Tykes on bikes
Kids learn biking safety at annual Bike Rodeo

Mike W. Bryant
Northern News Services

Yellowknife ( May 31/00) - Local kids were honing up on their cycling skills over the weekend.

The City of Yellowknife's municipal enforcement department held its 15th annual Bike Rodeo at the Yk Community Arena Sunday.

According to Const. Doug Norrad, the turnout for the event just keeps getting better.

"We were planning for 150 kids but there's still a big lineup," Norrad said during the event.

He estimated that this year's turnout brought 250 bike-toting kids or more, as well as their parents.

"I'm really pleased with the turnout of both parents and children," Norrad added.

"It's great to see it turn out to be such a family event."

The little tykes were being tested for their cycling and safety skills at Sunday's event. Contestants had to pass through a six-station obstacle course, which included a rock dodge, serpentine course and four-way intersection. Then they had to answer a true or false questionnaire on bicycle safety. A total of 300 points on all tests would make a perfect score. A boy and girl contestant with the highest score from each grade (kindergarten to Grade 6) will win a brand new bicycle. A free bike also went to the best boy or girl cyclist overall.

Norrad explained that the purpose of the event was not to intimidate the children into believing that cycling was dangerous, but rather to increase their overall awareness while on the road.

"Obviously, it's great exercise for the kids, it's not something to be scared of, but they also have to be aware of the basic rules," Norrad said.

"With the rodeo, it's basically set up to avoid accidents, just to help kids get their bearings in traffic and how traffic flows.

"It's exactly what your parents taught you -- don't step into traffic without looking both ways, learning the traffic signs, plus all in a safe and fun environment."

For Kristy Ollerhead, the chance of winning one of the brand new bikes up for grabs proved to be no easy task. When asked which of the obstacle courses she preferred, she point right at the straight-line course.

"So far, it's probably the straight-line ride, because it's the easiest," Ollerhead said, as she made her way to the more difficult serpentine course.

The department of municipal enforcement will announce the winners as soon as the scores have been tallied.