

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