POINT PLEASANT — Borough third-graders strapped on their helmets and mounted their wheels Tuesday as part of an initiative aimed at helping them gain hands on experience learning the rules of the road to help them become safer bicyclers.
The Point Pleasant Police Department and the Greater Mercer Transportation Management Association [TMA] hosted a Bike Rodeo for the third-grade students at Nellie F. Bennett and Ocean Road Elementary schools Oct. 8 as a way to reinforce basic skills and teach valuable safety information.
“A bike rodeo is a skills clinic for third-graders and basically here the idea is to get them on a bike and … we’re teaching hand signals and to look both ways,” Jerry Foster, of Greater Mercer TMA, said.
“The police organized this with the schools. Chief [Richard] Larsen has been trying to get this going forever and we have been working with them on the Street Smart Campaign, Safe Route to School, so this is the first year we have tried it during school time with all the third graders and we are really excited about it.”
At each school, stations were set up that provided a chance for students to encounter various situations they might see when biking along municipal roadways. Before the students could tackle the course, Greater Mercer TMA officials, parent volunteers and officers with the police department performed helmet checks, discussing with students how they can test if their helmet is strapped on properly for optimal security.
Riding up to the starting line, either on their own bike or one provided for the rodeo by several local entities, officers then instructed students on three major signals they should know and follow when biking: “Stop,” “Turn Left” and “Turn Right.”
“In Point Pleasant there has always been a lot of bike riders, they are all over so this is great. I am amazed to see how many bikes are up front [by the racks], it is great,” Mr. Foster said.
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