Millsboro Community Day/Bike Rodeo attracts a big turnout

MILLSBORO – Bicycle safety was certainly paramount.

It was not the entire focus of the 2nd annual Millsboro Community Day/Bike Rodeo.

Staged Saturday in a designated portion of Lowe’s Home Improvement parking lot in Peninsula Crossing, the four-hour event featured public/bike safety education, hands-on opportunities in CPR and fire-fighting as well as other attractions, including a video gaming trailer and a goat petting zoo.

The event was facilitated by the Millsboro Police Department in partnership with Lowe’s and sponsor supporters: Delaware Department of Transportation, Backyard Works, Baker’s Hardware, Preston Auto Group, Farmers Bank of Willard, State Farm/Kim Benton, World Gym and Peninsula Dental LLC.

“It’s just a great way for us give back to our community,” said Millsboro Police Chief Brian Calloway. “That’s what Millsboro is really focused on. We’re not just a police department. We’re a part of this community.”

Several hundred bike helmets and safety lights were available free to young bicyclists courtesy of the police department.

“This really started with an idea to partner with DelDOT and their bike safety program. So last year we did this with a very limited budget. We had a lot of donations that helped with helmets,” Chief Calloway said. “This year we were able to allocate a grant through the Criminal Justice Council to get funding just for bike helmets and lights. This year our hope is to use over 300 helmets and lights. And hopefully, these kids understand the importance of bike safety in Delaware.”

Adrian Acri, clerk for the Millsboro Police Department, said the Criminal Justice Council grant totaled $3,300 safety lights and helmets. Generous business/community support increased the amount for more helmets and lights.

Seven-year-old Levi Layfield of Georgetown was among the first youngsters to take to the bike rodeo safety course, monitored by John Fiori, DelDOT’s statewide bicycle coordinator.

Levi summed up the obstacle course adventure in one word: “Fun!”

The course featured five different stations:
• zig-zag drill, to enhance maneuvering;
• scanning drill, for when a cyclist is about to make a turn and must look back to check on traffic;
• basic hand signals: left, right, stop/slow down;
• Figure 8, to enhance balance in tight quarters and turns;
• Rock Dodge, cyclists navigate through half tennis balls, serving as rocks in the road. “You navigate through the ‘rocks’ and the object is to not hit any of our rocks with front tire,” Mr. Fiori said. “It’s OK if you hit them with your back tire because you have more control running them over with your back tire than you do on your front tire.”

“Each station is to teach you a basic bicycling safety, to be used as a tool so that when your child is riding on their own, they can practice using that tool to help make them safer riding through their neighborhood,” said Mr. Fiori.

Free t-shirts and reflective strips for helmets and backpacks were among the giveaways at the DelDOT booth.
Bike safety is for people of all ages, not just youngsters.

“Some people, it’s their only means of getting around. They may not have a car,” said Mr. Fiori. “So we want to make sure we have facilities that meet everybody’s needs, those who use it for recreational exercise and as a means to get to and from work. We try to accommodate everyone.”

Beneath the Sussex County Emergency Medical Services tent, EMS paramedics Chloe Hornberger and Amanda McCloskey invited kids to take a few minutes to learn a simple first-aid procedure – proper technique for chest compressions – that potentially could save someone’s life.

In another area, adjacent to Chirstiana Care Health System’s LifeNet helicopter, volunteers from Roxana Volunteer Fire Company utilized barrel burns to demonstrate proper use of a fire extinguisher. Under supervision of fire personnel, youngsters as well as the Preston Frog mascot got to squeeze the trigger in extinguishing fires in the barrel.

The proper technique, Roxana fire-fighter Charles Funkhouser says, is PASS, an acronym for Pull, Aim (at the fire’s base), Squeeze and Sweep (spray in sweeping motion).

Attractions included DNREC Fish & Wildlife Resource Police, an art table, Sussex County EOC Mobile Command Unit, Millsboro Fire Company and the mascot from Chick fil A, another event supporter.

Millsboro Middle School National Honor Society served as volunteers for the event, which also was supported by Vanderwende Farm Creamery; Anchors Away; Look Pretty Play Dirty; Dairy Queen; Wawa; American Lung Association; and Readaloud.

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