By Kristen Williams

The City of Mesquite Department of Athletics and Leisure Services and the Mesquite Police Department hosted a Bicycle Rodeo at Virgin Valley Elementary School on Friday morning, April 28.

It all started when Nicholas Montoya, Director of the Athletics and Leisure Services Department, obtained a grant from the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada to purchase new bicycle helmets for the youngsters. Every student in the second and third grades at VVES received a helmet (around 250), and the remaining 60-70 helmets will go to children at Bowler Elementary in Bunkerville in conjunction with another safety program there.

Montoya, along with Justin Goodsell, MPD’s School Resource Officer, led the festivities as the students were fitted with their helmets, then guided through four safety stations with their bicycles or scooters. Officer Goodsell gave a brief presentation on overall bicycle safety and best practices for control while riding, stopping, obeying motor vehicle laws, and navigating traffic.

The students were then split up into smaller groups to go through each safety station, which simulated scenarios – from exiting their own driveway to avoiding rock obstacles – using orange cones. Riders took turns navigating the stations, with each group spending about 15 minutes per station before rotating to the next. It was a well organized “rodeo” and the students seemed to enjoy the activities while learning and refreshing important safety skills.

Officer Goodsell says they like to present the students with bicycle safety programs towards the end of the school year as the weather warms up and there will be more riding to and from school as well as summer recreation. This City of Mesquite safety program to benefit VVES was a great kickoff to the spring season of riding. It’s also up to motorists to be mindful and share the road with our young cyclists.