By J.W. Schnarr
Safety was again on the minds of local school-age children as Taber’s annual bike rodeo had nearly 500 children thinking about bicycle helmets, brain injuries, and good pedestrian habits last week.
The event, which took place on April 16 in the Taber Arena, is designed to allow children to learn first hand from law enforcement what good bike safety means, and allows children an opportunity to learn the basic rules of the road, the importance of safety helmets, the effects brain injuries can have on their lives, and seat belt safety.
The bike rodeo is organized by Taber community peace officer Brandon Bullock, who recognized a need for a bicycle safety course in the town, and a need for children to continue to learn about helmet safety.
“Unfortunately, a lot of kids don’t have helmets,” he said. “That’s being seen in town, and kids are being seen not wearing them.
“If they don’t have a helmet and can’t afford one, they are getting a free one that has been donated.”
Bullock said another way the rodeo helps children is that they have an opportunity to get to meet police and talk to them in a friendly atmosphere, which can break down barriers for children who might have bad feelings or fear law enforcement.
It is illegal in Alberta for children under 18 to operate a bicycle without a helmet, and the parents of children caught without a helmet could be subject to a $69 fine.
The bike rodeo is held about 10 times per year throughout the province.
‘It’s a really good program, trying to teach kids about road safety,” Bullock said.
“They can pass that on to their younger siblings, and try to be as safe as possible. It only takes one mistake for an accident to happen.”
Bullock said there are seven schools involved in the rodeo, including all the elementary schools in Taber as well as students from Barnwell.
“It’s going good,” he said. “We try to get them through as quickly as possible, but also to get them the information they need.