Round up the family for Saturday's free bike rodeo

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Shelly Birkelo
Wednesday, June 4, 2014

JANESVILLE—Bicycle safety is important to Kathy Patrick.

That's one of the reasons why she and her four children, ages 11 to 16, will again attend Saturday's Annual Bike Rodeo running from 10 a.m. to noon. The Janesville Police Department hosts the rodeo at the Wilson Elementary School, 465 Rockport Road.

The Janesville family has attended the event seven times.

“It is important for the kids to know bike etiquette. We live in the Fourth Ward where a lot of cars don't yield to bicycles let alone at uncontrolled intersections,” Patrick said.

One of the kids even won a bike at the free public event several years ago, but it was stolen, Patrick said.

Her 11-year-old has a helmet and bicycle, but it's not licensed yet. So they plan to do that Saturday in addition to learning some bike safety tips.

The tips will focus on the importance of helmets, how to control your bike at different speeds and hand signals, said officer Chad Sullivan.

"The majority of bike crashes are preventable," he said.

Bike helmets will be given away and bicycle licenses will be issued for free courtesy of Janesville Police Chief Dave Moore.

"We issue between 70 and 100 every year," Sullivan said.

To get one you will need to provide the owner's name, address and phone number, the bicycle make, color, tire size and serial number.

"We recover hundreds of bikes every year and have no idea who owns them. If they have a license, we make a phone call, find out who the owner is and return the bike," Sullivan said.

One hundred bicycles in all styles and sizes for boys and girls, donated by the community, will be given away. Winners will be determined by names drawn from registration forms filled out upon arrival.

That's another reason the Patrick family will attend the rodeo.

Only one of the kids has a bike so the hope is another child might win a bike, their mom said.

One hundred bicycle locks also will be distributed.

"It's one of the most important things we do--protect bikes from thefts," Sullivan said.

Activities will include riding a bicycle around a figure while holding a ball in one hand and controlling the bike with the other hand.

"It's about keeping control and having good speed," Sullivan said.

A race to see who can ride their bike the slowest also is planned.

"It takes skill and gives the bicyclist a chance to practice control," he said.

The two-hour event also will feature food, drinks and raffle prizes donated by area businesses.

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