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Morning Sun
  • Students learn bike safety at ‘rodeo’

  • Frank Layden Elementary School third through fifth graders spent Tuesday morning with Frontenac Police Department and Crawford County Sheriff’s officers learning about the importance of exercising caution while riding their bicycles in public.

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  • Frank Layden Elementary School third through fifth graders spent Tuesday morning with Frontenac Police Department and Crawford County Sheriff’s officers learning about the importance of exercising caution while riding their bicycles in public.
    The officers set up their bike rodeo course in the parking lot of the Frontenac Sports Complex parking lot, and the students walked their bikes over from the school to meet with the officers. Roger Lomshek, owner of Tailwind Cyclists in Pittsburg, told each class about the six main rules of bike safety. One of the most important rules, he said, it to always wear a bicycle helmet.
    “They cost less than your sneakers and they could save your life,” Lomshek said.
    The students also should never wear headphones while riding, Lomshek continued.
    “Your ears tell you when a car is coming,” Lomshek said, “just like you can hear that airplane above you, even though you don’t see it.”
    Lomshek also spoke about the importance of riding as if cars can’t see bicyclists, riding with the flow of traffic, obeying traffic signs and staying off busy streets. Then Lomshek and the officers helped fit each of the kids with a helmet and allowed them to navigate a wide horseshoe course and gauged their ability to stop at the end. Officers used to set up a figure eight, but the kids didn’t always get the timing right.
    Lomshek said the bike rodeos have been an ongoing event for about five years. The Sheriff’s Department rotates the rodeos each semester, going to the county schools in the fall and the Pittsburg and St. Mary’s Colgan schools in the spring.
    Sheriff Sandy Horton had originally approached Lomshek with an idea of a general safety day, but it morphed into a specialized bicycle safety day, Lomshek said. That’s fine with him, he said, and the event probably is more effective than if the kids just read the rules in class.
    “This is real-life rules of the road,” he said. “It helps them retain the information a little better than if they got it in a boring lecture, and it brings them into the conversation.”
    Fourth grade teacher Debbie Restivo said it’s imperative to impress the rule of bike safety at an early age.
    “When you think of all the bikes packed into this little community, it’s important for them to know how to be safe,” Restivo said. “It’s so wonderful to have all of these volunteers out here doing this for the kids.”
    The event is enjoyable for the officers, too, deputy Mike Sisney said.
    “We have fun,” Sisney said. “It gives the kids a chance to get out in the fresh air and it gives us a chance to interact with them.”
    Page 2 of 2 - Still, Sisney and the other officers take the rodeos seriously.
    “There are a lot of kids riding bikes these days, and a lot of them don’t even know how to put on a helmet right,” he said. “Here, they get their bikes checked and learn the rules of the road.”
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