Bike rodeo on tap Thursday



June 14, 2010 - 12:00 AM

It was an averted disaster, Iola Police Chief Jared Warner said, enough to send a rattled motorist to his office recently.
An elderly gentleman told police officers about an all-too-close call in which he narrowly missed striking a youngster on a bicycle who had darted into the street.
“The driver was really shaken up about it,” Warner said.
With summer activities in full swing and folks of all ages using bicycles as a primary means of transportation, Warner wants to remind Iolans of the importance of biking safely.
To raise awareness of the issue, the Iola Police Department, in conjunction with Thrive Allen County, is sponsoring a bike rodeo from 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday at Riverside Park.
A number of stations will be set up in the parking lot north of the Recreation Community Building, including an obstacle course, hand and arm signal station and bicycle shop area to ensure the vehicles are in proper working order.
The first 300 children who arrive will be fitted for and given a free bicycle helmet, courtesy of a grant secured through Thrive.
“I see lot of kids on bicycles,” Warner said. “I don’t see many at all with helmets.”
In addition to the obstacle course will be an area dedicated to simulating a number of road hazards for cyclists, including the Demon Driveway, Crazy Crossroads and Hazard Dodge.
Hot dogs and drinks will be provided free of charge as well.
“We figured having it from 5 to 7 would give kids time to come by before they start their ball games,” said Community Resource Officer Mike Ford.
The Police Department also is seeking volunteers to assist with the bike rodeo. For more information, call 365-4960.
The event will coincide with Thursday’s 6 p.m. Vision Iola meeting in which officials from Landworks Studio, Iola, will give their final report on the city’s parks and trails system, including sidewalks.
The Vision Iola meeting will be in the New Community Building.

THE RODEO IS the first of three upcoming events the Police Department has planned for area youths.
On June 22, Iola’s police, fire and ambulance departments will host an open house for visitors to meet officers and firefighters.
“It’s an opportunity to meet the new officers and fireman and say ‘Hi’ to the ones you already know,” Ford said.
More importantly, it gives the public an opportunity to meet the personnel in a relaxed setting.
“By and large, the only times a lot of people meet a police officer or a firefighter is if something bad has happened,” Ford said.
Department facilities will be open for tours while fire trucks, ambulances and patrol cars will be available for up-close inspections.
Hot dogs, chips, drinks and cake will be served.

THE SCENE shifts to Abbott’s Pond near the intersection of North Cottonwood Street and Miller Road June 26 for the 14th annual Hooked On Fishing, Not On Drugs campaign. The event is open to youths ages 2 to 17. The first 330 kids to check in that day can choose from an assortment of prizes such as fishing tackle or camping gear. In addition, 12 larger prizes will be given away for those with the most fishing prowess.
Advance registration is available by visiting

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