The City of Wasco and Wasco Code Compliance held their annual Bike Rodeo at Barker Park for their 10th time on Saturday. Kids came to enjoy a morning of bicycle awareness education to keep them safe and secure when riding their bikes. Almost 50 children attended, and each received a helmet.
"I feel lucky to get my helmet. I never had one. I'm going to ride my bike to school," said 8-year-old Johnathan Sanchez.
"Anytime we can get kids involved is a great day. Bike safety is critical for all kids," said Code Compliance Officer Sergio Gonzalez. "It shows the community that the city cares about the safety of our youth and that Code Compliance does more than just enforce laws."
The Bike Rodeo offered bike safety classes organized into three sections.
The first was where kids on a makeshift driveway learned to exit a driveway safely. The second was an intersection simulation where they learned to look both ways and be aware of oncoming traffic. The third was a controlled riding obstacle course where they rode around stop signs, learned how to maneuver their bikes and display proper hand signals.
"This is a way to get them ready to ride their bikes to school. We want them to be protected and aware of all safety rules," said Code Compliance Officer Christian Tovar.
"I love the Bike Rodeo and it is one of my favorite annual events. It's important for young people to know the rules and regulations of the roads," said Councilmember Alex Garcia.
Volunteers were enthusiastic about helping.
Wasco State Prison Correctional Sergeant Noel Diaz said it was the agency's way to get involved in the community to show a positive presence and impact on children's lives.
Bike Bakersfield, a nonprofit, was on hand to perform bike repairs, tune-ups and safety checks on the children's bikes.
"Any chance we can get the kids riding, we support. It's awesome, and we couldn't have asked for better weather, kids, bicycles and hot dogs," said shop manager Jay Bird.
The event was sponsored by Toys for Tigers, Wasco Elks Lodge, California Rail Builders, Wasco State Prison, Kern Family Healthcare and Wasco Golf Cart Club.
"It takes multiple organizations to coordinate an event like this. We received donations and help from the community, which allowed us to purchase helmets and bikes," said Tovar.
Candy Wilson of Toys for Tigers said, "It is summertime, and kids need to be safe on their bikes. Helmets are a huge part of that. We want to make sure all kids have them."
"I think it's a great event where we teach children how to ride a bike safely. We are showing them and their parents that we care about their well-being," said Mayor Reyna. "With a helmet, we are possibly saving them from severe head injury if they fall or have an accident."
"Hopefully, kids will learn safety rules and be more aware when riding their bikes."
A representative from Assemblymember Rudy Salas's office was present. "We are here to support the City of Wasco and community partners as we encourage youth to use their bicycles in a safe way," said Field Representative Eric Arias.
"We're excited to be here with families and many residents as we share our love and passion for bike riding."
The event ended with a bicycle raffle where 12 children took a bike home.
"I feel happy I won because my bike broke. I'm going to ride with my sister and friends," said 8-year-old Lexi Fernandez.