Osler School students won’t be running stop signs on their bikes anymore, thanks to a crash course on cycling safety on Thursday, May 18.
The school held a day-long bike rodeo in cooperation with the Osler Fire Department and the town council, using equipment and advice from the Warman Fire Department.
“The town had brought some concerns to us earlier this spring about bicycle safety,” said Osler School Principal Audrey Kampen in an interview at the event. “A lot of kids take it for granted that they own the road.
“I’ve seen kids, when they leave on their bikes after school, drive straight through two stop signs without even looking. That’s a real problem, and we felt we needed to do something about it by giving the kids some education about the rules of the road.”
Kampen said she approached the Warman Fire Department about how they run their annual bike rodeo, and went to the event in Warman on Wednesday, May 17. Members of the Osler Fire Department picked up the signs and pylons from Warman after that event. Teachers and Grade 8 and 9 students at Osler School set up the bicycle rodeo course on a blocked-off street in Osler adjacent to the school the morning of their event.
Prairie Spirit Board of Education trustee George Janzen and Osler bylaw officer Ron Klassen chipped in to help teachers, senior students and town councillors guide youngsters in Kindergarten through Grade 5 through the course. The students had to wear a bike helmet in order to ride their bikes, and were given instructions in hand signals and how to follow signage directions.
Osler Fire Department members helped out during the afternoon session. In addition, the Warman RCMP school liaison officer gave a talk on traffic safety to the entire school, including Grades 6 and 7.
Kampen said the practical course should help reinforce the good riding habits the school hopes to instill in students.
“All the kids know what a stop sign says, and they know what ‘stop’ means, but they aren’t obeying the signs,” she said. “Our goal is to show them why they need to follow the rules. They apply to everyone.”