Bicycle rodeos are not rodeos in the traditional sense of rodeos. Rather, they are classes about bicycle safety combined with a driving course for bicycle riders.
Classes are generally structured for persons 6 to 14 years old. This age range is targeted because they are usually just learning to ride a bicycle without supervision and are the ones most likely to not know, or elect to ignore, safety rules.
At least one parent or adult guardian must accompany the child(ren) attending this course.
Rodeos begin with officers (Police or Fire Personnel) teaching rules of the road which include, signals, and related matters. Special emphasis is placed on rider safety and reinforcing laws related to bicycles. Once the class is complete, officers inspect the bicycles.
Participants are asked to bring their personal bicycle. The bicycles are inspected for safety, looking at things such as proper height adjustment of seats relative to the rider, properly adjusted and secure handlebars, properly operating and adjusted brakes, plus a host of other safety items. Minor adjustments are made as needed.
Once the classroom portion is completed, and the bicycles are inspected, riders may ride through a simulated course of streets, intersections, driveways, and so forth, complete with stop signs, curves and assorted other advisory signs.
Riders are watched over by the officers to insure compliance with traffic laws and rider safety. Upon completion, riders are offered suggestions for improvement and/or rewarded with praise for a job well done.
The course itself is set up in advance on a hard surface parking lot, well out of the way of active traffic and other dangers.
Traffic cones are set up to signify outlines of streets. Plastic traffic signs are placed around the course as appropriate. Riders must exhibit good skills and must wear an approved bicycle safety helmet. Riders with knee or elbow pads may wear those as well.
Participants may also complete a form to register ownership of their bicycle with the Police Department. In the event the bicycle is later lost or stolen and later recovered by police, officers can readily match the bicycle with the owner to return it.
To learn more about bicycle safety rodeos and classes contact the Community Services Division by calling (972) 377-1885.