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Bike rodeos teach students about riding safely to school

Several Robert Lunt Elementary students have bikes at home, but they don’t ride them to school regularly. Physical education teacher Chris Regan suspects that’s partly because parents don’t think it’s safe to ride in the neighborhood and partly because students don’t know how to ride safely.

Regan started a bike rodeo, an initiative through the Clark County School District’s Safe Routes to School program, in 2013 at the east valley school. A bike rodeo is a school event that teaches skills for riding a bike, such as how to fit a helmet, maneuvering through traffic and how to adjust seats.

The school received a $1,000 grant in 2013, which Regan used to purchase 15 bikes and 25 helmets. Students in third through fifth grades can participate, Regan said. The school has hosted about five bike rodeos, he said.

“It’s not to teach a kid how to ride a bike, but it’s to teach a kid how to ride safely,” he said. “It drives me crazy when I see kids running red stop signs, running red lights (and) riding against traffic when they should be riding with traffic. I just want them to have the skills and knowledge to be safe so they don’t get hurt.”

The school received another donation Dec. 1 from the Southern Nevada Biking Coalition to help fund the event. Organization members surprised Regan during a ceremony before school when they donated 10 bicycles — two regular bikes and eight without pedals (for children who don’t know how to ride). They also donated books about bike safety. Students were just as thrilled about the bikes as Regan, who said that it will help him expand the program and teach more children.

“I’m really excited and I really want to ride one,” 10-year-old student Angel Barradas said.

Lunt is one of 153 schools that are part of the Safe Routes to School international program, which encourages children in kindergarten through eighth grade to walk and bicycle to and from school, program coordinator Traci Traasdahl said. The number of students who walk or ride bikes to school has decreased over the years, she said.

Contact Kailyn Brown at kbrown@viewnews.com or 702-387-5233. Follow @kailynhype on Twitter.

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