MARINE CORPS BASE HAWAII --
Students at Mokapu Elementary School prepared for safe biking during the Bike Rodeo at the parking lot area on school grounds, Oct. 23, 2013.
Since 2006 the Bike Rodeo has been teaching children how to safely operate bicycles. Every year, the volunteers come to check each child’s bicycle to ensure it is in good working condition.
The first graders were the first group of students to pass through the rodeo. Each grade through sixth grade had the chance to take advantage of the rodeo.
The children lined up and waited for the helmet inspection. Each helmet was looked at to make sure they fi tted on the child’s head correctly, wasn’t damaged or missing a chinstrap.
The line of students continued onto the bicycle inspection point. Provost Marshal’s Office volunteers checked for various problems with all the bicycles. Every bicycle part was inspected including handlebars, seats, tires, brakes, chain, size and gears. Several PMO Accident Investigation Department volunteers also inflated tires to the correct pound-per-square inch. If there were any discrepancies that parents needed to know about, a ‘Bicycle Inspection Results and Checklist’ was sent home with the child.
“We have had three vehicle (to) bicycle (accidents) in the past year,” said Christopher Johnston, PMO Traffic Section specialist and 26-year-old native of Elgin, Ill.
“Obviously one accident is too many but these kinds of events help keep those statistics down. People need to be the most cautious at intersections. Just remember to look left then right and left again.”
When given the signal to begin, the children operated their bicycles around a road course. Stop and crosswalk signs were placed throughout the course to help children learn their meaning and identify what they meant. Cones were set up with white arrows directing them through the course, which steered the students through an assortment of turns to challenge them. Everyone was afforded an opportunity to repeat the course as many times as they wanted.
“The whole event is a great opportunity for everyone to learn something,” said Joseph Sorgie, the PMO crime prevention chief, 35-year-old native of Fort Lauderdale, Fla. “The course is definitely a confidence booster for the children.”
As the students finished the course Mario di Prete, base safety specialist and motorcycle safety foundation rider coach and trainer, knelt down by a stop sign to help show students how to use their brakes. He also asked them what to do before crossing the street and gave them a few extra tips for safe riding.
Participating students all received a green backpack with a flashlight inside and a certificate for completing the Bike Rodeo challenge.
“We know the school looks forward to this every year and I know we do as well,” di Prete said. “It’s good to see the children having fun while learning something valuable.”