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Belmont police help children learn safety rules for cycling

At the 2018 Bike Rodeo last weekend, six-year-old Joey posed for a photo with Belmont Police Officer Brian Warburton (center) and Officers Patrick Riley (left) and Vito Marcello (right) of the Belmont Police Department's Bicycle Patrol Unit. (Photo by Donna Rhodes) (click for larger version)
June 06, 2018
BELMONT – The Belmont Rotary teamed up with the police and fire department to host the 2018 Bike Rodeo at the Belmont Mill Pavilion last Saturday afternoon, where they were all pleased to see a great turnout for the safety-oriented event.

"This is a great location for an event like this, and we're very happy to welcome all the kids down here today," said Police Chief Mark Lewandoski.

His bicycle patrol officers, Vito Marcello and Patrick Riley, played a large role in the event, riding along with the young cyclists, giving them safety tips and guiding them through courses set up in the parking lot.

"We have cones set up to help them learn to navigate," said Marcello. "There are three stations for them to ride through, one is a slalom course, one has stops and turns for them to use hand signals, and the third has them navigate two sharp turns then enter back into 'traffic.'"

Police officers took turns operating a special traffic light where the children had to obey the red, yellow and green signals they displayed, just as one would out on the road. They also performed safety checks on their bikes to help prevent any mechanical failures.

"We're focused on bike safety today, and they're learning all the rules that will help keep them from becoming a statistic," said Capt. Richard Mann.

There were plenty of free bike helmets that were given away, courtesy of Children's Hospital at Dartmouth, along with safety vests and grab bags provided by CHaD, Kohl's, and BPD. The fire department brought along a variety of coloring books and other fun yet educational materials to distribute to the children and were available to chat with them on safety procedures, too.

And when the boys and girls were ready for a break, Belmont Rotary offered free hot dogs as well as chips, cold drinks and other snacks.

Upon arrival to the rodeo, each child also received a special raffle ticket and at the end of the day, two of them went home the lucky winners of new bicycles donated by Belmont Rotary.

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