It’s Bike Rodeo Season!

Spring is here, which means it’s time for Safe Routes to School Bike Rodeos — on-bike events that teach 4th and 5th grade students valuable bike safety skills.

Our staff arrives at school sites early in the morning to unload a 16-foot box truck of gear. We use chalk, cones and road signs to set up courses on the school playground, and then teach students skills like navigating an intersection, using their hand signals and dodging objects in the road safely.

Bike mechanics are on site to tune up any bikes students brought with them, and we provide bikes for any student who doesn’t have one. We also make sure all helmets fit properly, and provide students with disabilities the support they need to participate.

We know not everyone knows how to ride, so we also will teach any student who is still learning. The kids have so much fun riding bikes together that they often want to ride their bikes to school, and show off their skills to family.

This spring we are looking forward to rolling out 24 rodeos at 22 schools across Sonoma County. Last spring, we saw 1324 students total, taught 113 students to ride, tuned up 693 bikes and distributed 396 new helmets to students with assistance from our partners at Providence Health Foundation.

We are always looking for more hands! If you’re interested in supporting our rodeo crew, please contact Safe Routes to Schools Director Christina Panza at christina@bikesonoma.org.

–Danielle Pearl McElwee, Safe Routes to School Educator