The Shoals Cycling Club, Shoals Optimist Club and Muscle Shoals Education Foundation are joining forces to make sure area youths who ride bicycles do so safely.
The groups will sponsor the Rhys Hammock Memorial Bicycle Safety Rodeo from 10 a.m.-noon March 24 at Howell-Graves Elementary School in Muscle Shoals.
Hammock, 9, of Tuscumbia was killed when hit by a vehicle while riding his bicycle June 23. 2006.
Shoals Cycling Club president William Bonee said members of the organization will talk to rodeo participants about bicycle safety and offer tips for sharing the road with vehicles.
They will also inspect the bikes and identify any safety concerns with the brakes, crank, reflectors, tires and other equipment.
Cyclists will not make repairs, but will point out any parts of the bicycles that need attention.
The youths will be able to test their safety skills in the parking lot of the school, which has miniature traffic signs and road markings that provide a sense of riding on city streets without having to contend with traffic.
In addition to their bicycle, participants will need their safety helmet so cycle club members can inspect it and make sure it fits properly. Poorly fitting helmets will be adjusted or the purchase of a replacement recommended so youths can protect their head while riding. Bonee said a properly fitted safety helmet is a must for cycling.
Alabama law requires youths under 16 to wear a safety helmet when riding a bicycle on public roadways, bicycle paths or in parks.
While the rodeo is geared toward youths, parents and other adults can also learn a lot about bicycle safety.
Bonee said the rodeo is a way for the cycling club, Optimists and education foundation to give something back to the Shoals.
Everybody helping with the rodeo likely has other things they could be doing that day. Instead, they are willing to give up their time to try to make this year’s biking season safe.
Those of us with children should take advantage of this opportunity for them to learn how to make their cycling adventures safer.
Dennis Sherer can be reached at 740-5746 or firstname.lastname@example.org.