Bike Rodeo to teach campers how to safely ride bikes

DOVER — There won’t be any rugged cowboys or bucking bulls involved, but a Bike Rodeo set to take place in the back of the parking lot at Towne Point Elementary School this morning will attract plenty of children.

The Delaware Department of Transportation, the city of Dover Parks and Recreation Department and the Dover Police Department are coordinating the Bike Rodeo together for Camp Small Wonder enrollees, which consists of around 70 kids.

The Bike Rodeo will take place from 9 until 11:30 a.m. this morning.

DelDOT and the City of Dover Parks and Recreation have held two previous Bike Rodeos for Super Summer Playground camp enrollees, but it is new this year to Camp Small Wonder enrollees.

“John Fiori, who is the Bicycle Coordinator for DelDOT, will share a safety talk on cycling,” said Carolyn Courtney, of the Parks and Recreation Department. “Then children get a chance to put some skills to the test by going through a variety of bike course obstacles, such as riding over ‘rocks,’ which are tennis balls cut in half, going between cones, stopping and using hand signals correctly and other scenarios that encourage safe riding.

“This is our third year in offering the rodeo to our (Parks and Recreation) camp participants. Also new this year, the Dover Elks Lodge 1903 is promoting safety cycling with us. The Elks received grant money to purchase bicycles, helmets and locks. DelDOT’s Bicycle Division is supplying a set of lights for each bike being donated to children.”

Dover police will offer an enhanced safety talk on cycling and walking before the children will be given the chance to ride through the obstacle course.

A total of 10 children, who have been pre-selected, will also be receiving free bikes and safety gear before a pizza party lunch is provided by the Dover Elks to campers and staff.

Camp Small Wonder is a summer camp for children ages six through 12 that is held at Towne Point Elementary School.

Ms. Courtney said the camp offers children nine weeks of a wide range of activities including arts and crafts, table games, sports, playground, swimming pool, tennis, nature hikes, special trips and hours of fun.

Andrea Maucher, the exalted ruler of Dover Elks Lodge 1903, said her organization is glad to be a part of anything positive that enhances the youth experience within the city.

“Learning to ride a bike can be one of the great joys of childhood,” Ms. Maucher said. “It promotes independence, curiosity and good mental and physical health.

“With more and more cars on the road, teaching young people how to ride safely and defensively will help protect them from serious injury or worse. It’s one thing to read about bike safety or watch a video, but we believe that practicing in a controlled environment (the safety course) will help ingrain those lessons for years to come.”

Delaware State News staff writer Mike Finney can be reached at mfinney@newszap.com.

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