Birmingham police to host first-ever kids Bike Rodeo

By: Tiffany Esshaki | Birmingham - Bloomfield Eagle | Published July 16, 2019


BIRMINGHAM — It’s not likely that you’re going to get pulled over by the police if you’re a kiddo riding a bike in Birmingham. But that doesn’t mean you can ignore the rules of the road.

And you’ve got to learn those rules somewhere, so for the first time, next weekend, the Birmingham Police Department will host a bike rodeo for children ages 4-12, corresponding with the Birmingham retail district’s annual Day on the Town shopping event.

During the rodeo, kids can bring their own bike to participate in biking obstacle courses on a specialized driving track, learn about bike safety and protective gear, and perhaps most importantly, test their newly acquired bike skills in a race against a police officer.

Cmdr. Scott Grewe said the rodeo is another effort the department wants to make to better connect with the community it serves — and it doesn’t hurt that the first-time event sounds like a lot of fun.

“The earlier and more positive interaction we get with youth in the area, it leaves a long-lasting effect,” he said. “We’ll set up a couple different obstacle-type things the kids can ride through, like a horseshoe, or wet sponges to simulate rocks in the road to avoid. And then as they advance, we’ll have officers holding up numbers and see if the kids can see them. It’s all about getting them to look around and see what’s going on.”

Officer Casey Pedersen, the community resource officer for the Birmingham Police Department, said that along with specialized training from the Michigan League of Bicyclists, the department members looked back to their own childhoods to design the event.

“It’s been fun reminiscing with other officers about their favorite memories involving bicycles. I love hearing about the successes and the struggles from my co-workers who are parents when they talk about their kids learning to ride bikes,” Pedersen said in an email.

No driver can hit the road without a nice bike wash and their personalized bike license, which will be available at the rodeo too. Officers can also inspect bicycles to make sure they’re safe to ride.

“These days, there are so many distractions on the road that we feel it’s extremely important to our most vulnerable and precious population,” Pedersen continued. “The completion of this rodeo will encourage children to get outside and bike with confidence so they can experience their best summer yet.”

The bike rodeo will begin at 9 a.m. in front of the Police Department. There’s no charge to participate, and kids should bring their own bicycle and helmet. For more information, call the Birmingham Police Department at (248) 530-1870.

The Birmingham Police Department is located at 151 Martin St. in downtown Birmingham.