On Saturday, April 11, 2015, Division 13 Kiwanis Clubs joined forces to hold a Bicycle Rodeo & Safety Fair in the parking lot of Downey High School. In partnership with the Downey Chamber of Commerce and the City of Downey’s 22nd Annual Street Faire, Kiwanis members along with their SLP members set the project in motion in celebration of Kiwanis One Day. On the day that hundreds of Kiwanis clubs were holding a variety of projects around the world, Division 13 chose to hold a Bicycle Rodeo & Safety Fair to highlight Cal-Nev-Ha’s unique Pediatric Trauma Program. The project’s target group was students in grades K-5 and the goal was to teach kids essential bicycle and pedestrian safety rules as well as educate children on child safety. The event attracted a big crowd with hundreds of kids eager to put their bicycle skills to the test.
With a $5,000 grant from the Kiwanis Cal-Nev-Ha Foundation, more than 350 bike helmets, 4 brand new bikes, 2 car seats, 15 protective gear bags and 500 safety goody bags were given away and many certificates were awarded to children who participated in the bicycle agility course. It was estimated that with all the parents and grandparents who attended, there were approximately 900 participants. The event ran out of bikes after the first hour, and all the helmets were almost gone by the end of the day. “The giveaway was a huge success. It created a very fun and diversified event where families and kids wanted to hang out,” said Downey Councilman Sean Ashton.
“The giveaway was a huge success. It created a very fun and diversified event where families and kids wanted to hang out.”
—– Sean Ashton, Downey Councilman
The event featured several skills stations lead by certified instructors, designed to teach kids proper bike handling skills and valuable safety techniques. From helmet fitting and bike inspections to turn signals and avoiding hazards, children and their parents learned important lessons to more safely and responsibly ride their bikes. After working their way through the stations, the children participated in on-street group rides around the neighborhood to practice what they had learned under the watchful eyes of our trained instructors. Participants had their bikes checked out for proper adjustment in seats, handlebars, wheels and tires, and then proceeded to a safety course supervised by Officer Robert Fuentes of the Downey Police Department and a squad of volunteers. The volunteers coached cyclists on hand signals, braking and awareness of traffic and other potential hazards.
As the bike workshops were going on children and families were given a passport punch card with the names of the safety booths and were encouraged to visit safety booths lead by a qualified professionals assisted by Circle K, Key Club, and KIWIN’S members. Free goodie bags and informational materials were handed out at the booths and pop quizzes were given to check for understanding. Participants had to visit every booth and get their cards punched in order to receive a free bike helmet, bike lights, and donated prizes. The Downey Police Department was on hand to instruct kids on bike, skateboard, and pedestrian rules. The Downey Fire Department had a Fire truck on site and gave a small workshop on fire safety while Kiwanis family volunteers gave out fire fighter hats and coloring books. In addition, there were safety booths on poison control, electrical safety, water & pool safety, child seat safety, suffocation prevention, sports safety, home safety and environmental safety. “I think we have really hit on a winning combination that seems to be exactly what the community wants. They are already asking us if we can come back and do it again next year,” said Lieutenant Governor of Division 13, Chien J. Wang.
“I think we have really hit on a winning combination that seems to be exactly what the community wants. They are already asking us if we can come back and do it again next year.”
—– Chien J. Wang, Division 13 Lt. Governor
Participants who completed the bike safety classes and visited every booth were entered into a raffle for free bikes, helmets, gift cards, bike lights, bike tool kits, and many other prizes. “The kids were looking forward to signing up to win free helmets and bicycles and it was neat to see kids coming back long after the rodeo was over to practice going through the marked out course on their own,” said teacher Alex Gaytan. The event not only served the community of Downey but also that of surrounding cities. Kiwanians left with the satisfaction that they were able to save many lives through safety education and bring awareness to families who were not informed of the unintentional injuries that kill children every year.