Bike Rodeo teaches safety

Children ranging from tots to tweens made their way through some challenging safety stations at the eighth annual Bike Rodeo presented by the Bedford Police and other supporters on the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend. Safe cycling was the goal.

Bedford Police Chief John Bryfonski watched as kids mastered in-and-outs between orange cones, stops-and-starts near a genuine traffic signal and exercises in braking and quick take-offs.

“This is a great opportunity for children to come out and learn some safe riding techniques while meeting their Bedford police officers,” said Bryfonski. “It’s a lot of fun.”

Brook Milnes and his kids, Sadie, 4, and Logan, 2, cruised the safety stations in the parking lot alongside Bedford High School. The bike rodeo preceded the town’s Memorial Day parade, an event in which bike rodeo attendees were welcomed to roll along.

“We came out to the rodeo to learn about bicycle safety,” said Brook Milnes. “What more could you want on a beautiful day.”

Safety checks for children’s bike helmets were made by police dispatchers Nate Byron and Scott Gilman. Ric Dumais and other volunteers from the local Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) assisted the police. Dumais said the CERT group is “always prepared” to help with emergencies including storms, blackouts and other crises.

Meanwhile, Officers Patrick Gilligan, Travis Soucy, Matt Proulx and others demonstrated to dozens of children techniques the kids can use to stay safe while cycling. Anyone who needed an approved bike helmet was gifted one, courtesy of Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth-Hitchcock (CHaD) and the New Hampshire Brain Institute. Souvenir bags filled with police-related giveaways including coloring books that were well received.

Lt. Mike Bernard and Sgt. Robert Lavoie, along with Sgt. Devon Kimball and many others were well thanked for the event by parents. Volunteer videographer Madonna Lovett Repeta and police records clerk Monique Pliakos documented the event for social media and the police website.

“The kids are learning how to be safe,” Bernard said. “We certainly do thank Bedford High, our officers, our volunteers and other event supporters such as CERT, a great resource for our community.”

A big white Harley-Davidson police bike glistened alongside the parking lot. The motorcycle, police cars, rescue vehicles and other units from the Bedford Fire Department including an antique fire truck were ready to generate cheers in the forthcoming parade.

“We hope to see people again soon at the Bedford Police open house at the station,” Bernard added. “The date is June 4, from 6-8 p.m.”

Information on the Bedford Police Department can be had online: Bedfordnh.org.