Day puts cycling in spotlight in Castle Rock

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In Tampa, Fla., where Castle Rock Police Cmdr. Jason Lyons used to work, it was a daily occurrence to lose cyclists or pedestrians in traffic accidents, he said in a recent interview.

“It was ridiculous,” he said.

Lyons, who among other duties oversees Castle Rock's six bike cops, hasn't experienced even one such cycling tragedy in Castle Rock in the two-plus years he's been here. But Lyons said it's frightening to frequently see groups of kids on bikes in town who aren't wearing helmets.

And he said police often see other traffic violations by child and adult cyclists — such as crossing streets nowhere near crosswalks, riding against traffic, not having proper lights and so on.

But Castle Rock police are ready and funded to change all of that at an event from 7:30 to 9 a.m. June 26 in Festival Park near Second and Perry streets

The plan is to piggyback on Denver Regional Council of Governments' Ride To Work Day and hold a police Bike Rodeo Program, a bike-safety clinic for child cyclists — as well as a free breakfast for all commuting cyclists and participants.

The police department's Bike Rodeo Program, funded by a $3,000 Walmart grant, has already had two bike clinics this year and will have several more right before or after school starts.

At the June 26 event, cyclists also can get free bike tune-ups, giveaways and prizes from a variety of sponsors, according to a press release.

Children ages 5 to 11 will have the opportunity to learn bike safety in part by maneuvering through an obstacle course with a police officer walking alongside. Bicycles and helmets will be checked for safety and proper fit. Bikes will be registered by police, which will help if bikes are lost or stolen.

For those participating in the Ride to Work Day, adult cyclists, walkers, in-line skaters or carpoolers are all welcome to stop by Festival Park on their way to work. Registration is not required, but for those who do register, they will be entered into a drawing for additional prizes. Registration is online at biketowork2013.org. Bike to Work Day, sponsored by the Denver Regional Council of Governments, is an annual even to promote bicycling as an alternative.

Maps, breakfast location and more information is available online at www.biketowork2013.org.