Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Kids encouraged to ride safely at free Community Bike Rodeo at Schlitterbahn May 18

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 attractions at Schlitterbahn Kansas City Waterpark at a free family event on Saturday, May 18, from 9 a.m. to noon.

The annual KCK Kiwanis West Bike Rodeo is back for the seventh year and planners anticipate a large turnout. Event sponsors plan to distribute up to 300 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 club, in partnership with Providence Medical Center, Atmos Energy, Schlitterbahn Kansas City Waterpark, Judi’s Bakery and numerous community businesses and organizations, are committed to helping area youth ride their bicycles safely.

“During the past six years, we’ve reached approximately 1,250 kids throughout Kansas City – helping them become safer cyclists,” says Jan Wiley, KCK Kiwanis West member and chair of the Bike Rodeo. “That’s 1,250 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, a Kiwanis West member and employee with 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.”

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 number one killer of children from ages 1 to 14,” says Tim Williams, a member of the Kiwanis West club and 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.”

Williams, along with Kiwanis West member Kimberley Holm, a certified National Child Passenger Safety Technician with the Wyandotte County Sheriff’s Department, will be available to check that child safety seats are properly installed.

A limited number of car seats and booster seats will be provided for families whose car seat is expired or inappropriate, and who are unable to afford to purchase the proper seat.

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 third year,” says Layne Pitcher, 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; tour attractions at Schlitterbahn; get a close up look at emergency vehicles; create their own healthy snacks; get into the groove with fun workouts; 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.