15 July 2016

Photo by Jenni Benson, USAG Public Affairs

Mason Barry receives obstacle course instructions from Officer Christopher Tibbs with the Fort Detrick Police Department before taking on the challenge of the cones at the 2016 Fort Detrick Bike Rodeo June 24 at the Balfour Beatty Community Center.

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2016 Fort Detrick Bike Rodeo Encourages Safety
Jenni Benson, USAG Public Affairs
The Fort Detrick Directorate of Emergency Services held their annual Bike Rodeo June24 at the Balfour Beatty Community Center.

At the DES Bike Rodeo, a bicycle safety event, Fort Detrick Police Department officers inspect bicycles, guide children and adults through an obstacle course and take part in a group ride through Fort Detrick housing.

This year, the parking lot of the Balfour Beatty Community Center was turned into a large coned course simulating turns and obstacles that a biker may face on the road.

"It's important to be confident when riding your bicycle to avoid injury and accidents, that's why we hold these events, so that we can help our community gain confidence in their riding skills," said Officer Bulle of the Fort Detrick Police Department.

Police Cpt. Nelson Oliveira, operations officer with the Fort Detrick Police Department, kicked off the event.

"This is a great time to have fun and focus on safety techniques to maneuver through the obstacle course, testing your agility by avoid hazards and then applying those safety techniques where it matters most, on the road," Oliveira said.

Mason Barry, who is 7 years old, took part in the obstacle course.

"It was pretty hard because you can’t touch the cones with your bike, but it was fun, I’m going to do it again" said Barry of the course.

U.S. Army Garrison Fort Detrick Commander Col. Bob O'Brien took part in a quick race with Oliveira testing speed and braking skills only to be inched out by Oliveira at the last second. "I yield my title, just be ready next year," said O’Brien taunting Oliveira.

"We focus on events like the Bike Rodeo to reinforce an awareness that safety is important at Detrick," said O'Brien. "We have an important mission here and we typically do well with safety on the job. Our safety vulnerability is off duty work force and family activity. Simple things like wearing a helmet, signaling your intentions or not wearing headphones when biking, walking or skating on or near roadways prevent potentially catastrophic accidents. These are not cool things to wear or do and we tend to think that accidents will not happen to us as individuals. But a little safety goes a long way toward having a fun summer season."

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration offers these safety tips for taking to the road:

Prevent Common Crashes. There are two main types of crashes: the most common (falls), and the most serious (the ones with cars). Regardless of the reason for the crash, prevention is the name of the game; there are things you can do to decrease your risk of a crash.

- Drive a bike that fits you—if it’s too big, it’s harder to control the bike.

-Drive a bike that works—it really doesn’t matter how well you drive if the brakes don’t work.

- Wear equipment to protect you and make you more visible to others, like a bike helmet, bright clothing (during the day), reflective gear, and a white front light and red rear light and reflectors on your bike (at night, or when visibility is poor).

- Practice. No one learns to drive a vehicle safely without practice and experience; safely driving your bike in traffic requires the same preparation. Start by driving your bike in a safe environment away from traffic (a park, path, or empty parking lot).

- Take an on-bike class through your school, recreation department, and local bike shop or bike advocacy group. Confidence in traffic comes with learning how to navigate and communicate with other drivers, bicyclists, and pedestrians. Review and practice as a safe pedestrian or bicyclist is great preparation for safe driving.

- Be serious; don't mess around in traffic. While biking is fun, driving around traffic isn’t a game, and your bike isn’t a toy.

- Ride one per seat, with both hands on the handlebars, unless signaling a turn. Carry all items in a backpack or strapped to the back of the bike.

- Tuck and tie your shoe laces and pant legs so they don't get caught in your bike chain.

- Use your eyes and ears, staying focused (see drive defensively).

For more information on bicycle and other traffic safety measures visit http://www.nhtsa.gov
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