Friday, April 20, 2012

Kids encouraged to ride safely at Free Community Bike Rodeo on May 19

Elementary-aged kids will have the opportunity to learn tips on cycling safety, participate in interactive activities that promote health and safety and to sneak a peek at new attractions at Schlitterbahn Kansas City Waterpark at a free family event on Saturday, May 19, from 9 a.m. to noon.

The annual Kansas City Kansas Kiwanis West Bike Rodeo is back for the sixth year and planners anticipate the largest-ever turnout.

Event sponsors plan to distribute up to 250 free bike safety helmets and t-shirts to participants.

The event will be held rain or shine in the parking lot and entrance area of Schlitterbahn Kansas City Waterpark, 9400 State Avenue, Kansas City, Kan. Kids are encouraged to bring their bicycles.

The KCK Kiwanis West, in partnership with Providence Medical Center, Atmos Energy, Schlitterbahn Kansas City Waterpark and numerous community businesses and organizations, are committed to helping area youth ride their bicycles safely.

“During the past five years, we’ve reached approximately 1,000 kids throughout Kansas City – helping them become safer cyclists,”says Jan Wiley, KCK Kiwanis West member. “That’s 1,000 young cyclists who understand the rules of the road and the importance of wearing safety helmets to prevent head injuries. We’re really excited about the popularity of this event because it has the potential to save young lives. Our community sponsors are making it possible for us to reach more kids than ever before.”

Rodeo participants should be accompanied by an adult. They will rotate through seven bike riding skill stations and have the opportunity to earn a bicycle safety certificate.

“Even though helmets can’t keep a cyclist from falling, they can save lives,” says Kevin Jones, Atmos Energy, the company that provides free safety helmets. “When they are properly fitted, helmets can reduce the risk of brain injury by as much as 88 percent if a fall occurs.”

“Every year, more than half a million bicyclists visit hospital emergency rooms because of cycling mishaps,” says Tom Weidmaier, Providence Emergency Services director. “Nearly one quarter of those injured in bike-related accidents are youth. As the health care sponsor of this bike rodeo, the Providence team is committed to making sure area youth understand the importance of riding safely. But when accidents happen, we’re standing by.”

Providence has recently redesigned the approach to providing emergency care.

“Whether it’s a child with a broken arm or an adult experiencing chest pain - patients need immediate attention from a board-certified physician – and that’s what they get here. We’ve dramatically reduced waiting time and increased the speed of treatment,” says Catherine Rice, senior communications specialist.

Just as helmets reduce the risk of injury in bicycle accidents, car seats are vital for kids’ safety in automobiles.

That’s why the event will also feature a free, drive-through car seat safety check. Experts will inspect car seats and ensure they are installed securely in families’ vehicles, making sure restraints are age appropriate and facing the right direction.

“Motor vehicle crashes are the #1 killer of children from ages 1 to 14,” says Tim Williams, a State Farm Insurance agent. “Even though most parents understand the importance of putting their children in car and booster seats, seven out of 10 kids in child safety restraints are not buckled in properly. We want to reduce that number.”

Schlitterbahn Season Passes will be on sale for $5 off the full gate price. Season Pass holders will have an exclusive opportunity to beat the rush and process their Season Pass ID Cards during the event.

“Schlitterbahn Kansas City Waterpark is thrilled to host this popular community event for the second year,” says Chris Ozimek, marketing director. “In addition to helping kids gear up for a safe bike-riding season, the event promises to offer a morning packed with free family fun.”

Bike rodeo participants will be treated to free donuts, courtesy of Judi’s Bakery; get to enjoy performances by kids affiliated with Kansas Academy of Theatrical Arts; hang out with Sizzle, the Kansas City T-Bones mascot and Blue, the Sporting KC mascot; tour new attractions at Schlitterbahn; get a close up look at emergency vehicles; create their own healthy snacks; get into the groove of Zumbatronic, a fast-moving and fun dance workout; win prizes and passes to Schlitterbahn Kansas City Waterpark and engage in other exciting activities. 

If you have questions or need directions on the day of the event, call 816-751-4227. To get to Schlitterbahn Kansas City Waterpark from I-435, take Exit 13 – State Avenue East. Turn left at the second traffic light and enter the parking lot.