By Pat Byington
It was a devastating moment.
Last summer, staff members and volunteers with the United Way of Central Alabama’s Healthy Communities Initiative were preparing for a local bike rodeo. When they pulled up to the lot where the trailer and bikes were stored both the trailer and its bike contents were stolen.
As a result of this theft, all Bike Rodeos in the Birmingham region for the 2018/2019 school year were canceled.
This week, on April 16th, the United Way of Central Alabama is launching an online fundraising campaign to bring back Bike Rodeos by raising monies to replace the stolen trailer and bikes.
Visit the following fundraising site created by United Way of Central Alabama that is solely dedicated to this campaign:
Why are Bike Rodeos important?
A bike rodeo is about keeping kids safe.
It is an event that provides elementary school children with the opportunity to learn, practice and demonstrate bike handling skills in a fun, safe and encouraging atmosphere. Numerous obstacle courses are set up with chalk and traffic cones.
Adult volunteers run each activity station or obstacle course to teach the children how to better control their bikes. Teaching stations include a safety check; mounting and dismounting; surrounding awareness; stops and starts; changing directions; steering and balance.
“It is very important for kids and parents to learn how to travel safely to school and biking is a great way to do that,” said Julie Cole Farmer of Children’s of Alabama. “It has been really challenging to not be able to provide that hands on instruction. We still go into the schools and classrooms, but it just not the same.”
Learning Bike Safety Saves Lives
According to Kristin Booker, Principal of Birmingham’s Hemphill Elementary School, the Bike Rodeos are not only fun, but they also save lives.
“Our children look forward to the bike rodeo, and they have been asking about it this year, but unfortunately we can’t do it. Safety is at the forefront of everything we do. I was devastated upon the news (of the trailer and bikes being stolen). We don’t have the funds to purchase bikes to have this experience.”
The program educates children on why they should wear helmets and basic bike safety lessons. It also has a positive impact on Birmingham’s air quality and healthier lifestyles.
“It saves lives. The knowledge they receive, really changes their lives,” Booker concluded.
Make a Contribution Today
Help bring back the Birmingham Bike Rodeos by helping replace the stolen trailer and bikes so that the program can begin planning Bike Rodeos for the 2019/2020 school year.
For more on the modern, mobile guide to Birmingham, visit www.bhamnow.com.