WAPAKONETA — The ninth annual Bicycle Safety Day will be held, Saturday, May 11, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., at the TSC Garage Building, downtown Wapakoneta. Children 18 years and younger are encouraged to attend.
Free bicycle helmets will be given out, as well as free bike and helmet inspections. Raffle drawings for free bicycles will also be held.
Attendees will have the opportunity to join in on a “bicycle rodeo,” and will also hear from Mayor Tom Stinebaugh, along with local race car drivers, who will speak with the children about safety awareness.
“This particular event, along with the bike rodeo, is important because it’s a constant reinforcement in keeping kids safe on their bikes and educating them on the rules of the road,” said Auglaize County DARE Officer Sam Blank. “Over the years, there has definitely been a growth in the event’s popularity and it seems the word is getting out. While they’re here, the kids are not only having fun but building the fundamentals they need to become safer and more skillful riders.”
Wapakoneta resident Marlene Froning has made bicycle safety her mission having lost a son, Keith Wesley, who was just 9 years old, in a bicycle/car accident in 1983. She has since turned her loss into an opportunity for families and children throughout her community, by working to organize the annual bicycle safety event.
“(Keith) was full of life and potential when he was taken from our family all too soon,” Froning said. “Not a day goes by when I do not think about him and wonder who he would be today. Keith has missed many birthdays, anniversaries, his sibling’s weddings, and watching nephews and a niece grow up.
“We never got a chance to tell him one more time we loved him or how proud we were of him,” she continued. “There is nothing that we can do to bring Keith back to us, but if we can save even one more child by teaching them the proper rules of the road and ensuring their safety, then it is worth it.”
Saturday’s event is also made possible with the help of the Wapakoneta Fire Department, Wapakoneta Police Department, Auglaize County Sheriff’s Office, DARE Program, St. Rita’s Trauma Program Manager, Cranker’s Cycling, and the Noon Optimist.