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January 4, 2019

Gasparilla Children’s Parade Day: Bicycle Safety Rodeo

By Anu Varma Panchal

Don’t miss out on all of the fun before the Children’s Parade on Saturday, January 19, 2019! Come out early and learn safety the fun way at the Bicycle Safety Rodeo from 11:00 am-1:00 pm at Bayshore and South Rome Avenue! It’s FREE to attend!

Riding a bicycle isn’t rocket science, but there are still inviolable rules that should be followed to keep up with the times. Swing by the Bicycle Safety Rodeo at the Children’s Gasparilla parade and see if your young ones (and you!) are up to date on the rules and practices of safe riding. Don’t worry kids; this event may involve learning, but there’s plenty of fun involved.

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Children’s Gasparilla Director of Operations Maiken Stefany says to look out for a Bicycle Safety Rodeo course set up to the side of the parade route, on the corner of Bayshore Boulevard and South Rome Avenue. You’ll see officers of the Tampa Police Department’s bike unit and members of onbikes near an obstacle course with stop signs and traffic cones. Once the children register with volunteers from Hillsborough County’s Bike and Pedestrian Advisory Committee and sign a waiver, they’ll visit a team of helmet fitters led by Kristi Nalls of BayCare Safe Routes to School. They’ll then be fitted for a bike and head into the Bicycle Safety Rodeo route.

When: Saturday, January 19, 2019 from 11am-1pm

Where: Bayshore Boulevard between Rome Avenue and Dakota Avenue

“We don’t teach kids how to ride a bike; rather, we teach kids how to ride their bike safely on the roads,” says David DiMarco, master police officer with the Tampa Police Department Bicycle Operations and Response Unit at last year’s Bicycle Safety Rodeo. “We have two mini courses set up to mimic the road and conditions a kid will encounter on the streets of Tampa.”

Police will even provide bikes for kids to ride if they do not ride their own out to the parade route, allowing them to take part in the Bicycle Safety Rodeo!

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While supplies last, children at the Bicycle Safety Rodeo will be fitted with bicycle helmets that they can take home for free. Last year, 350 helmets were donated by onbikes and FDOT, and about 1,500 children rode in the course. Some lucky children also received free bicycles raffled off by onbikes, a charity that aims to provide foster children with bicycles. This year, although the logistics of the bike giveaway at the Bicycle Safety Rodeo proved to be a little too complicated to repeat, DiMarco says about 350 helmets will again be given away.

Related: Gasparilla Children’s Parade: Local Parents Share Pro Tips

Related: Gasparilla Children’s Parade

“As always, our success in this event can only be accomplished as a direct result of the generosity from our volunteers at onbikes, BPAC, Safe Routes to School and FDOT,” DiMarco says.

By Anu Varma Panchal

Originally published in the January 2018 issue of Tampa Bay Parenting Magazine.

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