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Safe bikes, safe riders goal of Copley Police Bike Rodeo

6/5/2014 - West Side Leader
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By Pam Lifke

COPLEY — Safe bicycles and safe riders are just a couple of the goals for the June 7 Copley Police Department Bike Rodeo for children.

The annual Bike Rodeo — in at least its 14th year — will take place from 1 to 3 p.m. in the parking lot of The Home Depot in Montrose, at 4066 Medina Road, said Copley Police Chief Michael Mier. Participants should bring their own bikes.

Now that school is over, more children will be out in the neighborhoods on bikes, said Mier. The police department and volunteer employees from several area businesses will teach some safety skills and give children’s bikes a safety inspection, Mier said.

Employees from Eddy’s Bike Shop in Montrose will do the bike inspections and make minor adjustments if there are problems, Mier said.

Children will be given the opportunity to ride a bicycle course that will require them to ride in figure 8s, ride in a straight line and stop at a demonstration traffic light.

“They need to know how to stop and look” before they enter an intersection, Mier said. Copley Police officers also will teach hand signals so children can safely indicate to drivers when they intend to turn, stop and slow down.

Free bike helmets, purchased at a discount by the police department, will be available while the supply lasts, Mier said. Officers also will fit the new helmets and explain the correct way to wear them.

“Our hope is they will wear those helmets through the summer so, if they do have an accident, they won’t get a serious head injury,” Mier said.

Children also will be able to register their bikes so they can be identified in case of theft, said Copley Police Sgt. Jack Simone, who organizes the event. Police officers will offer child identification cards for parents, and there will be a raffle for bikes, he said.

“The kids really look forward to the rodeo,” Mier added.

Younger ones who have seen their older siblings attend the rodeo are eager participants, he said.

Mier said the annual event draws 100 to 200 children, depending on the weather. And since the rodeo is aimed at elementary school students, each of those children will bring a parent or two, he said, giving the department an opportunity to build bridges.

A secondary goal of the event is to interact with children in the community so they become familiar with the officers and understand police officers are their friends, Mier said.

Mier said the department also welcomes interaction with the parents.

“Folks, a lot of times, would like to pick up the phone and ask an officer a question or stop him when they see him out, but they don’t,” Mier said.

Community events like the rodeo give officers the opportunity to break down those barriers, become familiar to people in the community and make them comfortable enough to ask those questions, he added. 

The department gets plenty of help with the event. The Home Depot allows the department to use its parking lot, its employees help set up and tear down and they donate hot dogs for the event, Mier said. Eddy’s Bike Shop employees do bike inspections and adjustments. Employees of Target, Toys “R” Us, Infinity of Akron, Wal-Mart, Chick-fil-A, Bob Evans, Sears, Copley Place, JC Penney, h.h.gregg and Sherwin Williams will assist bike riders. Western and Southern Financial Group sponsors the child identification cards. Lewis Landscaping provides straw for the riding course and Copley Tool donates the use of a generator for the event, according to Simone.

No registration is required for the event.

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