Nate Craine, 4, (left) gets help on the bicycle safety course from Columbia County Sheriff's Department Deputy Nathan Jones. The Cops and Helmet Patrol Kick-Off, sponsored by the sheriff's office and Applebee's, was conducted on Saturday.
Photo by Quandra Collins
The parking lot at the Evans Applebee's Neighborhood Grill and Bar was transformed into a bicycle safety course Saturday.
The free event, called Cops and Kids Helmet Patrol Kick-Off, was held by the Columbia County Sheriff's Office and Applebee's to stress the importance of bicycle safety.
"We're helping to educate kids and their parents about bicycle safety," said Columbia County Sheriff's Deputy Nathan Jones. "We're taking the kids through a simulated neighborhood and teaching them things like knowing which side of the road to be on when riding their bike."
While orange miniature cones outlined the safety course, children had an opportunity to put the bicycle skills they learned to use.
"They're taught how to use their hand signals and recognize what to do at a stop sign," said Jones, who was supervising children on the course.
The course had a simulated bush, truck driver and sewer drain on it to test the children's street-smart skills.
Dyanna Freeman, 7, said she enjoyed the safety course.
"I liked going (in between) the cones," said Dyanna, a Warren Road Elementary School second-grader.
"It was very fun. Now I feel safe (riding) on the roads," she said.
Zachary Digby, 6, agreed.
Jud Delany (left) helps Sarah Boykin, 3 1/2, get fingerprinted at the Cops and Helmet Patrol Kick-Off, while Russell Beall assists. The two men are members of the Columbia County Sheriff Auxiliary.
Photo by Quandra Collins
"I like the obstacle course," said Zachary, a Riverside Elementary School kindergartner.
Weindy Dehem, regional marketing manager for Applebee's, who also was the event coordinator, said participation was high.
"We prepared 250 grab bags and we've had 150 to 175 children so far," she said. "Everybody seems to like it because the police department has been very interactive with the kids. This is something we want to keep trying to do and make it bigger and better."
In addition to the safety course, attractions included a pancake breakfast, held by Columbia Middle School's athletic booster club, bike check-ups from Chain Reaction, face-painting, helmet donations from Wal-Mart, a comedy presentation by Deb-O the clown, ID-A-Kid and demonstrations by the sheriff's office, Gold Cross Emergency Medical Services and Martinez Fire Department.
"This is a great thing and very educational," said John Lifsey, of Martinez, who brought his wife, Shahnaz, and their daughter Rasha, 8, to the festivities. "This is a good social (outlet) for our daughter, and it's good for the community."
The Columbia County News-Times ©2013. All Rights Reserved.