Kids — you could win a free bike Saturday at the Amherst police department’s annual Safety Awareness Day and Bicycle Rodeo!
The event will run from 9 a.m. to noon at Steele High School’s south parking lot (parking will be in the Powers Elementary lot).
Police officers will set up obstacle courses to teach riding skills. What to learn? You’ll need helmets, knee and elbow pads, and your own bike.
Volunteers from Target will help with the rodeo. The store has donated two teen size and two youth size bikes to be given away.
Sgt. Jacob Perez, who runs the rodeo, is passionate about showing kids the best way to stay safe while pedaling.
He and Ptl. Jason Nahm are Amherst’s bike patrol officers, riding three or four times each week. Going on two wheels gives them a mobility that squad cars just don’t have, which means they can police hiking trails, easily check school and business doors, and navigate downtown alleys.
Perez said cycles allow more nimble patrols around downtown bars or parks. They also help build relationships in subdivisions.
Bike patrol officers practice what they preach, always wearing helmets for safety and using proper riding techniques.
All officers, whether on two wheels or four, pass out safety citations to kids spotted wearing bike helmets. Those can be redeemed for free ice cream cones at Hastee Tastee and entered to win free bikes through the AAA.
“We stop and talk to these kids and promote how important it is to wear helmets. It could be the difference between life and death if they fall and hit their head,” Perez said.
File photo Kids gather around the talking LifeCare robot during the 2015 bike rodeo. The annual event is sponsored by the Amherst police.