Last week the City of Soldotna held a bike safety awareness day. The idea for the event came from meetings of the City's Bike Pedestrian and Trails Safety Committee according to Mayor Peter Micciche. "We realized that when we send our kids out on the road every spring, even the more advanced riders need to fully understand their responsibility to ride safely and we're wearing these colorful t-shirts to remind drivers to be aware of those riding bikes and learn to share the road. We have an excellent safety record in Soldotna and this is an effort to be sure we maintain that record and guarantee that everyone rides safe, walks safe and drives safe," said Micciche.
The volunteer committee set up seven inspection stations at Soldotna Creek Park and each bike was given a safety check of brakes, tires and chain tension. Kenai Peninsula Safe Kids were also on hand to be sure everyone had a properly fitted helmet and to make new helmets available for a very affordable $5.00. "We have helmets available all year long because it's important that every rider have a properly fitting helmet," said Jane Fellman, director of Central Peninsula Hospital's Safe Kids program. Tri-Athlete Angie Brennan was part of the inspection committee and said, "We get the kids out as early as possible they have been riding for almost a month already, but it's important be sure their equipment is checked every spring and that the kids get a safety briefing to be sure they remember the rules of the road and check and double check before crossing a road making sure that they make eye contact with the motorist to be sure they know you're crossing before proceeding."
By 11:00am a couple hundred riders in colorful green and yellow t-shirts mounted up and followed the Mayor and his family down the Sterling Highway to the "Y" intersection were the Soldotna Police Department stopped traffic for the group of youth and adults that continued their fun tour through town ending up back at Soldotna Creek Park for a free hot dog picnic.