Education, Local News

Flosssmoor’s Bike Rodeo promotes bike safety

With clearer skies and summer approaching, Flossmoor is a vibrant bicyclists’ hub. 

The village’s Bike Rodeo, a  community-driven event from the “pre-COVID-19” era, was hosted by the Flossmoor Fire Department, Police Department, and Illinois State Trooper Genelle Jones on Saturday, May 11, at the Parker Junior High parking lot. This event, held from 10 a.m. to noon, was crucial in promoting community engagement and bike safety.

Flossmoor Fire Department Public Education Coordinator Kelly Thacker registered bikers and shared valuable bicycle safety tips at the Bike Rodeo. The event was not just about safety but also about fun and learning. 

“We plan on refreshing … safety bike skills, testing on the training course we’ve set up, and conducting proper helmet and bike checks,” Thacker said. “It’s a day packed with fun and learning our responsibilities as cyclists that will ensure safety, including lane positions, hand signaling, helmet use and more.” 

The “crash course” offered bikers from young children to adults a hands-on experience practicing safe handling techniques on the course track. Bikers were invited, with their bicycles, to participate in setting up stations where bikers first registered and then moved to get their bikes checked, Thacker said. The course was designed to simulate real-life biking scenarios and teach participants how to react and handle their bikes safely in different situations. 

“We want to ensure all the kids’ bikes are in good repair, checking safety like their handlebars, seats, tires, then they go in a competency course,” Thacker said. “This course is a series of challenges designed to test their biking skills and knowledge of safety rules. 

“It includes activities like a stop and start test to ensure they’re doing it safely, and a road awareness test where they’re asked when leaving their driveways how to be alert looking both ways. It’s a fun and interactive way for kids to learn and practice bike safety.” 

Flossmoor residents Bret and Mary Schepler brought their four-year-old daughter Ruby and their bikes to participate in the training course. Usually shy and reserved, Ruby’s wide smile spoke volumes.

Alivia Baker’s family and siblings came to support the seven-year-old as she proudly registered her bike and completed the competency course with other bikers. They celebrated their crash safety bike course with exciting prizes like new bike helmets, bike locks, bike lights, other safety gear, coloring activity pamphlets and treats of doughnuts and beverages. 

Illinois State Trooper Genelle Jones provided several safety tips for families and bicycle attendees. 

“I implore everyone to visit our website and read the many messages to practice this summer; please be sure to wear your helmet, make sure you’re practicing safety measurements,” Jones said. “Bikers should travel in packs if they can, notify someone when you’re out for a bike ride,  practice all safety precautions and understand where sharing the road with other vehicles and pedestrians.” 

“The police and fire departments believe that community engagement and education on safety are crucial,” said Stephanie Wright, Flossmoor’s community engagement manager. “This event was a great opportunity for the community to meet their public safety officials and officers, get a safety check for their bikes and enjoy free giveaways. We look forward to more events that foster community bonding and promote safety.” 

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