Lowcountry Region, South Carolina: Bike rodeos teach students how to ride safely

Introduction

Bicycle Rodeos teach children how to ride bikes safely. Whether held during the school day, as part of an after-school activity, or as a weekend event, Bike Rodeos are always a student favorite! The South Carolina Safe Routes to School Resource Center has supported numerous Bicycle Rodeos and has resources to help community organizers and schools hold their own rodeos.

Activities

A Bicycle Rodeo is a series of skill stations that provide participants with an opportunity to learn, practice, Michael C. Riley Elementary school; Bluffton, SCand demonstrate safe bicycling. The rodeo may also include a bicycle check where professionals or volunteers check students’ bicycles for mechanical problems and a helmet fitting station where students learn the importance of a properly fitting helmet and may even receive a helmet if they do not have one already. 

Local bicycle shop employees, bicycle advocates, police officers, teachers, emergency responders, parents, and community groups can all be involved in facilitating a Bicycle Rodeo. Not only do the rodeos teach students, but they bring communities together to provide valuable skills and fun activities to children.

Community groups and events that support annual Bike Rodeos in the Lowcountry region include the Dorchester Safety Fair in Summerville, the Upper Dorchester Safety Fair in St. George, the Daniel Island Rotary Club on Daniel Island, and the Safe Kids Safety Event in North Charleston.

The Resource Center has developed a Bicycle Rodeo Manual pamphlet that can be downloaded from the scsaferoutes.org Encouragement Resources page and used to organize a bicycle skills event. The Resource Center also has tip sheets and materials that can support events and partnerships with groups like law enforcement bicycle teams, Safe Kids Coalitions, and bicycle advocates that can help organize and staff a Bicycle Rodeo. Safe Kids Trident has a bicycle rodeo trailer that includes bicycles, signs, materials, helmets, and other resources that are used for the bicycle rodeos in Charleston, Berkeley, and Dorchester Counties. The North Charleston Police bicycle officers provide staffing and other support to schools and events throughout the area and not just in North Charleston.

Milestones

The Lowcountry Coordinator, Jennifer Senn, has scheduled more than 15 Bike Rodeos that are repeated Pepperhill Elementary school; North Charleston, SC annually. Some of the schools include:

  • Moultrie Middle School, Belle Hall Elementary and Jennie Moore Elementary schools in Mount Pleasant
  • MC Riley in Bluffton
  • Westview Primary in Goose Creek
  • Oakbrook Elementary in Ladson
  • James Simons in Charleston
  • Lambs Elementary, Pepperhill Elementary and North Charleston Elementary in North Charleston

In the last two years alone, the Resource Center’s School Outreach Coordinators have helped plan and execute over 50 Bicycle Rodeos, teaching more than 10,000 students. While it is the privilege of the SRTS team to be a part of these exciting events full of learning and fun, students really enjoy the experience. Students have said, “Can I go through again? Please, please, please…” and “That was awesome!”