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Safety and Fun at 2012 Bike Rodeo

Safety and Fun at 2012 Bike Rodeo

(C. Proxmire, Ferndale 115 News, June 6, 2012)

With a cool breeze blowing through Geary Park Saturday, it was the perfect day for Ferndale Recreation’s Bike Rodeo.

The event brings several groups together to teach young people about safety.  The Ferndale Rotary gave out helmets and the Ferndale Police did free bicycle licenses.  The numbered tags help identify recovered bikes that had been lost or stolen.  Continental Bike Shop gave bike checkups, and the Ferndale Fire Department brought out the Fire Safety House.

Five-year-old Zachariah Smith and his little brother Nigel crawled their way out of the smoke-filled Fire Safety House, just like the firemen taught them to do.

“I learned how to get away from smoke,” he said.  His mother Carrie said the experience will make it easier for them not to be afraid if they are ever in a smoke-filled building again.

Firefighter Larry Mercer was one of the Ferndale Firefighters leading the class and escape exercise.  “We teach them about fire hazards, and about why they need detectors,” he said.  “We teach them to stay low and to get out immediately, and to have an escape plan.  Families need to make sure they have a special place out of the house to meet.  When there’s a fire people take off in different directions, but if they meet, say by the big tree out front or wherever, then they can know that everybody is safe.”

Mercer also said kids need to know the importance of leaving quickly and not trying to save pets, people or belongings.  “I tell kids that pets are smart and most will find a way out on their own.”

In addition to filling the young people’s heads with knowledge about fire and bicycle safety, their craniums were protected on the outside too – with brand new bike helmets.  Rotarian Sherry Wells helped with the custom fitting as part of the Ferndale Rotary, and youngsters like Ben and Richard Semmelroch got to hear all about bike safety and why they need to keep their helmets on properly.

New York Life also did their part by bringing their Child ID Program to the event.

Robin Celski, Nino Cugtas, Jeff Graunke, and Mike Andrews of the New York Life Southfield office ran what looked like a mini crime lab beneath the park’s pavilion.  Youngsters had their picture taken, their fingerprints scanned and their descriptions and contact information put onto an id sheet.  The sheet included cards that parents could cut out and laminate for the child to keep with them as identification.

The data is immediately wiped clean and the parent must keep the sheet as the only record, though they may make copies.  If the child’s fingerprints are ever needed, they can be obtained by scanning the sheet.

“We recommend parents do this at least once per year,” said Celski.  “Parents respond favorably to this.  We’ve been doing it for at least ten years and it gives parents something to give police if an Amber Alert is needed.”

Kids at the Bike Rodeo also had a chance to test out the bicycle skills on two different courses, and there was an inflated bounce house to play on.   They enjoyed other activities as well.  Tracey Iverson and her three children made a day of it.  “We went to the Bounce House, got ice cream from Treat Dreams, had a baseball game,” Iverson said as she watched from the side of the rink where kids rode along paths marked in florescent orange.  “It’s great that they have stuff like this.”

Bicycle Licenses are available at the Ferndale Police Department and the cost is $1 to register.  Stop in to 301 E. 9 Mile or call (248) 541-3650 for more information.

To find out more about Ferndale Recreation events, go to  We also just published their most recent newsletter, which you can read here.


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